5 Quick Solutions for a Key That Is Stuck in the Ignition

One fear that all drivers alike share is getting their car key stuck in the ignition. If this occurs to you, there are several solutions you can explore to resolve this issue. To determine which of the following 5 options is the best solution for your current situation you should first determine the cause. Your car key might be stuck in the ignition for several reasons. For example, the keyway could be blocked, the key broken, or there may be a problem with the ignition switch cylinder itself. If there’s a problem with the ignition switch, you can decide between calling a professional for help or attempting a DIY ignition switch replacement. If you’re not sure why your key is stuck, call an automotive locksmith. Here are 5 solutions that can help you effectively remove your key from the ignition:


Broken Key Removal 

The process of extracting a broken car key is not overly complicated but should be handled with extreme caution. Take a look at the ignition and determine the placement of the key fragment (the deeper, the more difficult it is to remove). Are you confident that you can extract it yourself or do you want to contact a professional locksmith for help? Most people are attracted to DIY car key extraction because initially, it seems like the cheaper option. However, by performing a DIY car key extraction you risk damaging your ignition and paying more for repairs. If you decide to extract the key yourself, you can use a tool as simple as tweezers to get the job done. After removing the broken key pieces from your ignition, you’ll need to get a duplicate car key if you don’t have any spares. 


Ignition Cylinder Repair or Replacement

Keys can get stuck in the ignition due to complications with the ignition cylinder. Wafers that are stuck, jammed, or locked in place will retain the key. Another possibility is that the cylinder has been damaged to the point where it cannot be turned off, retaining the car key in the ignition. In either case, your ignition cylinder will probably need to be removed and deconstructed to extract the key. 


Although you’re welcome to try a DIY ignition switch replacement method, it is not recommended since you may not be able to properly determine the source of the ignition cylinder problems. DIY ignition switch replacement may just seem like unplugging and replugging wires, but it is more complicated than that. It can be extremely difficult to disassemble and assemble the ignition correctly. The better option is to hire an automotive locksmith who has experience dealing with ignition cylinders and can advise you on whether it is preferable to repair or replace your ignition cylinder. 


Assess Additional Components Affecting Your Ignition

Additional components that affect your ignition such as the steering wheel lock, transmission, and car battery can prevent you from removing your car key. If you are unable to determine or solve the issue, don’t hesitate to contact an automotive locksmith. 


Steering Wheel Lock

A locked steering wheel can prevent you from removing your key from the ignition. To unlock your steering wheel, slowly move the wheel to the left and right while rotating your key. This motion will unlock your steering wheel and you should be able to remove the key from the ignition. 


Car Battery

Issues with your car battery can cause your key to get stuck in the ignition. Focus on getting your car battery up and running. Once you repair your battery the key should be able to be easily removed. 


Lubricate Your Car Key

If you believe that your key cannot be removed because dirt or debris is blocking your keyway, you can use a lubricant like WD-40 to slide your key out. However, if you’re using oil-based lubricants like WD-40, use as little as possible since it can clog your locks. If you’re in a bind WD-40 is better than nothing, but graphite-based lubricant is preferable. To avoid permanent staining, be careful to wipe away any overspray. If you’re able to successfully remove your key, you should clean out your ignition afterward to prevent this from recurring. 


Contact an Automotive Locksmith

Whether you’ve tried the methods above and have no luck or are just nervous to try them on your own, you can always turn to an automotive locksmith. Not only will a professional be able to remove your key without damaging your ignition, but they can also fix damaged parts or anything that is causing you issues. If your key is stuck in the ignition, there could be a problem with your ignition cylinder, which is a rather serious issue. A working ignition is crucial and it’s always safer to call an automotive locksmith than try to DIY ignition switch repairs or replacement methods. When your key is stuck in the ignition, you don’t just need to remove it, but you need to ensure that the problem doesn’t recur or that there isn’t any serious damage. An automotive locksmith can also make you a spare key on the spot if your only key was damaged or broken off the ignition. Call a reliable locksmith near you for successful key removal and ignition repair services.

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