How to Remove a Car Key if stuck in the ignition?

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  • Post last modified:May 24, 2022
  • Post category:Blog
  • Reading time:7 mins read
How to Remove a Car Key if stuck in the ignition?

It can be extremely frustrating if the car key is stuck in the ignition and you are clueless about what to do next. Most importantly, such situations become a nightmare if you have to be anywhere on time and the sudden issue is not allowing you to go as you can’t leave the car as it is.

If you haven’t faced such situations in the car, you don’t need to sit relaxed as it can happen to you in the future. So, it’s the best option for you to know about it in advance and get a prior solution. So today, we will tell you everything about it in detail.

Five Important Things you should do if the car key is stuck:

Shake the Gear Selector:

The automatic transmission system is available in the latest car variants instead of the manual transmission system. Therefore, removing the stuck key from the ignition makes it harder for you to remove the stuck key when the selector is not set correctly on neutral or park position. In such situations, you can easily resolve the issue by shaking the selector when the vehicle is standing in the Parking position.

Key Jiggling:

The key jiggling method is helpful for you to remove the car key if it’s stuck in the ignition. You have to use the left index finger for the key cylinder to push down for this method. Meanwhile, use the right finger to jiggle the key. Basically, the ignition portion contains some pins and springs that hold the keys, so the jiggling of the key and pushing on the key cylinder will help lose the pins and springs inside the cylinder. After that, you may get the chance to remove the key from it.

Unlocking the Steering Wheel:

The majority of the new vehicles come with a steering wheel lockage system. It gets activated whenever you have turned off the vehicle and let the steering to either the right or left side. Therefore, the key gets stuck due to the position of the steering wheel.

If you are facing the same issue, you need to gently rotate the steering wheel position in the opposite direction, which will easily help unlock the steering wheel. Then you can easily remove the key from the ignition.

Ensure the battery is fine:

If your car battery is dead, you can face the situation where the key won’t come out and got stuck in the ignition. Surprisingly, the majority of the people don’t know about it as well, which is quite strange. Logically, the ignition part of the car needs some electric power to work, which isn’t possible with a dead battery. Therefore, you should check that the car battery is not dead and working fine.

If the car battery is dead, you should either charge it with the prior method. Otherwise, you should need to buy a newer one. After you replace the battery or the existing battery is working fine again, you can try to take out the keys from the ignition by not applying too much force. Hopefully, you will get the solution for it.

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Lubricating the Ignition Lock Cylinder:

The locking mechanism of most the car ignition systems slides over the key, which causes the key stuck issue. If you think that the car key is stuck due to the same reason, you have the option to lubricate the cylinder. In this way, you are good to remove the key out of the ignition. Also, try to use the dry graphite spray for lubrication purposes, which will provide effective results.

What are the Common Reasons for the Car key to Get stuck in the Ignition?

Defective Ignition Cylinder:

In general, the ignition cylinders of the latest or old cars come with the capability to resist wear and tear. However, later on, when the car gets gold, its internal mechanism tends to lose its quality, it gets defective, and you won’t be able to remove the car keys from the ignition.

Debris in the Keys:

If you maintain the keys properly, the car keys won’t get any sort of debris. However, when the car keys hold debris, the car key won’t be able to easily turn on the ignition. In this case, the car key debris needs to be removed; otherwise, it will, later on, get stuck in the ignition, and you won’t be able to remove it.

Car is not in Neutral or Parking Mode:

You can’t remove the keys from the ignition if the car’s parking gear is not properly set. Yes, it’s a major problem that you need to look into thoroughly, especially when you have an automatic transmission vehicle. Therefore, you need to ensure that the car key is on to the parking position before you try to remove the ignition.

In manual transmission-based cars, if you get similar issues, you need to move the shifters to the neutral side to easily remove the keys from the ignition.

What if the Car Key gets broken while removing it from the ignition?

Hold on, if you are reading this article after getting the major issue in your car where the car key gets broken, and you are now clueless, you have to get into a very troubling situation, to be very honest.

You have only two options left in this phase: hiring a professional locksmith or getting the key extractor tool. There are loads of key extractor tools available in the offline and online market that you can purchase for once and easily remove the broken car key out of the ignition.

Otherwise, you have the option to spend the money on hiring a professional who can easily remove the broken car key out of the car’s ignition.

Note: Another important thing that you need to ensure every time you put the key inside the ignition is that it should not contains debris, and it doesn’t have to be broken. If both situations are fine, you will not face any sort of car key stuck in the ignition type issue.

Dylan Miller

I am a Chicago native and regular contributor to "Locar Deals" and "Cars Cache". I have a master's degree in English, am an automobile content creation specialist, and have written professionally for a variety of automotive companies over the past few years. I write on a variety of vehicles, from high-end luxury cars to ten-year-old gas guzzlers and everything in between. And I love sharing valuable car buying tips with consumers from all walks of life.

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