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Key Won’t Turn in Ignition: How Can You Get It to Work?

Key Won’t Turn in Ignition

When you climb into the driver’s seat in your car, one of the first things you’ll do before doing anything else is stick your car key into your car’s ignition. You’ll then turn your car key and—voila!—it’ll start your car up and allow you to move on to doing other things, like putting your seatbelt on, tinkering with your car radio, and adjusting your mirrors. At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen when you stick your car key into your ignition and turn it. But in some instances, a key won’t turn in the ignition, which will make it impossible for you to start your car and get it out onto the road.

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If this ever happens to you, you’re going to be very confused as far as what’s going on with your car. You won’t know if it’s your car key, your ignition, or something else that’s causing your key not to turn in your ignition. Rather than panicking, you should take the time to try and diagnose the issue with your car and then take the right steps to get your car working like normal again. Learn more about why a key won’t turn in the ignition and what to do about it to get it to work below.


What to Do First If a Key Won’t Turn in Your Ignition

When you first realize that your key won’t turn in the ignition in your car, your initial instinct might be to freak out. You’re going to wonder what in the world is going on with your car and why you can’t get the key to turn. You might even try to force the key to turn in your ignition even though it’s almost impossible to do it. You should not take this approach to fixing the problem at hand.


Instead of losing your mind and potentially breaking your car key in your ignition, you should remove your car key from your ignition when you notice that your key won’t turn in the ignition. You should then put the key back into the ignition and try to turn it again to see if it works. In some cases, that’ll be all that it takes to get your key working again. Within just seconds, you’ll be able to turn your key in your ignition again and start your car up without any issues.


Reasons Why a Key Might Not Turn in Your Ignition

If you try taking your car key out of your ignition and putting it back in and it still doesn’t turn, it’ll be clear that you have a slightly bigger problem on your hands. But there still won’t be any reason to start panicking just yet. There is still a decent chance that you’ll be able to get your car key working the way it should again without having to take it in for expensive services or repairs.


There are a bunch of different reasons why a key won’t turn in the ignition in your car. You should find out what some of these reasons are so that you can try to fix the issue that you’re dealing with yourself. Here are some of the most common causes of a key not turning in an ignition:

  1. Your steering wheel is locked: If you happen to move your steering wheel to the left or right after you turn your car off and remove your key from the ignition, it can make it difficult to turn the key the next time you put it back into the ignition. You will need to wiggle your steering wheel around while trying to turn your car key to get it to turn if the steering wheel is the cause of your problem.
  2. Your car isn’t in park or neutral: If you check your steering wheel and find that it’s not the cause of your issue, take a look at your automatic transmission gear shifter next. If it’s in anything other than park or neutral, that could be the reason why your key won’t turn in the ignition. By putting your car into park or neutral, you can get your car key to turn again.
  3. Your car’s battery is dead: If you have a newer car, it likely has an advanced ignition system in it that’s designed to stop your car key from turning when your car battery dies on you. So if your key won’t turn in the ignition, you might want to check your battery to see if it might be dead. You’ll know that it’s dead if you’re unable to turn any lights on inside your car.
  4. Your car key has something wrong with it: If you happen to have a spare key for your car, go get it and see if it will turn when you put it into your ignition. If it turns without a problem, it probably means that your main car key has an issue with it. You will need to think about replacing that car key to get it to work again.
  5. Your ignition switch or your ignition cylinder needs to be replaced: If you’ve tried everything else here and your car key still isn’t turning in your car’s ignition, you more than likely have a bad ignition switch or a bad ignition cylinder in your car. You might be able to get it to work—at least temporarily—by using a silicone-based lubricant to lubricate the lock in your ignition cylinder. But you might also need to repair your ignition switch or replace your entire ignition cylinder to fix the issue with your car key not turning.

As you can see, there could be a lot of different things wrong when a key won’t turn in the ignition of your car. Fixing it could be as simple as jiggling your steering wheel around or as complicated as replacing your ignition cylinder.


Who to Call When Your Key Won’t Turn in Your Ignition

Oftentimes, you’ll be able to tackle whatever problem is plaguing your car yourself when your key won’t turn in the ignition. You can mess around with your steering wheel or use a little bit of lubricant on your key to get the problem to go away. But if these things don’t work, you’re going to need to bring in a professional to lend a hand.


You’ll have options when it comes to calling on someone for assistance when your key won’t turn in the ignition of your car. You can touch base with either a mechanic or a locksmith depending on the specific type of problem that you’re having. A mechanic can help you with issues like a dead car battery or a problem with your car’s steering wheel, while a locksmith would be a better fit for issues like car key replacement or repairing your ignition switch.


You’ll usually be better off starting with a locksmith and getting a diagnosis for your car before moving on to a mechanic if your locksmith isn’t able to help. Locksmiths are able to fix a lot of the problems that people are having when they have a key that won’t turn in their ignition.


How Much It Could Cost to Fix a Key That Won’t Turn in Your Ignition

When your car key won’t turn in the ignition of your car, it might not cost you anything to fix. You can get around incurring any costs by jiggling your car key to get it to work or jumpstarting your car to refresh your battery for the time being. But there are, of course, going to be times when these things won’t work and you’ll need to pay to have repairs made to your car.


The costs associated with these repairs will obviously depend on everything from what kind of car you have to what kind of repairs you need to have made to your car. But it’s good for you to have some idea of what the average costs are as far as fixing a car when a key won’t turn in the ignition of it. Here are some of the costs you might have when trying to repair this particular problem:

The good news is that all of these repairs are relatively inexpensive in the grand scheme of things. But you should try whatever else you can think of to avoid the need for these repairs when your key won’t turn in the ignition of your car. 


Tips to Avoid Having a Key That Won’t Turn in Your Ignition

There are many instances in which you won’t be able to avoid having a key that won’t turn in your ignition. You can’t always control what goes on in your car’s ignition cylinder. But you can take certain steps to prevent problems with your car key and your car’s ignition. Check out a few tips that will help you keep your car key and ignition in good condition:

  • Be gentle with your car key when putting it into your ignition and turning it
  • Steer clear of yanking your car key out of your ignition when you’re removing it
  • Try not to turn your steering wheel once you’ve taken your car key out of your ignition
  • Always put your car into park after you’re done driving it and before you take your car key out of your ignition
  • Maintain your car battery and replace it every few years to keep it in great condition
  • Call on a locksmith to replace a car key if you ever notice that it’s broken or bent

As we mentioned, there’s no way to avoid problems with your car key and/or ignition entirely. There will be times when a car key will give out on you or one of the parts inside your ignition will break. But by using these tips, you can decrease the chances of your car key or ignition giving you fits.


Should You Keep a Car When Its Key Won’t Turn in the Ignition?

If your car isn’t that old and still has a lot of life left in it, a small problem with one of your car keys or even your car’s ignition shouldn’t be enough to force you to think about selling it. These kinds of issues are very minor in the grand scheme of things. But if you’re crossing your fingers and hoping something doesn’t go wrong every time you stick your car key into your ignition, that’s a much different story.


Those who have had problems with car keys and ignitions in the past should consider getting rid of their cars rather than making repairs to their keys and ignitions over and over again. When a key won’t turn in the ignition of your car, it can make your car unusable and put you into a tough spot if you ever really need to drive it. You should think about buying something more reliable so that you don’t have to stress out over whether or not your car is going to start anymore.


What to Do When Selling a Car With a Key That Won’t Turn in the Ignition

Do you have a car sitting out in your driveway right now with a key that won’t turn in the ignition? You might not think that this car is worth much at all unless you take the time to repair it. Under normal circumstances, you would be right, as most buyers are going to be scared off by a car with a key that won’t turn in the ignition. They’re not going to pay good money for a car that isn’t going to start for them right away. But there are cash buyers who will take this kind of car from you even if it doesn’t run at the moment.


If your car’s key won’t turn in the ignition, give Cash Cars Buyer a call to see how much you can get for it. You might be surprised to see how much we’ll pay you for your car despite its current condition. Contact us today to obtain a fair offer for your vehicle.


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