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Why Do I Have to Turn the Key So Hard for It To Start?

Why Do I Have to Turn the Key So Hard for It To Start

If you're asking yourself, why do I have to turn the key so hard for it to start, try these 7 simple solutions:

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  1. Try the steering wheel trick
  2. Try lubricating the lock
  3. Rap the key
  4. Fix the key
  5. Replace the key
  6. Change the ignition cylinder
  7. Consult your mechanic

There's nothing more frustrating than trying to turn your key in the ignition switch and noticing that it's not moving at all! Have you ever been to a point where you ask yourself, why do I have to turn the key so hard for it to start?!

This article provides you with seven simple solutions to help you get out of this problem without needing a professional. However, if the problem continues to occur at some point, your optimum solution would be to check with your own mechanic and have him perform for inspection of your vehicle to determine the actual culprit.

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Why do I have to turn the key so hard for it to start?

When you try turning the key in the ignition switch and notice that you have to press so hard or notice that it's not moving at all, then you're having a problem with one of the following components:

1.    The key itself

The first and most important reason that could result in issues turning the key in the ignition switch is when you have a problem with the key itself. The key might have some problems that could be resolved, but at some point in time, you might need to change the whole key for your vehicle to start again.

2.    The ignition

Sometimes the problem could be related to the ignition system itself. This requires trying to lubricate the lock or doing other stuff to hopefully get your vehicle to start without needing to press very hard on the ignition.

3.    Other more complicated issues

In some instances, things might be more complicated and beyond your expertise here; therefore, you will end up needing to consult your mechanic, as your mechanic should have better tools to help determine what exactly is going on and resolve your issue.

Car Key Won't Turn In Ignition

How to resolve this problem?

Despite the root problem causing you to wonder why do we have to turn the key so hard for it to start, you can try one of the following seven recommendations:

1.    Try the steering wheel trick

The first and most common trick that could help you get out of the situation is to try turning the steering wheel. However, sometimes the issue has to do with the steering wheel itself, whereby simply turning the steering wheel left and right, you can unlock it and allow your key to turn indignation switch smoothly, and start your vehicle.

To resolve this problem, try following these steps:

  • Turn the steering wheel left and right
  • If you notice that the steering wheel is not turning to one side, try pulling it towards that side and then turning the key in the ignition switch to see if it's turning smoothly.
  • If this doesn't help, try rocking the steering wheel slightly and gently, and then jiggle the key in the ignition switch to see if this helps.
  • If this still didn't help, you have to move on to the next recommendations to see if you can resolve the issue yourself without needing the rationale.
  • It's critical to note that you don't need to continue forcing the steering wheel to turn because this could cause internal damages that will cost you more money than fixing the ignition problem.
  • Also, don't force the key and turn it very hard in the ignition switch because there's a very high chance you will break the key inside the ignition switch, which means more complicated repairs and much higher repair costs.

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2.    Try lubricating the lock

The next thing you can check is the ignition lock. Sometimes the ignition cylinder might be jammed, which is what's causing the blockage in your key movement. Try using a specific lubrication and allowing this location to get inside the cylinders. Many people recommend using a WD40 as good lubrication for this purpose.

To do so, follow these steps:

  • Prepare your material, including the key, the cloth, and the lubricant, the WD40.
  • Try spraying a couple of sprays of the lubricant inside the ignition cylinder.
  • Along with lubricant, sit for a couple of minutes, and then use a dry path to wipe it off after spraying it.
  • Try inserting the key and noticing how it turns. If you still have a hard time turning the key, try jiggling it for a little bit and see if this helps.
  • As we mentioned earlier, do not over force the key because this could result in breaking the key inside the cylinder.
  • Several automotive experts recommend using a bright lubricant versus an oil-based lubricant so you don't deal with residuals inside the ignition cylinder, which could cause damage.
  • To avoid dealing with stains, it is recommended that you don't leave any visible lubricant by cleaning up using a dry cloth.

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3.    Rap the key

Assuming that you tried the previously mentioned tool steps and it didn't work, then the next thing you can try is to rap the key.

In some more complicated instances, things could get stuck inside the ignition cylinders causing them to get completely clogged where lubrication is not going to work. For example, some springs or loose material might cause blockage and prevent your key from turning.

One way to resolve this problem is to try a harder option by either hammering the ignition or using any tool to cause strong vibration inside the ignition cylinder where any stuck components will leave. You have to be very careful when trying this method, so you don't cause more complications in your system. If you're not comfortable performing it, you can leave it to professionals to avoid causing complications that could cost you a lot of money on the repair.

To do so, you need to follow these steps:

  • Insert the key into the ignition switch
  • Prepare your tool, whether this tool is a hammer or any vibrating mechanism
  • Apply the tool on the key and give it a couple of minutes for any stock components to get out
  • If this did not work, you need to try something else, as mentioned in the following list.
  • Automotive experts recommend paying clear attention when performing this process because there's a high chance you could damage any other surrounding component around your ignition switch here; therefore, make sure that you're only hitting the required location and not anything else.
  • Finally, you're not recommended to get to the point where you break the lock for any reason.

4.    Fix the key

In addition to problems with the ignition switch itself, sometimes the problem could be in the key itself. For example, the key might be banded or has some other problems because of use time.

One quick way to resolve the issue is to try a spare key and see if your problem is resolved. If that's the case, you're most likely dealing with key problems here, and one way to get out of this problem is to check the key and consult a professional who can fix the key without needing to buy a new one.

You can compare the spare key to your current one and see what exactly is different. Sometimes it could be some wearing out metal that can be fixed easily with certain tools. However, if you confirm that your vehicle didn't start even after changing the key, your problem is not related to the key, and it should be something else that you have to discover.

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5.    Replace the key

As we mentioned earlier, the key could be the real culprit behind the situation where you wondered, why do I have to turn the key so hard for it to start? And therefore, we recommend that you fix the key as a first attempt. If this didn't work, your only solution would be to buy a Nokia that doesn't have any problems.

It's recommended that you confirm that you're buying the right key by consulting your dealership or searching online. Be careful about buying from third-party accounts because there are many scammers out there, and it's recommended that you purchase from in-person shops where you can physically compare your actual key to the new one and confirm that it's no different.

6.    Change the ignition cylinder

In some more complicated situations, your problem could be related to the ignition cylinder itself, and it's not something you can fix on your own unless you have the required skill sets. When the ignition cylinder fails, it requires replacement, and it's not something you can resolve unless the problem is minor.

You cannot immediately assume that it's a bad ignition cylinder unless you try multiple keys. Try getting two spare keys at least and test whether your vehicle starts or not. If this still didn't help, then there's a chance that the cylinder might be causing the issue.

As we have learned before, replacing this lender is not something you can do on your own because there is a very high chance that you want to produce more problems by mistakes which could cost you thousands of dollars. Therefore, you were recommended to check with your mechanic and see what needs to be done. In addition, many specific professionals focus on replacing the ignition cylinders and not necessarily mechanics, which could mean much lower costs on repairs.

7.    Consult your mechanic

Finally, if all you tried didn't work and if you think that the problem is more complicated than what you're noticing, you all know once to consult your mechanic.

Your mechanic should have specific tools to see what's exactly causing the problem. Sometimes by experience only, even mechanics can immediately determine the actual culprit causing vision. Of course, getting to this point means more money and many repair costs, especially labor costs, and therefore, you got to be prepared for this before visiting the mechanic shop.

How much does it cost to fix problems related to failing to turn the key in the ignition switch?

It's hard to tell. Depending on the root problem, repair costs can differ significantly. For example, if all you're dealing with has to do with lubrication, you shouldn't be too worried about any labor costs or repair costs because all it will cost you is the price of purchasing lubricant.

However, if your problem is more complicated and has to do with a failing ignition cylinder, repair costs can pile up significantly, and that's where you have to evaluate whether you should fix this vehicle and apply a better one instead.

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Final thoughts

Starting problems can be very different. Some problems might be related to the alternator, others related to the battery. It could be a simple problem in some scenarios, such as failing to turn the key and ignition switch.

This article provided you with all you need to know to help you resolve the problems that will cause you to wonder why do I have to turn the key so hard for it to start?! Depending on the root problem, repair costs can differ significantly.

If you got to the point where costs pile up and get to the value of your vehicle, it is not worth fixing this car, and instead, you should so if you go and take advantage of its value to buy a better one. Looking for someone to buy your car with ignition problems?! Check out Cash Cars Buyer!

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