When Your Car Keys Are Stuck In The Ignition

Are you scared of your car keys malfunctioning all of a sudden? It happens to the best of us when your car keys are stuck in the ignition. Here are a few things that could go wrong:

  • Your car may use an electronic key which is not properly programmed
  • There may be problems with the ignition switch

The ideal way to solve these problems is to properly diagnose the problem them first.

Why Is The Key Stuck In Ignition?

It is quite natural to panic every time your car key gets stuck in the ignition. However, it is important that you make sure you stay patient during these situations.

Applying force will not help you remove the key. If anything, it will create bigger problems for you. For example, there is a chance that your key might end up breaking and stay within the ignition. A broken key can damage your car’s ignition system.

Keeping this in mind, here is a look at some of the points that you need to consider when you are trying to figure out why your car key is stuck in the ignition:

Is Your Car Switched Off

It is a universal rule for all motor vehicles that you would not be able to remove the keys from the ignition without switching off the car first. This is the reason; this problem is not as common in cars, which have key fobs and push buttons.

We know that this sounds a little ridiculous but there have been cases where vehicle owners were unable to remove their car keys because they did not switch off their cars.

Usually this problem occurs when drivers are in a hurry and do not completely rotate the key in the ignition. Therefore, technically you car is still on.

Is The Steering Wheel Locked

A problem with the ignition is not the only reason your car key might get stuck. Problems with your steering wheel can also result in your car key getting stuck in the ignition.

The steering wheel does not just simply control the direction of your vehicle. It is also connected with the ignition.

Cars nowadays have steering wheels, which can be locked. This is a security measure that helps ensure that the car does not move without the key. In order to unlock the steering you need to insert the key in the ignition.

However, in case of problems with the steering wheel your car key might get stuck. You can slowly move the steering wheel right and left while applying pressure on the car key. If doing so does unlock your car steering, you might need to get in touch with professionals.

The Key Is Broken In The Ignition

Have you been using an old key for a long time now? There is a strong chance that this key might break and stick in the ignition. A common mistake that drivers often make is that they pay little or no attention to the appearance of their keys.

Overtime keys can bend and lose their alignment. As a result, there is an increased likelihood of them getting stuck in the ignition. These keys are often referred to as broken keys since they do not work properly.

Depending on the severity of the issue, either you can remove the key on your own or you can contact professional locksmiths.

Problems With The Ignition Cylinder

It is quite natural to assume that the problem lies with your key if it gets stuck and a part of it slides out of the ignition.

However, the problem does not always have to be with your car keys. Sometimes, a broken ignition cylinder might also be the reason your car key is broken.

A Backed Keyway

Do you feel that there is some kind of obstruction, which prevents you from inserting and removing your car keys from the ignition smoothly? Dust and debris can find their way in the keyway and build up overtime.

Not only can it result in the car key getting stuck, it can also prevent you from starting your car. In an extreme case, a broken keyway can result in a broken car key.

There are certain things that you can do in order to counter all of these aforementioned issues. Some of the things you can do include:

Repair Or Replace The Ignition Cylinder

As mentioned before, the problem does not always have to be with the car keys. You might be facing problems because of the ignition cylinder as well. In such cases, a locksmith can identify if the problem lies with your keys or ignition cylinder and offer the appropriate solution.

They can check the ignition cylinder and determine if it needs to be completely replaced or if simple repairs will suffice. In case of problems with the cylinder, the locksmith will first extract the key before dealing with the ignition.

Take A Look At The Other Components Of Your Car

In addition to car keys and the ignition cylinder, you also need to pay attention to other components of your car, which include:

  • Steering wheel
  • Car battery

In case of problems with the car battery, it is important to stay calm. People often panic and try to turn on the car by aggressively rotating the key in the ignition. This can result in the car key breaking. It can also result in damage to the ignition.

Therefore, if your car key gets stuck in the ignition because of problems with the battery, you should worry about fixing the problems with the battery first and then worry about removing the key.


You can also try lubricating the car key in case it gets stuck in the ignition. Lubricants allow the key to easily slide out. It is especially effective in case there are obstructions in the keyways. Regularly maintaining your key can also prevent this problem from occurring.

Get The Broken Key Extracted

People often rely on DIY techniques in order to remove their car keys from the ignition. One of the most common methods that people opt for in these cases is broken key extraction.

Vehicle owners who opt for this method need certain tools in order to extract the keys from the ignition. However, the problem with this method, and all other DIY methods, is that there is a chance that you might end up further damaging the ignition.

Therefore, it is best to leave this task in the hands of professionals. These people have the experience required to solve the problem that you might be facing. In addition to that, they also use latest tools to solve the problems you might be facing.

Always keep in mind that applying force can only result in further damage to your car keys and ignition. Do not make hasty decisions. Take your time and assess the situation before taking any kind of action. Contact professional locksmiths instead of going for DIY methods.

Get in touch with us. We offer residential, commercial, and automobile locksmith services in New York City. We offer multiple services, which include:

You can contact us at 347-753-9043.

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