Why Does My Car Key Not Turn?

In most modern vehicles, car starting revolves around technology. There is no hard key, as there is just a push of a button. This innovation allows drivers to worry less about the issues of the past. On the other hand, turnkeys are more practical. Turnkeys are economical because it is a standard feature from the car manufacturer. When the key is inserted into the ignition, the user has to manually turn it for the vehicle to start. Although the turnkey method is preferred by some users because of the added control of the vehicle, some downfalls have to be recognized.

Car keys will not turn for a few reasons. First, the key can be another vehicle’s key. Second, the steering wheel could be locked. Third, the ignition cylinder may be crammed. Fourth, the key may need to be replaced. Fifth, the ignition cylinder is at fault (which will need to be replaced).

Car Key Will Not Work When Turning Car On

The initial step of solving this pesky issue is to check to see if the key is the right one for the vehicle. A lot of times, the vehicle can have keys that look almost identical. To make sure that the key is the right one for the vehicle, try using it on the doors. While the doors are open, turn the keys left and right. Is it spinning and unlocking/locking the vehicle?

If it is, then it is the right key for the vehicle. Following the key verification is to check the steering wheel. Is the wheel able to move a tad? Does it really feel like the steering wheel is stuck in one rotational direction? If the steering wheel is stuck in one direction, then turn it with a decent amount of force in the opposite direction while turning the key.

Normally, this should take care of the issue. If that one does not solve the issue, then the key and the ignition cylinder will most likely need an evaluation. There are exceptions because the key and/or the ignition cylinder may need to be cleaned. As vehicles age, the amount of grime that builds up can surprise anyone!

Car Key Will Not Work When Turning Car Off

Many issues stated above can apply to a vehicle that cannot turn off. The key may be jammed or locked, causing frustration when leaving the vehicle. When turning off the vehicle, it is always in the driver’s best interest to check whether the vehicle is parked.

A lot of the time, the vehicle is still left in drive. When the vehicle isn’t parked, a factory safety feature is enabled to refuse the driver to take the key out of the ignition. Though frustrating, the safety feature can save the vehicle (and the driver) from a potential accident.

Also, if the key is bent, worn out, or modified in any way that hinders the ability to allow the driver to rotate it swiftly, the key will have an issue moving freely. Sometimes, this means that the key will not move at all. Please be careful with the key around the ignition.

Car Key Will Not Work on Door

Regarding the key’s function in the door, there are a few similar (but different) reasons why. Before looking at the key as the main issue, it is important to see if the door lock is damaged.

This issue is big on older cars. Over time, the lock becomes worn down. The guilty door lock will have internal parts that deteriorate, resulting in a jammed door lock. Also, the dirt and debris build-up can result in a less functional door lock. As with the ignition issue, it is best to clean both the key and the door locks to eliminate the issue.

The last item that wasn’t mentioned above is that the turnkey itself may be an aftermarket key. Although cheaper than the original manufacturer’s replacement, the aftermarket key may be limited in its accessibility. This results in a key that partially works; so, it is in the driver’s best interest to stray away from the aftermarket key sets.

Reasons Why Car Keys Will Not Come Out of Ignition

Almost identical to the reasons stated above, the keys will not leave the ignition unless the vehicle is parked. Also, the steering wheel can be stuck in a lock position, making it harder for the key while pulling it out of the ignition. The debris build-up in a key can play a factor; however, if the key is already turning the vehicle on, the likelihood of the vehicle not turning off is low.

It is still in the driver’s best interest to replace the key sooner than later. There is a possibility that the key (or the ignition cylinder) can have a recall from the manufacturer. The best way to find out is by searching on the internet.

Final Thoughts

Key issues are becoming a problem of the past. With modern vehicles and added technology, the issues are decreasing. With that being said, the issue remains for the vehicles that have a turnkey ignition. All of the issues stated in this article go hand-in-hand. From lock-outs to difficulties starting the vehicle, it is imperative to figure out the root cause independently.

If the vehicle is still giving the driver issues after the common solutions, it is best to hire a locksmith. Locksmiths are usually mobile, allowing the driver to worry about one less problem.

One thing to remember from this article is to stay up to date on maintenance. Another is to spend more money on a manufacturer-made key instead of an aftermarket set. The last thing is to always park the vehicle before exiting (unless the vehicle is manual, in which case it would have to be left in first gear and the emergency brake would need to be engaged).

Gui Hadlich

Hey there! I'm Gui. To be honest, I'm not really that interested in cars. But what I'm really, really not interest in is spending lots of money fixing my car up. Thankfully, I have a father-in-law who's obsessed with cars and a brother getting a PhD in internal combustion engines, so I get to learn about fixing cars. And with Fixing Engines, I hope to help you save a lot of money and take good care of your cars.

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