It won't start if Key

Have you ever gone out to the car in the morning only to find out you can’t get the key to turn in the ignition? It’s one situation that’s sure to confuse and irritate even the most patient person. When the key won’t turn in the ignition, your natural reaction is to force it harder, but you should never do this. Instead, you need to figure out what’s causing the malfunction.

The steering wheel may be stuck. Other than that, it is possible for the vehicle to not go into Park. In modern vehicles, such as those with sophisticated systems and ignition locks, it is possible that the key lock cylinder has failed or that the battery is dead. 

We will examine the possible reasons that the key may not be turning in this guide. These are some of the common issues we will address. 

Índice de Contenido
  1. Reasons Key Won’t Turn in Ignition
    1. 1. Locked steering wheel
    2. 2. Park?
    3. 3. The Key Issues
    4. 4. Broken Ignition Lock Cylinder
    5. 5. Battery for dead cars
  2. Fix Key That Won’t Turn in Ignition
    1. 1. The steering wheel should be turned
    2. 2. Take a look at the gear
    3. 3. The Key
    4. 4. Clean/Lubricate Ignition cylinder
    5. 5. Make sure to check your car battery

Reasons Key Won’t Turn in Ignition

1. Locked steering wheel

Steering Wheel Hard To Turn

The steering wheel may become stuck if you remove the key from the ignition. When this happens, it won’t turn and can often get stuck. Although the system can prevent thieves from taking your car, you may find it annoying when it makes it impossible to turn the key.

It can only happen with an electronic key. Newer cars with an electronic key don’t suffer from the same malfunction. If the steering wheel is stuck on these cars, there’s a larger issue. 

2. Park?

Car Shifter

In many vehicles, you find a feature that keeps you from starting it when the gear shifter isn’t in Park or Neutral. This is not a problem if your vehicle has an automatic transmission.

If you have a manual transmission, this won’t stop you from turning the key. Also, older vehicles don’t always have this safety feature. 

RELATED : Key Stuck Inside Ignition Eight Steps to Take It Out

3. The Key Issues

Key Fob Lock

Are the keys old and worn? If it has become deformed or bent in any way, the cylinder pins aren’t going to drop appropriately to turn the key, as it won’t be recognized when you insert it.

You might not be able to see the issue right away because the keys can still fit in the ignition cylinder. There’s also the chance of some dirt or other contaminants on the key causing the cylinder to mistake its shape. You should inspect the condition of your key if it is kept in your purse or pocket, where dust and dirt can collect. 

Finally, it’s possible that you grabbed the wrong key. If you have a multitude of keys, you may have picked one up that looks similar, but it doesn’t actually belong to this car. 

4. Broken Ignition Lock Cylinder

If the key isn’t the problem, the ignition lock cylinder could be to blame. The keyhole could have been blocked by something. In fact, the slightest change internally can prevent the key’s teeth from lining up where it needs to be. 

You might resolve the issue quickly with professional help in some instances. You will need to replace the ignition lock key cylinder. 

5. Battery for dead cars

Modern cars now have electronic ignition systems. The car's battery is required to get the system started. The system may not recognise the key if the battery is dead.

Modern vehicles require power to start the engine. If there’s no power flowing, the key won’t move and you won’t be able to start the engine. 

RELATED: Key Fob dead? Here’s How to Unlock & Start it (6 Steps)

Fix Key That Won’t Turn in Ignition

1. The steering wheel should be turned

There is an easy fix for the steering wheel lock that prevents you from turning your key. To turn the wheel quickly, move it from side-to-side. After you've done this, turn the key once more.

The pressure in the lock will be relieved by this small gesture. You should then be able again to use the key as normal after you have released the lock. 

2. Take a look at the gear

Take a peek at the gear shifter to see where it’s located. If it’s anywhere but Park or Neutral, you need to move it and try the key again.

In some cases, the gear shifter can look like it’s in the right position. You can check by moving it in and out of Park. 

3. The Key

You should always have the correct key with you. It’s possible that you grabbed your spouse’s as you walked out of the door. Also, make sure to inspect its condition. To check if it is damaged or worn, you can try to get a spare key.

If the key is dirty, you can clean it off. The best way to make your key shine is by using alcohol rub. You can clean the keys with a dry, lint-free cloth. 

You can have another key made if you are certain that the key is defective. For a new key, call your dealer. The locksmith can’t always handle making a key, depending on what kind it is. 

4. Clean/Lubricate Ignition cylinder

WD-40 can be used to lubricate the key if it gets stuck in the ignition. Spray it directly into the ignition cylinder and you will loosen things up. You can try the key once more, and wiggle the handle a little to spread the lubrication.

If there’s something obstructing the cylinder, spray it out with compressed air. You should be careful about what lubricants or cleaners are sprayed into your cylinder. They can cause more buildup. 

Worst-case scenario: The cylinder needs to be repaired. A mechanic will have to perform this fix if you aren’t familiar with the system.

5. Make sure to check your car battery

Other signs will be displayed if the problem is with your car's battery. The headlights, interior lights and accessories won’t power on either. 

You can start the battery with your battery charger if it is not working. It might be necessary to change the battery or to repair it if it keeps dying.

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