What to Do When Your Ignition Key Won't Turn

If your vehicle's ignition key will not turn, consider the following information.

Possible Causes

If you end up with an ignition key that will not turn, there are several possible causes. The most likely one is that the steering-lock mechanism is engaged, which usually happens when the wheels are up against a curb. Another possible cause is that the ignition switch may be starting to go bad.

Steps to Take

First, if you have an automatic transmission, make sure the vehicle is in park. If the car is a manual transmission, make sure it is in neutral. Set the parking brake to prevent the car from moving any further. Rock the steering wheel from side to side and try to twist the key at the same time. If this does not work, try spraying some WD-40 or similar lubricant spray into the ignition, and then gently wiggle the key to try and loosen it. If neither one of these methods work, you can try taking the ignition assembly apart. If you are not familiar enough with the car to attempt this, then it is time to consult a mechanic.

If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to remember not to try and force the key to turn as it can break. Try the steps outlined above and seek professional help if they do not solve the problem.