How To Turn a Stuck Ignition Key

There is hardly anything as frustrating as a stuck ignition key that is simply refusing to turn. You just sit there on the driver’s seat, losing your cool with each failed attempt to turn the key. You may start cursing the key or the car itself under these circumstances, thinking that maybe it would make the psyche key turn, though with no success.

Rather than letting the frustration get the better of you and yanking the key forcefully, just relax and try to work through the problem.


  • 1

    Some cars have a key release button near the key slot. Pressing the button will allow you to turn the key and pull it out. If you do not see the button next to the key slot, search for it under the steering wheel. Do not give up until you are sure that your car does not have a key release button. It is likely to be really dark under the steering wheel, but you can easily take care of that by using the light from your cell-phone while searching for the button.

  • 2

    Make sure that the wheels are neither active nor moving while you are attempting to turn the stuck ignition key. To ensure that the wheels are still, engage the parking brake, which is also known as the hand brake. Once you do that, try wiggling and turning the key, though do not exert too much pressure.

  • 3

    Sometimes the ignition key gets stuck and does not turn when the car is not in “Park” position. You cannot start the car unless it is in park position.

  • 4

    Check if there is something stuck in the ignition that is preventing the key from turning. You can check this by inserting a wire into the ignition, or by removing the panels around the ignition cylinder. If it becomes clear that something is indeed stuck inside the ignition, do not start poking it with some sort of a hard object to remove it, as you may end up damaging something. Get a mechanic to handle the issue.

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