How To Fix A Car Key Stuck In The Ignition

How To Fix A Car Key Stuck In The Ignition

Car keys getting stuck inside the ignition is a situation that every driver is bound to face at least once. One of the reasons for this is a security wheel lock which prevents you from turning the wheel. If the key is still inside while its wheel gets locked, the key can get stuck inside. To remove the key, you need to unlock the wheel. Turn the wheel to one side till you hear a click sound and slide the key out. However, this instance is a very simple one. There are several other, more complex possibilities due to which your car’s key may get stuck in the ignition. Thus, in this article, we will not just walk you through many such instances, but we’ll also guide you on how to fix a car key stuck in the ignition.

Reasons Your Car’s Key is stuck in the ignition.

It’s important to become aware of the reasons why it gets stuck in the first place before you learn how to fix a car key stuck in the ignition.

Gear Set incorrectly

Incorrect gear setting is one of the most common reasons for a car key stuck in the ignition. Ensure that you’ve set the gear to “Park.” before key removal.

If your vehicle has a digital screen, a “P” will appear. This indicates that the gear has been set to park successfully. Also, if you’re an automatic car owner and set the gear to neutral or drive, the key will get stuck in the ignition.

 Furthermore, if you own a manual car, shift the gear to neutral. Setting it on any other mode will jam the key.

Accessory Mode

Some cars come with a mode known as an accessory mode. This mode allows you to activate certain car instruments and features such as power windows, radio, etc. Cars with accessory mode come with a “hard key.”

By switching the car key one turn after switching off the ignition, the accessory mode is turned on. So, if you let your car in the accessory mode for long, it can cause the key to getting stuck.

Your car’s battery has died.

Your car’s ignition system is highly dependent on the car’s battery. Thus, if the car’s battery is dead, the ignition system will lock, consequently jamming the key.


Failing Ignition lock cylinder

If your car’s ignition lock cylinder malfunctions frequently or fails anytime, it will not allow your key to come out. The ignition cylinder has many pins inside. The pins’ alignment gets disrupted in a faulty ignition lock cylinder. This jams the key inside.

Key has Debris

This problem is very common with duplicate keys as they are extremely sensitive. Debris hinders the key from turning completely in the cylinder and thus forces you to apply extra pressure.

In addition, if you’re habitual of scratching things off with your car’s key, you’re highly susceptible to this problem.

Steering wheel lock

Installed by car manufacturers as a built-in safety feature is a wheel lock. This feature hinders movement in the absence of a car key.

However, this feature can backfire if due to incorrect techniques. While switching off the ignition, applying additional force can jam the wheel. This eventually results in the key remaining stuck inside.

How to Fix a Car Key Stuck in the Ignition

Fixing Wheel lock

You’ve got nothing to worry about if you’re wondering how to fix a car key stuck in the ignition due to a wheel lock. All you need to do is steer them in one direction. If you’re able to hear an audible “click” sound, it indicates that the wheel has been unlocked. If you’re unable to unlock the steering wheel, try turning it the other way round. You need to pull the key out once the wheel has been unlocked.

Key jiggling

Key jiggling is a common practice much used to take a stuck key out from the ignition. Probe the key cylinder using your index filter to jiggle the key out. While doing this, simultaneously jiggle the key with your other hand.

This technique helps loosen the pins and springs inside. You can easily slide the key out with the pins and springs lost.

Spraying the WD-40

Another technique is lubricating the lock using a WD-40 spray. After spraying, wiggle gently and pull the key out.

Gear Selector

For those who’ve set the gear incorrectly, this technique is for you all. Keep shaking the gear selector gently. Otherwise, you can also try setting the gear to the parking position.

How to take out a broken car key stuck in the ignition

It’s quite common for people to break their car’s key while pulling it out. Here are some hacks to help you take out a car key that is now broken and stuck inside the ignition cylinder.

Key extractor

This method Is quite famous among professional locksmiths. It’s simple and only requires you to buy a key extractor. There are different types of key extractors, so you need to buy the most suitable one for your car.


Using tweezers to pull out a broken key is one of the cheapest hacks. If you don’t have tweezers, you can also use needle nose pliers as an alternative. Both these tools are small and easy to use. Simply get a hold of the key using the tweezer and slide it out gently.

Jigsaw Blade

Since a jigsaw blade is very thin, it’s very easy to fit it inside. Firstly, insert the blade and place the key in the ignition pathway. Turn the blade gently so that blade’s notches can hold the key. Finally, pull the broken key out slowly.


Apart from learning how to fix a car key stuck in the ignition, you must also learn other extremely handy skills such as changing the engine oil, tires, radiator, and installing new car lights.