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What to Do When the Ignition Key Doesn’t Turn

For some drivers, it’s finding that their key won’t turn in the ignition that becomes their greatest and biggest nightmare. Don’t make it one of yours. We’ve rounded up five tips to try before calling a towing or locksmith company if you suddenly find that your car key won’t turn in the ignition. No rocket science involved.

Follow These Five Simple  Steps:

1. Mind the brakes

Some vehicles employing the latest technologies (or at least, those which are automatic transmission) won’t allow the key to turn in the ignition unless the hand or foot brake is pulled. Some brands have opted to include this function for extra safety precaution. If your car has this function, always make sure to pull the brake and then turn the key.

2. Twist and turn

If it still doesn’t turn, press on the key switch and turn the steering wheel back and forth until it catches. Sometimes keys don’t turn because there’s a hitch inside the steering wheel. Find that ‘free spot’ before trying to turn it again.

what to do when the ignition key doesn't turn

3. Parked or not parked?

Like mentioned before, if your car is automatic then it’s most likely to have that function where the key won’t turn until it’s put on P, or park. Before panicking, check where the gear’s at. Don’t forcibly turn the key again and again because you might just break it (which could lead to even bigger problems that may require you to call a locksmith).

4. Check the oil

Pop the hood and check to see if the oil cylinder is clean or if it needs changing. Sometimes this is where the problem lies. Make it a habit to check the cylinder before leaving the house and having it changed every six months (if your car is old).

5. Straighten the key

Okay, so you’ve finally gotten that faulty key out of the ignition. Now what?

Check to see if it is bent or if there are any breaks in its supposedly flat surface. If you find some, get a hammer and hammer any kinks and bends down. Make sure it becomes flat again and to be sure, put it in the ignition to see if it turns without any hitches. If you find that it doesn’t, consider replacing your key by having it duplicated by a professional locksmith.