How To Get A Key Unstuck From A Car Ignition

How To Get A Key Unstuck From A Car Ignition

How To Get A Key Unstuck From A Car Ignition

Having a key stuck in the car ignition can be a frustrating situation. It can leave you stranded and unable to start your vehicle. It is important to remain calm and take the necessary steps to resolve the issue without causing any further damage. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of getting a key unstuck from a car ignition. So, let’s dive in!


  • Understand the Issue
  • Check for Obvious Solutions
  • Try Jiggling and Wiggling
  • Apply Lubrication
  • Utilize a Spare Key
  • Seek Professional Help

Understand the Issue

Before attempting any solution, it is essential to understand the common reasons why a key gets stuck in the car ignition. The issue can occur due to various factors such as a worn-out key, an issue with the ignition cylinder, foreign objects obstructing the keyway, or a combination of factors. Identifying the root cause will help you choose the right approach to resolve the problem.

Check for Obvious Solutions

Begin by checking for any obvious solutions that might be causing the key to get stuck. Ensure that the car is in park or neutral, as many vehicles have a safety feature that prevents the key from being removed when not in these positions. Additionally, check if the steering wheel is locked or if there is pressure on it, as this can prevent the key from turning or coming out. If these simple checks do not resolve the issue, move on to the next step.

Try Jiggling and Wiggling

In some cases, the key may be stuck due to a slight misalignment or a mechanical glitch. Gentle jiggling and wiggling of the key can sometimes help release the lock. While doing so, avoid using excessive force as it may break the key or damage the ignition cylinder. Try turning the steering wheel back and forth while gently jiggling the key. This motion can often dislodge any obstructions and allow the key to come out more easily.

Apply Lubrication

If the key is still stuck after attempting the previous steps, it may be beneficial to apply lubrication to the ignition cylinder. Over time, dirt, debris, and dust can accumulate in the cylinder, making it difficult for the key to slide in and out smoothly. Use a penetrating oil or a graphite-based lubricant and apply it to the key before inserting it into the ignition. Gently turn and wiggle the key to distribute the lubricant inside the cylinder. This process may take a few attempts, so be patient and persistent.

Utilize a Spare Key

If you have access to a spare key, this step can help narrow down whether the issue lies with the key itself or the ignition cylinder. Try using the spare key to start the vehicle or remove the stuck key. If the spare key works smoothly, it indicates that the original key may be faulty or worn out. In this case, consider getting a replacement key from a locksmith or your vehicle’s manufacturer.

Seek Professional Help

If none of the previous methods work or if you are uncomfortable attempting them on your own, it is advisable to seek professional help. Contact a trusted automotive locksmith or your vehicle’s dealership for assistance. These experts have the knowledge, skills, and specialized tools to diagnose and fix key and ignition-related issues effectively. While it may involve some cost, it ensures a safe and reliable resolution to the problem.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I forcefully remove the key from the ignition?

A: It is not recommended to forcefully remove the key from the ignition as it can cause severe damage to both the key and the ignition cylinder. It is best to try the troubleshooting steps mentioned earlier or seek professional help.

Q: Can a stuck key in the ignition drain the car battery?

A: No, a key stuck in the ignition does not typically drain the car battery. However, leaving the key in the ignition without turning off the electrical systems, such as lights or accessories, can drain the battery over time. It is still advisable to remove the key from the ignition to prevent any potential issues.

Q: How much does it cost to fix a stuck key in the ignition?

A: The cost of fixing a stuck key in the ignition can vary depending on the root cause of the problem and the service provider. Simple solutions like lubrication may cost less, while more complex issues may require professional intervention, which can be relatively more expensive. It is recommended to inquire with local automotive locksmiths or dealerships to get an accurate estimate.

Q: Can I prevent a key from getting stuck in the ignition?

A: While it may not be possible to completely prevent a key from getting stuck in the ignition, regular maintenance and care can minimize the chances of encountering this issue. Keep the key and ignition cylinder clean and free from debris. Avoid using excessive force when inserting or turning the key. If you notice any signs of difficulty, address the issue promptly to prevent it from escalating into a stuck key situation.

Q: Are there any DIY methods to remove a stuck key from the ignition?

A: The methods mentioned in this article are some common DIY techniques to remove a stuck key from the ignition. However, it is important to exercise caution and avoid using excessive force, as it can cause damage. If the DIY methods do not work, it is advisable to seek the help of a professional locksmith or dealership.


A key stuck in a car ignition can be a frustrating and inconvenient situation. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can increase the chances of successfully resolving the issue without causing any further damage. Remember to remain patient and avoid using excessive force. If all else fails, do not hesitate to seek professional help. With the right approach, you’ll have your key unstuck from the car ignition and be back on the road in no time.

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