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Car Key Sticking In Ignition: Causes, Risks and Best Solutions

Even though many may think that having your car key stuck in your ignition is a minor problem, this issue should be resolved promptly. If you don’t contact a professional automotive locksmith to address your problem and provide an  effective solution, the situation may result in several complications. Read on to learn more about the risks involved with car keys stuck in the ignition and the best possible solutions. 

Stuck Car Key

If you can’t get your keys out of the ignition, you should consider the fact that they may be stuck in there for good. This means that you’ll be unable to start your vehicle. The whole situation may become quite bothersome, therefore it’s best that you have an automotive locksmith on standby. Contacting a professional will help you resolve the issue before those stuck keys can ruin the rest of your day.

Broken Car Key

If your keys are stuck in the ignition and you try to turn them, the blade of the key may snap. Trying to forcefully pull out the keys can result in an even bigger issue. Every time you try to twist the keys and they won’t budge, the key’s components gradually wear down. If the key breaks, removing the broken piece will be necessary. That’s why it’s recommended that you call a locksmith instead of trying to resolve the problem on your own.

Ignition Damage

Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that trying to pull a stuck key by force may damage the components inside the lock. In that case, you would need car lock replacement services as well. If by accident you end up damaging the car ignition, make sure to contact a professional locksmith who specializes in ignition repair.

Reasons why a key may get stuck in the ignition

In order to successfully and efficiently solve a stuck key in the ignition, you should first identify the reason why your keys got stuck in the first place. There are various causes for stuck keys, however, the main categories include the following:


With time, grime and pieces of dirt can accumulate in the inner components of the ignition, mainly in the cylinder. In turn, this reduces the ability of the key to freely turn and move in the space of the keyway. This blockage can  build up gradually or out of nowhere. It all comes down to what kind of matter the keys have been exposed to and if you’ve used any kinds of lubricants on the cylinder.

Blockage due to build up can sometimes be resolved with a lubricant specifically made for car key ignitions. However, if the build up is severe, make sure to contact a professional locksmith who can provide a better solution.

Key Wear 

Keys are made to work for a specific lock. Therefore, if the key is deformed or if it has gradually worn out due to frequent use, it may no longer work for your car ignition. This is one of the most common reasons why people opt for car key ignition replacement services. 

Key wear and tear may gradually develop with each use. If the material used for the keys is soft, the poor quality will cause your keys to wear down even faster. If your key bends, even if just slightly, make sure to have a locksmith evaluate the state of your keys. You can try to assess the condition of your lock yourself by feeling the grooves to see if they’ve become less noticeable. Also, make sure to check if the blade of the key seems straight.

Ignition Damage 

In some cases, the keys may get stuck in the ignition due to any parts breaking. In case the cam or tailpiece get stuck, the cylinder may not be able to properly rotate. To ensure safety, car ignitions hold the key until the cylinder is fully rotated. If you’ve excluded breakage and wear and tear from the causes for your stuck keys, make sure to check if the ignition itself is damaged. In these cases, a car locksmith is the only one who can properly assess the condition of your ignition’s parts. 

3 Solutions for a car key stuck in the ignition

New Key

In most cases, people choose to get a new key for their car ignition. If you decide to get a car key replacement, it’s important to find a reliable locksmith who can efficiently handle the job. Oftentimes, people wonder whether you can fix a key that’s broken instead of replacing it altogether. If your key was stuck chances are you will need to cut a new key. A locksmith might recommend fixing your key when it’s a fob or remote key. A professional car locksmith should be able to make a new key for your car ignition even if the original one is stuck inside it.

Ignition Repair

Ignition repair includes replacing an ignition partially or fully. In some cases a deep thorough cleaning may be needed as well, apart from the usual lubrification. This type of service can only be performed by a professional locksmith who knows how to take apart a car ignition. He will make the right diagnosis in order to understand what part of it needs to be serviced and repaired. 

The typical methods of repair involve deep cleaning and professional polishing. These services will help clean your ignition from rust while also preventing any further oxidation in the future. If you’ve dealt with a rusted ignition you should know that metals can easily rust again unless they are properly taken care of. Proper cleaning will definitely require more than an electrolysis or vinegar solution cleanse. The typical components that are repaired usually include the wafters, pins, springs and tailpiece. These elements are the ones which directly interact with the key. 

Ignition Replacement

Many think that having a car key stuck in the ignition is not a severe enough issue to require ignition replacement. Nevertheless, not taking proper care of this issue can result in further complications. In case extra lubrication and ignition repair services are not sufficient, you may need to consider car ignition replacement services. Sometimes, this course of action is mandatory in order to prevent the cylinder from breaking down altogether. 

In order to properly evaluate if you need to replace your ignition cylinder a professional car locksmith is necessary. A professional can also make sure that your vehicle works as it should after the whole service is done. If you want your door locks and keys to match with the new ignition, you should request car key rekeying services. A professional locksmith should be able to help you with that as well.

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