When you climb behind the wheel of your vehicle, you expect your key to turn in the ignition. Drivers never stop to think their key may not work. They worry about the battery being dead because they left the lights on or a tire going flat because they ran over something the night before, the key malfunctioning isn’t even a consideration until the worst happens. They put the key in and it will not turn. Fortunately, drivers find there are often common fixes to the problem. Try the following before calling for help from a locksmith.
Turn the Steering Wheel
When a driver moves their steering wheel after removing the key from the ignition cylinder, this locks the steering wheel. To allow the key to turn, move the steering wheel in both directions. If this doesn’t work, pay attention to which direction the wheel didn’t want to turn. Move the wheel in the other direction and hold it there while turning the key to the accessory position. This often unlocks the wheel and allows the key to turn.
However, if this doesn’t work, there’s no need to call Texas Premier Locksmith yet. Try rocking the steering wheel while turning or jiggling the key. When the key is able to turn, this unlocks the steering wheel and the car usually starts. However, if this doesn’t work, additional help may be needed. Never pull on the steering wheel if you feel resistance or turn the key forcefully. Doing so could cause it to break off in the ignition.
Lubricate the Lock
The ignition cylinder in cars often becomes jammed, which leads to the key not turning. People may grab a can of WD-40 in this situation, but doing so isn’t a good idea. Keep graphite or silicon-based lubricant on hand for this purpose, as you may never know when you need it. These lubricants won’t gather dust, grime, and other particulates over time. Individuals who rely on WD-40 find that using this product actually jams the internal components of the lock more. The only time WD-40 may be of help is when the ignition cylinder will be changed immediately.
Gather the key, a clean cloth, and the selected lubricant. Start by spraying the lubricant into the cylinder’s keyway, making sure to remove any excess that leaks from the hole or sits on the outer portion of the ignition cylinder. The lubricant may stain any items it touches if not wiped away immediately. Insert the key and attempt to turn it. If it fails to turn, try jiggling it. Repeat the process again if the key won’t turn. If this fails to work after a few minutes, it’s time to try something else.
Rap the Key
The lock may be so jammed that lubrication will not help resolve the issue. Bump keys won’t work on cars, but the driver can use a hammer or vibrating mechanism to see if they can shake the internal components of the ignition cylinder. This may be enough to return them to the correct position.
Ignition cylinders contain small parts that may get lost or stuck. Lubrication cannot always loosen the components or restore them to proper working conditions. However, rapping the key may allow it to turn in the cylinder.
Any tool that will apply vibration to the key to the point where it is noticeable works in this situation. The driver needs to get the internal components to move more than they do with a simple shake of the key. Begin by rapping the key with the tool while attempting to turn it in the cylinder. If this doesn’t work, rap the cylinder itself to see if that helps.
Don’t apply too much force when rapping the key or cylinder. Doing so could damage the key or ignition cylinder. Experts recommend using the same force you would use when knocking silently on a door and focus efforts on the key or cylinder. Don’t hit surrounding objects if possible.
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Repair the Key
The problem may lie in the key rather than the lock. To determine whether this is the case, try a spare key to see if the ignition turns. If the spare key works, the problem lies in the key. If this doesn’t work, examine the biting on the key’s blade to see if it shows signs of wear. Finally, carefully look at the key and see if it is bent or broken. Fixing a damaged key may be possible, but this method only works when you have access to a spare key. If both keys fail to work, the problem lies elsewhere. When the key is broken, take it to a locksmith for repair.
Replace the Key
Broken keys need to be replaced. Fortunately, locksmiths can help individuals who have a damaged key. They cut an aftermarket electronic car key or program a transponder chip if the owner needs help with this task. Some people head to the local hardware store to see if they can help, while others choose to visit the dealership. The cost of duplicating the key varies by where the work is completed with dealership service costing the most.
Contact a Locksmith
If all else fails, contact a locksmith for help. These professionals handle a range of situations involving ignition cylinders, door locks, and more. Many people hesitate to take this step because they are worried about the cost of the service. Nevertheless, locksmith service tends to cost less than many other options, and the locksmith training ensures your car will be running again in very short order.
Before a person can resolve their problem with a key not turning in the ignition, they must determine what the problem is. Always start with the easiest fix, as this could be enough to resolve the issue. By moving through the above-mentioned steps, many individuals find they can start their car without difficulty. For those who discover this isn’t the case, a locksmith serves as the best answer. Doing so ensures the key is fixed without any additional damage to the car and at an affordable price.