Updated at: 31-03-2022 - By: micdot

What do you do if your key becomes stuck in the ignition and you’re stumped as to how to free it? An ignition key trapped in the ignition might cause stress as you try to find out how to remove it out of the ignition. In this post, we’ll explain how to remove your key out of the ignition, why it got stuck, and what you can do to prevent this from happening again in the future.

7 Reasons Why Your Key Is Stuck In Ignition

Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, the key should come out of the ignition when you turn it completely clockwise or press the car release button. It’s possible that your key is stuck in the ignition if this doesn’t happen. Even if the issue is specific to your car’s model and make, the majority of its causes are universal and can affect any make or model of vehicle. To name a few of the most popular, here are the top seven:

1. Failure To Set Parking Gear

Before attempting to remove the ignition key from an automatic car, be sure the transmission gear is set to park. The key will only come out of a manual car’s ignition if the transmission is in neutral. Using a digital display, you can check the gear status to see if the transmission gear is set for parking by looking for a sign of the letter “p.”

2. Steering Wheel Lock

Turning off your car while moving the wheel locks the steering wheel. In the event of this, you won’t be able to turn the wheel or remove the ignition key from the vehicle. When the ignition cylinder and the steering wheel lock at the same time, the result is a locked steering wheel. If you want to go back to the original situation, you can unlock the steering wheel and release the key while spinning the key.

3. Debris On The Key

Sticky tape bits or adhesive glue may have accumulated on the key while it was being used to open packages or cartons. A damaged key and the possibility of it becoming trapped in the ignition are also risks you run by doing this. If the ignition cylinder pins can’t engage the key because of debris on it, the key will become stuck.

Car Key Stuck in Ignition Solutions - What to do if key won't turn -  Locksmith Lion Naples FL

4. A Dead Battery

The ignition can become stuck and the key won’t come out of the lock if the battery is dead or low in voltage. If this occurs, do not attempt to remove the key by force, as you may cause further damage to the lock. Before attempting to remove the key, you might ask a friend to jump-start the car or replace the dead battery.

5. Damaged Key

A car’s key, like any other key, will eventually wear out. Cracks will form on your key if you keep stowing it in your pocket or tossing it about on rough surfaces. When you sit with your key in your pocket, you run the risk of damaging it. It is possible for a broken key to get caught in the ignition and be difficult to extract. Replace your key as soon as possible if you see any signs of damage.

6. A Damaged Ignition Cylinder

A key stuck in the ignition could be caused by a faulty ignition cylinder. It’s possible that the spring-loaded ignition pins won’t line with the shape of your key, in which case you won’t be able to use your key to start the engine. If you are able to insert the key in this situation, it is very likely that it will become jammed.

7. Manufacturers Recall

If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gets a large number of complaints about your car model’s ignition system, they may conduct an investigation. Recalling the models if the findings indicate that the vehicle poses a safety risk or does not satisfy minimal safety standards is mandatory. You can see if the NHTSA’s website affects your vehicle by inputting the VIN into a search engine.

How To Remove Your Key Stuck In Ignition

Even if your car key gets stuck in the ignition, don’t worry; the methods below will show you how to securely remove it:

Easy Release & Remove Stuck Ignition Key w/ Dead or Weak Battery (All GM  Chevy Cobalt & Pontiac G5) - YouTube

1. Set The Gear To Parking

When an automobile is not parked, the steering wheel is locked for safety reasons. When the gear is not in neutral, the steering wheel is locked to prevent the car from driving on its own. When driving an automatic or a manual car, make sure the gear is in park or neutral. The steering wheel can be jiggled back and forth to loosen a jammed key from the ignition. The anti-theft device may cause your steering wheel to lock, making it impossible for the key to be removed. The key comes out of the ignition when the steering wheel is jiggled.

2. Lubricate The Ignition Lock Cylinder

In order for the ignition cylinder to work properly, it must be well greased. Pins may wear out or damage the key if the cylinder is too dry. You can remove the key by lubricating the cylinder using graphite lube.

3. Clean Out Debris

The ignition cylinder can become clogged with debris and dust, which can lead to wear and strain. Spraying WD-40 into the keyhole and squirting in 2-3 rapid bursts will wash out any undesired junk from the cylinder.

The lubricating characteristics of WD-40 spray may help to prevent rust and corrosion on metallic surfaces. Spray some WD-40 on the keyhole and try to wiggle the key out that way as well!

4. Check For Dead Battery

Battery power is critical to the ignition system’s ability to start up. The key may become stuck in the ignition due to a low voltage or a dead battery. You can either jump-start or replace your vehicle’s battery. The key may be able to be loosened by lightly tapping the battery with a hammer.

5. Broken Key

Don’t try to re-insert the other half of your key if it breaks when you’re trying to remove it from the ignition. In order to securely remove an ignition with a broken key, use one of the following methods:

Removing a Broken Key from Your Ignition | Parkside Motors

5-1. Use A Key Extractor

To remove a broken ignition key, most locksmiths advocate the use of an extractor.

5-2. Use A Hacksaw Blade

The blade of a hacksaw may be easily inserted into the ignition since it is so thin. To unlock it, slowly turn the edge. Remove the blade from the ignition to remove the broken key.

5-3. Using Pliers

If you can see a piece of the broken key on the surface, a needle nose plier can be used to grab the broken key and remove it from the ignition. Using superglue or melted wax, you can improve the plier’s grip.

5-4. Using A Wire Coat Hanger

Insert a hook made from a wire coat hanger into the ignition using pliers. Using the broken key as a hook, slowly pull the wire out of the ignition.

5-5. Contact A Locksmith

We recommend contacting a locksmith if any of the aforementioned approaches fail. It’s possible to find one online or obtain a recommendation from a family member or friend.

Effective method to remove the broken key from the ignition - YouTube


Even if you’re not in a rush and don’t know how to get the key out of the ignition, it can generate a lot of stress and panic. A key getting stuck in the ignition is something that can happen for a variety of different reasons. There are a few simple procedures you may take to remove a broken key from the ignition, park your car, and then continue on your journey as planned. If you’ve tried everything and still can’t get the key out, you may always call a locksmith.