Every so often, you’ll notice that your car key gets stuck in your vehicle’s ignition. You start to panic because no matter how much you wiggle or pull, you can’t figure out how to get it out. If you use too much force, you may end up breaking the key inside the engine. If that happens, you can find yourself with a much bigger problem. Below are a few reasons why your car key may not easily slide out of the ignition:
- Your steering wheel could be locked.
If you wiggle the steering wheel while your vehicle is off, it may activate the steering wheel lock. This will prevent you from removing the key from the ignition and moving the steering wheel altogether. You should be able to release both simultaneously by moving the steering wheel and turning the key at the same time.
- Your car key may be dirty.
If you use your car key to open items or packages, there may be cardboard or tape pieces still stuck on the key. You may notice issues removing your key if you drop your key in and dirt or residue without effectively cleaning it. Both situations can lead to the key being stuck inside the engine if you don’t take proper care.
- Your car key may be damaged or worn.
Small bends or chips in your car key may prevent it from fitting inside your ignition as well. If you aren’t using your car key, it would be good to keep it in a safe place to avoid it from experiencing any damage. If you had your car key for a while, it would be smart to purchase a second key in case your first one becomes worn or you lose it.
- You forgot to put your car in the parking gear.
Your car must be set to park before you’ll be able to remove the car key. Some people may forget to put their car in park before turning off the engine; this can result in the key remaining stuck.
- Your car battery may have died.
Your vehicle ignition system needs the battery to function. If your vehicle’s battery dies, the ignition system will lock up, making it difficult to retrieve your key. If the key is ignited when the battery dies, you may have to wait until you receive a jump before you’ll be able to retrieve it.
- There is damage to your ignition cylinder.
A vehicle ignition cylinder has several rows of pins inside of the ignition lock. If any of these spring-loaded pins becomes damaged or out of alignment, it can be challenging to remove your key or put it in.
If your key is stuck, take your time with attempting to remove it. Wiggle the steering wheel and gently turn the key. Never try to remove the key with force as it can result in the key being broken inside the ignition. Do not use your key to open packages. And if your key is damaged, look to having it replaced immediately. If all else fails, a locksmith may be a safe option and an affordable option to get you back on the road in no time.