There are many reasons why an ignition key does not turn, and most of them are quite basic and elementary in nature. Solving this problem is simple, however, in extreme cases, it may be needed to replace the entire assembly.
If you find that your car ignition key is not turning, then you’re in quite a sticky situation. Without it, your car or for that matter, any other vehicle will not start, or if you’re really unlucky, it won’t stop. This is not a problem that many people face, but it is surely something that will completely annoy the life out of you.
Now before you go complaining to a car repair shop, there are a few things that you can try out in order to fix the problem yourself. Going to a mechanic might mean that you will have to replace the entire ignition lock, and this will cost a fair amount of time as well as money. Of course, if none of the options mentioned here work, replacing the ignition lock is something that you will have to resort to.
In all probability, your key will fail to turn simply because you are using the wrong one. This sounds very stupid and you might be thinking that this is something that can’t possibly be true, but it does happen. Due to carelessness and forgetfulness, some people often end up putting the wrong key into the ignition.
Obviously, it wouldn’t turn, if this is the case. If this is in fact what has happened, it won’t come out of the ignition either, unless you yank it out with a considerable amount of force. Always remember to check your key before you insert it.
Your steering wheel is designed to lock itself when it is in a certain position, as an anti-theft measure. What this means is that if a car thief breaks into your car and hot-wires it, the steering wheel will lock itself and not turn unless the ignition key is placed inside.
Sometimes, the steering wheel may get locked before you insert it. As a result of this, it will not turn. What you need to do in such a situation is, move the steering wheel around a bit and simultaneously turn the ignition key. This will unlock the steering wheel and turn the key at the same time.
Replace the Key
On some occasions, the key may have developed a slight defect on its face, and this may prevent it from turning. Try using a spare one if you have, or get a duplicate one made and try that out instead. In all likelihood, the new key will work just fine. Changes in the weather and temperature and poor craftsmanship sometimes lead to this happening, and something as simple as a new key will solve the problem.
In some new car models, the ignition key will not turn in case the brake lights are out. This feature has been developed for the safety of people, and is a very useful one indeed. What you need to do is pull up the emergency brake and then try turning the key. If the car starts, drive to a repair shop immediately and get the brake lights fixed. Driving without brake lights is a traffic offense and it is illegal.
Similar to the brake lights situation, some new cars do not start unless the driver is wearing the seat belt. Earlier models had a beeping noise emanating from the dashboard if the seat belt is not worn, but this has been taken to a whole new level.
It may seem like a minor feature, and a rather annoying one at times, but it is for the safety of the person in the vehicle. If you own such a vehicle, put on the seat belt and then try turning the ignition key. The problem should be vanquished.
If all the aforementioned options fail, you will need to replace the entire ignition assembly altogether. This will be expensive, however cannot be avoided. You must stay calm and composed, and look for the best solution possible.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert advice.