What To Do When Your Key Is Stuck In The Ignition

You're heading home from work; you pull into the driveway, turn off the car and start removing the key out the ignition, there's just one problem — the key is stuck. If you find yourself in this scenario, don't panic, as there are some things you can do to get your key out and most importantly, avoid causing permanent damage to your ignition; here are some of these tips.

Wiggle the Key

One of the easiest things you can do to try and get your stuck key out is to wiggle the key. Just make sure you do so gently. If you tug too hard on the key, it could cause it to break off in the ignition.

If this step works, but you find yourself having to wiggle the key each time you need to remove it, you may want to have the ignition looked out to see if there is an internal problem as this should not be happening all the time.  

Adjust the Gear Shift

Car manufacturers design their vehicles with built-in safety mechanisms. One of these functions is a feature that prevents a car from turning off when the vehicle is not in the park position. If you can't get your key out of the ignition and your vehicle operates with an automatic transmission, it could be this feature that is causing the problem.  

Start by checking to see if you made have made a mistake in haste and left your car in the drive or reverse gear. If this is not the case and the vehicle is in the park gear, it could be that the gear is not pushed all the way forward. Move the gear around a little to see if this corrects the problem.

Rotate the Steering Wheel

Another mechanism vehicle manufacturers equip their vehicles with is a feature that prevents the cars from turning off whenever the steering wheel is turned too far to one side or another. For example, if the steering wheel is too far to the right, it will automatically lock and prevent you from removing the key from the ignition.

If you cannot get the key out, see if rotating the wheel back and forth helps. Since you can't tell which direction the steering wheel is turned too far in, you may need to rotate it back and forth.

If you can't seem to get your key out, it's important that you immediately stop your efforts. If you keep jarring at the ignition, you could cause significant damage. Pick up the phone and contact a locksmith, such as at Vista Lock & Safe Co.