If you have been on many rides and adventures with your car, you might experience a sudden mishap one day when you are about to start your vehicle with a key ignition. There will come a time when you will have difficulty turning the ignition. It’s even worse if it happens on a very important occasion or a long ride where you are far from home and need to drive a long way.

Many drivers and car owners are stumped when something like this happens, and they don’t know how to solve the problem. If you try to start your car one day and it doesn’t work, here are some steps you could take to hopefully get your ignition to turn.

6 Things to Do When Your Key Doesn’t Turn Your Ignition

1. Check the Batteries

With newer cars being released in the market, advanced ignition systems do not allow you to turn the ignition should the car’s battery be drained. Because of this, you may want to check the status of your battery before anything else.

2. Jiggle the Steering Wheel and Gear Shift

Some cars have steering wheels that can get stuck in an orientation that locks the ignition, and others are designed to lock when the key is removed. Gently wiggling the steering wheel back and forth can be a solution to your ignition problem. The gear shift can also be a factor because some cars, especially those with automatic transmissions, need to be put in neutral or park before you can turn the ignition.

3. Lubricate the Ignition

Spraying the ignition with lubricant cleans the wafers inside and can remove any debris and dirt that might be preventing your key from turning. It is recommended to use a silicon-based lubricant instead of graphite and oil-based ones.

4. Jiggle the Key in the Ignition

If the lubricant doesn’t work, the next thing you could do is wiggle the key while in the ignition. Damaged lock wafers or jammed split wafers might be freed up with a gentle jiggle of the key. Should this work, go to the nearest locksmith without removing the key out of the ignition because this tactic usually only works once.

5. Try the Spare Key

If you have a spare key for your car, then you still have a tiny ray of light for your problem. Your regular key may be worn out due to the innumerable times it was pushed into and pulled out of the ignition. 

Another simple preventative tip is to remove heavy keychains dangling from your key while inserted because the added weight can lead to the wearing out of the key and wafers in the ignition.

6. Percussive Maintenance

After trying the previously mentioned ways to start your car, the last move you can attempt is to give your ignition a push or a hit. This must be only as a last resort. Pull out the key just about halfway before applying medium force to quickly slide the key inside the ignition. This is almost the same as jiggling the key but using a stronger force.

Contact the Nearest Automotive Locksmith

At this point, you have done everything you can, but unfortunately, your key still won’t turn the ignition. This is the time to call up an automotive locksmith service to fix the issue. Wait in your location for the car to be towed to a mechanic or dealer, and leave the rest to professionals!


A jammed car ignition can be a major problem, depending on your whereabouts. It is a good idea to include the ignition in your regular car maintenance service. If you’re stuck anywhere with a car you can’t start, you can call your trusted automotive locksmith to help with your ignition needs.

You can trust Allied Lock and Door for specialized locksmith services not only for your vehicles but for residential and commercial needs, too. Our quality door services, such as door repairs, door closer repairs, and access controls, can make you feel truly safe and secure inside your homes. Contact us today!