Discovering that your ignition key will not turn your car’s ignition is typically one of the most frustrating things. Worst of all, this almost always happens in situations where you are in a rush to get somewhere. Amidst this frustration, most people end up trying to put an end to the problem through guess-work solutions.
More often than not, such irrational solutions cause more harm than good. For instance, forcing the key to turn the ignition despite failing continuously might result in the key breaking. Instead, the first step to dealing with such a situation is to diagnose where the issue might be coming from. While there are some cases that you might solve by yourself, others will require the professional intervention of a locksmith.
Here are some reasons why your key might fail to turn:
Problems With the Key
The key will turn the ignition of your vehicle as long as it matches perfectly with the ignition pins. Here are some situations where the key might be the problem:
- You Have a Bent Key – A bent key might still fit into the ignition, but it might not turn it. Pay attention to your key and look for any physical inconsistencies. In case you notice that it is bent, you can use a non-metallic hammer to straighten it back.
The most preferred hammers would be wood or rubber as they cause little to no harm to the ignition key. Hit the key gently till you feel that it is straight enough before trying to turn the ignition. If this fails, it is wise to call your automotive locksmiths to help you out. Unlike getting the ignition key from a dealership, the automotive locksmiths will come to you, which can be a lifesaver if you are in a remote place.
- Worn Out Keys – With time your keys are bound to wear out due to constant use. This is most common in aging or antique vehicles. You can try using a spare key to open the vehicle. If you do not have a spare key, then you can replace the key with your dealership.
Simply look for the VIN (vehicle identification numbers) of your car and send it to them to get a new set of keys. If your ignition key have a serial number, sending them this number will be enough. Alternatively, you can also have a locksmith come to your rescue.
Ignition Cylinder Problems
There are cases where the key might not be the issue, and paying attention to the cylinder might also help. Here is how the ignition cylinder might be the culprit:
- The Ignition Springs Are Jammed – The springs and spins within your ignition will need to match perfectly with your key. While they might match perfectly, having a stuck spring will mean that the ignition key won’t manage to turn the lock as it appears not to match the ignition pins. In such cases, tapping the ignition area with a tack hammer will help to loosen the springs.
However, you should only do so gently to avoid causing more harm. After a few taps, you should proceed to try restarting the car.
- Obstruction in the Cylinder – Once there is an obstruction within the ignition cylinder, it becomes tough for the ignition key to turn. This obstruction might come from metallic debris from the car or the accumulation of dust particles. Use a flashlight to detect any visible obstructions within the cylinder.
You can then use compressed air or an electric cleaner to clean the cylinder. Be sure to follow the precautions written in the equipment packages to avoid getting harmed. For instance, wear safety glasses to avoid having the debris getting into your eyes. Once you successfully remove the debris, the ignition key should slide right into the cylinder and turn the ignition.
Solving ignition problems is all about being gentle with how you approach the situation since being too rough will ruin your ignition cylinder. You will typically need to assess the situation before doing anything. In case you feel that identifying the problem with your ignition might be tough, then contacting an auto locksmith is wise. Would you like to have the ignition keys to this 1950 GMC 100? I sure would.