Why Does Your Key Wont Go Into Ignition?

Has it ever happened to you that you wanted to put your key into the ignition and somehow it doesn’t go into it and your car doesn’t start? There can be numerous factors as to why your key wont go into the ignition.

You have to understand that keys and ignition in the car work just as simple lock and key model of your door or almirahs. There can be simple reasons such as a wrong key or something stuck into the ignition or can be complicated as an enabled safety feature.

Imagine if this happens when you are in a rush to attend some function or meeting and your car won’t start since the key wont go into the ignition. What can you do in such a situation to overcome the problem, Let’s find out.

Why Does Your Key Wont Go Into Ignition?

There are three possible permutations where your key won’t be able to start the ignition that is issued with the key itself or problems with supporting machinery or ignition lock cylinder issues. Let us dive into each case deeply.

Case 1: Issues With Key

1. Incorrect Key

There can be a certainty that you got the wrong key to start your car, in a rush, you always forget to keep yourself calm and due to this you lose your sane mind and that would lead to putting the wrong key into the ignition lock of your car. And when it won’t go inside you start to panic. So first of all check whether your key is the same key that is used for that ignition only.

2. Worn Out Key

Whenever your key is worn out it won’t enter the ignition then you may have to switch your key. If you have a spare key try using that key and if not try making another key using VIN (vehicle identification number). VIN is found on the driver’s side windshield or inside the door jamb. Contact your dealership and give him that VIN to make a new key.

3. Keys Are Bent

Bent keys can sometimes enter the ignition cylinder, but if it is not lined up correctly it won’t let the car start itself. If you can visually tell that your key is bent at some level then you have to use a nonmetal hammer and carefu lly flatten it down, do it so that the key is not damaged at any level. Now try to put your key back to the ignition cylinder and check if it goes inside now or not

4. Some Dirt Particle Making Key Inefficient

A lot of times we don’t imagine but debris enters the key and sticks there this makes the key a different kind of shape which is not visible by naked eyes but is obviously going to make a difference when it does inside the ignition cylinder it won’t be the same pattern and it could be stuck there. To avoid this circumstance just clean up your keys regularly which will prevent dirt accumulation and will help the key to revive its original shape.

Case 2: Problems In Ignition Cylinder

The ignition cylinder is the part where you enter the key of your car to start your car. Listed below are the two most common problems that can cause the key not to turn inside the ignition cylinder.

1. Blockage In Ignition Cylinder

Any obstruction inside the ignition cylinder won’t let the key turning the ignition properly. To check for some hindrance you can look inside the key cylinder. Occasionally when a key cylinder has completely failed you will see metal debris inside, but normally there are dust particles accumulated which may be causing the blockage. Try to clean the ignition cylinder if you spot out some debris do it really carefully you don’t want to damage any portion of the ignition cylinder while cleaning that.

2. Stuck Springs And Pins

There are pins and springs inside the key cylinder that allows the unique shape of your key to get inside and let it turn so that only your key will work to turn on your car. If there are any stuck pins or springs inside, you can feel something wrong while entering the key. You can slowly tap the outside of the key ignition with a small hammer, which will help to loosen any jammed pins or springs.

Case 3: Related Component Problems

Components related to your ignition system can also be the culprits causing your car key to not turn in the ignition cylinder to learn how?

1. Steering Wheel Jamming

A lot of vehicles have this function where the key locks the steering wheel from turning. Because of this function, whenever the steering gets stuck, the key will also be stuck there and cannot move. You can try jiggle the steering wheel side by side and also simultaneously attempt to turn the key to remove it from the cylinder.

2. Issue In Gear Selector

Some vehicles do not allow the key to turning unless the car is in a neutral position. If the vehicle is in this situation, then try to shake the shifter slightly to make sure it is in the right position and try again to turn the key.

What To Do In Such Situation?

To overcome this situation there are the following things you should do:

  1. Turn the steering wheel side to side and at the same time try to turn the key inside the cylinder
  2. Repair the key by slightly hammering it on both sides and cleaning up the debris accumulated.
  3. Replace the key with a newer one if the repair is not possible using the VIN.
  4. Clean the ignition cylinder from inside and try to not damage the interiors while cleaning.
  5. Lubricate the lock and try putting the key back into the ignition again.


Now you know the reasons as to why your key wont go into ignition cylinder and also what to do if you are stuck in such situations. If your problem is still unsolved then you must call a mechanic to come and visit your car and he will tell you what is the problem with your car’s ignition or key.

You are welcomed to write your comments about the blog, or you can even share your experience if you have had such a problem with your car.

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