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What To Do If Your Ignition Key Won’t Turn

Ignition Key in Tampa

It’s 6 in the morning and you already feel a pit of dread forming in your stomach. Why? You just put your key in the ignition and it won’t turn. That probably entails some expensive auto ignition repair and detailed work on the car’s electrical system, right? Well, not necessarily. If you’re having ignition difficult in your vehicle, you might not actually have to see a mechanic.

The first thing that you need to do is to determine if the problem is in fact the ignition switch or if it is the ignition key tumbler itself. The ignition key tumbler is the place in which you insert your car key; it then engages the ignition switch which is connected to the car’s battery. If your ignition – or starter switch – is not functioning properly, the key will turn but the car won’t start. In that case, you may need to see a mechanic for auto ignition repair (although first you may want to determine if a dead battery is actually at fault). However, if the key won’t turn properly, then your problem may be the ignition key tumbler – the lock itself.

If your car key won’t turn, the first thing that you want to do is try turning the steering wheel while continually applying pressure to the key. Newer cars often have mechanisms that prevent the key from turning if the steering column is in a “locked” position. Some cars even require that the steering column be turned in a particular direction in order for the key to operate properly. Although you will need to apply pressure continuously to the key while turning the steering wheel, do not force the key with other tools. After all, keys are made of relatively soft metal and using pliers or wrenches might cause the key to bend or break. You should also make sure that your car is in park; some cars won’t let you turn the key unless the vehicle is in park.

Once you’ve jiggled the steering wheel and checked that the vehicle is in park, you might want to try lubricating the lock. If you think there could be dirt inside the lock, you may consider applying electrical contact cleaner to clear the lock cylinder. Then, spray a lubricant on the ignition lock and attempt to reinsert and turn the key. It is a good idea to keep ignition key locks well-lubricated to decrease the possibility of future key difficulties.

If lubricating the lock does not solve the problem, then there might be a problem with the lock itself. Sometimes the lock pins can get stuck, thus preventing the insertion or turning of the key. Also, sometimes problems will arise if the key itself is damaged or bent. You may want to visually inspect your key for abnormalities that could prevent proper insertion or operation. If ultimately you determine that what you need is not auto ignition repair, but ignition key tumbler repair or ignition key replacement, you should seek out the services of a qualified automotive Locksmith in Orlando.

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