How to Fix an Ignition Key That Won't Turn

by Contributor

This common situation arises when the steering-lock mechanism binds, usually because the wheels are jammed against the curb.

Make sure the transmission is in park (for cars with automatic transmissions).

Set the parking brake to prevent the car from rolling farther against the curb.

Pull hard on the steering wheel while turning it in both directions. If this doesn't free the wheel, move on to step 4.

Release the parking brake and put the transmission in neutral. Let up on the foot pedal just enough to rock the car slightly.

Turn the steering wheel again. The key should turn now.


  • check To prevent the steering wheel from locking up, always set your parking brake, especially on hills.

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