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The Ignition Key Is Hard to Turn: What Is Wrong?

by Michael Scarn

Ignition keys come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the make and model of vehicle you drive. When you encounter difficulty in turning an ignition key, it can be due to the wheel lock being engaged, the key being deformed or malfunctions inside the steering column.

The Car's Wheel Lock is Engaged

A wheel lock is engaged when the car is in park, turned off and the steering wheel is turned a slight amount. It prevents car thieves from steering the car if they get it started.

The Car's Key Is Bent or Chipped

A key that is either bent or has chipped teeth will be difficult to use in the ignition because it does not correctly fit the ignition switch anymore. Consider replacing the key at either a local hardware store or your local authorized dealer depending on whether your key has any electronics embedded in it or not.

The Steering Column Has Malfunctioned

Your car's ignition is a part of the overall steering column. If the rods connecting the steering wheel to the ignition are loose, missing screws or bent, you will have difficulty turning the key when it is inside the ignition.

About the Author

Michael Scarn is a legal, automotive, fitness, business and aviation writer. He has been a professional writer since 2006. Scarn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Brigham Young University as well as a Master of Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate—both from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

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Photo Credits

  • Microchiped Car Key image by Christopher Meder from Fotolia.com