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How to Get a Stuck Key Out of a Car

by Phillip Woolgar

Whether your key is stuck in your car's ignition or in the door, there are ways to get it out. Be gentle with your key because once it breaks, your job becomes a lot harder. You may even have to remove your steering wheel or door lock.

Turn your key fully to the left and fully to the right while gently jiggling it. Try to pull it out of the lock while jiggling.

Apply some grease or oil to the lock. Try spraying it to get into the grooves of the lock. Gently pull the key in and out at much as you can to push the grease into the crevasses of the lock.

If the key is out, apply more oil or grease onto the key and into the lock. Though you may be reluctant, put the key back into the lock and work the key inside by turning it from right to left. This oil or grease should keep the lock lubricated for several months. If the problem recurs, just re-apply the grease. Don't use Lithium grease since it can harm locks.

If your key is still stuck and you've been jarring it for a while, stop and let the key cool down for five minutes. Your body heat can make the key expand. You can also apply ice to the key for about 10 minutes to make the key contract.

Jiggle your steering wheel. You may have shut off your car engine while holding down your steering wheel, causing your wheels to move off line. The locking pin then put too much pressure on your key. Jiggling may realign your wheels and put your locking pin back in place.

About the Author

Phillip Woolgar has been a reporter since 2008 in communities throughout western Canada. His work has appeared in Canadian national publications such as the "Globe and Mail" and the "Vancouver Sun." In 2009, he received second-place recognition in the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association's Excellence in Arts and Culture writing category. Woolgar graduated from the Langara College Journalism Diploma program in 2008.

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