Toyota Key Won't Turn in Ignition

by Anna Rose
man driving toyota avensis shot from above image by alma_sacra from

There are many possible culprits when your key will not turn in the ignition. Since you don't know you have an issue until it is time for you to go somewhere, this can be especially annoying. Toyotas, in particular, seem to have this problem.

Step 1

Insert your spare key in the ignition and try to turn it. Ignition keys wear down over time and may have trouble catching the tumblers in the ignition. You can order a spare key from a dealership with your Toyota VIN number. If this works, use the replacement key as your primary key going forward.

Step 2

Insert your key in the ignition and attempt to turn the steering wheel both to the left and to the right while applying pressure on the ignition with your key. If this works, no further action is necessary.

Step 3

Press the cover to the ignition slot back with your screwdriver and liberally spray lubricant into the ignition slot. The mechanism may just be stuck.

Insert your key and repeatedly attempt to turn it. If this works, you may want to consider replacing the ignition assembly because it will likely stick again in the future.


  • If none of these attempts work to free your ignition, you will likely need to replace the ignition assembly. You can do this yourself if your key will turn as far as "ACC". If not, removing the current assembly would best be done by a professional.


  • Do not try to force the key to turn. You could accidentally break a piece of the key off in the ignition.

Items you will need

  • Spare key
  • Spray lubricant (e.g. WD-40)
  • Flat head screwdriver

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