Why Won’t My Key Come Out Of The Ignition? (11 Reasons Why)

You’ve tried pushing the button, but nothing happens. Is your key just damaged, or is it stuck inside the ignition?

In some cases, fixing a key stuck in an ignition system can frequently take some time. At this time, we will explain why car keys often become caught in the ignition.

Why Won’t My Key Come Out Of The Ignition?

Your car keys are stuck in the ignition due to the activated steering wheel lock. Furthermore, if you have a dead battery, it may also cause your key to remain on the ignition circuit. In most cases, the root could be an engine mechanical failure issue, which prevents it from staying in the ignition when you hit the switch.

Let’s begin to identify why car keys are stuck on your ignition system, so tune in!

1. Stuck Steering Wheel

Even though steering wheel lock-up on newer car models is uncommon, it can happen. The most common reason for steering wheel locks while driving includes sudden turns with the power steering system.

As recommended, you can remove your foot from the stop pedal, push the start button twice, and move the steering wheel simultaneously.

If not properly executed, it will be impossible for you to turn the steering wheel and remove the key from the ignition.

2. Dead Battery

Car batteries are designed to keep your car running smoothly and efficiently. If you have a stuck key and your car’s battery is dead, it is because of a bad connection between two wires inside the battery that serves as the power source.

Furthermore, these two wires are called negative or ground wires, and they connect directly to each other via terminals on each side of the battery pack’s casing.

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In the event of a dead battery, the ignition mechanism will probably lock up. The key will then be impossible to remove from the ignition.

3. Mechanical Engine Failure

In most cases, when you have your car keys stuck in the ignition, it is because of a mechanical failure.

If the ignition is acting up, you might be able to get your car to start its engine, but it will often be running very slowly.

Subsequently, it occurs due to corrosion on the electrical circuit that powers the ignition system, preventing the proper flow of energy.

Overall, check for mechanical failure with your ignition switch. Try removing and reinstalling the key if it seems to be working correctly.

4. Broken Car Keys

Over time, car keys can sustain a lot of damage. Consequently, the key gets somewhat worn every time you spin it after inserting it in the ignition.

It is recommended that you put your car key on a hard-surfaced or leave it in your pocket while not in use.

As well as that, your car key will be of extended use when you practice taking care of it.

As you can see, when you’re trying to start your car with a key in an ignition lock and nothing happens, it’s not because there’s something wrong with that particular key.

5. Unset Parking Transmission

A parking transmission is a part of the ignition system that helps you move from park to reverse and back again.

Meanwhile, before removing a car key from the ignition switch, the transmission’s gear must always be in the “Park” mode.

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Therefore, the car gives you a signal that tells you when to go into each gear, but if the key is stuck on the ignition, it can’t do its job.

6. Dust And Corrosion On The Key

Dust And Corrosion On The Key

Another way that keys can become stuck in ignitions is if they get caught on something inside your car.

Furthermore, it could happen if your car has an oil catch pan under the hood or something inside is blocking your key from coming out of the ignition.

As a direct result, you may also have dirt or grit in your keyhole or around it, which can cause problems with getting your keys out.

7. Defective Ignition Cylinder

One ignition system component is the cylinder located on your vehicle’s driver’s side. The engine will stall if the ignition cylinder is defective and may cut off the power to the fuel and ignition systems.

Therefore, you won’t be able to eject your car keys, and they will be stuck inside the vehicle.

8. Engaged In Accessory Mode

While the engine is off, you can utilize your radio, windshield wipers, and other features in the accessory mode.

However, if you experience your key being stuck in the ignition, you should check for any accessories plugged into the lighter socket.

Otherwise, you may forget to remove them before starting the vehicle. If this is the case, simply unplug one of the accessories and try again!

9. Neutral Position Is Used

If you have a car with an automatic transmission, you’ll have to shift into neutral when you turn off your vehicle.

When keys are stuck, and there isn’t enough power going through the engine yet to get it started, the starter motor may stop turning when it gets up to speed.

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Under those circumstances, it can keep your ignition locked up with your key and prevent you from getting out of your vehicle.

10. Ignition Safety Switch

Numerous safety mechanisms have been added to keep the key from turning the ignition as cars become more electrical and sophisticated.

Known as the “starting switch.” Our car’s control system begins here, and it activates the car’s primary electrical system.

Inevitably, if the ignition safety switches malfunction, you won’t be able to start your car because of worn ignition contacts, temperature issues, or broken springs.

11. Damaged Wafers In The Ignition

In most cases, damage to wafers in the ignition can cause them to stick together and become jammed.

Additionally, the engine won’t start when the starter motor, ignition system, and other engine controls aren’t generating electricity from the ignition switch.

Automatically, your key will be stuck in this position once the engine has started because it will automatically not fit through the keyhole, preventing you from removing it.

To know more, you can also read our posts on Ford Focus key fob not working, why your ignition key is hot, and why your key fob doesn’t work after replacing the battery.


Indeed, an ignition switch is an essential piece of technology found in many modern cars.

Furthermore, jammed ignition key issues include a stuck steering wheel, a dead battery, and a faulty mechanical engine.

Ultimately, maintaining your car’s ignition system regularly will help you avoid ignition switch malfunctions!

1 thought on “Why Won’t My Key Come Out Of The Ignition? (11 Reasons Why)”

  1. My Routine will allow me to put my key into the ignition and drive and run but when I go to take the key out, it gets stuck. Sometimes it takes as long as an hour before it will release the fob, also, I sometimes have to start the car before it’ll release it.


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