Ignition Switch Jammed

Step by step guide on how to repair an automotive ignition switch that wont turn.

Difficulty Scale: 2 of 10

Step 1 - All vehicles have a steering wheel lockout safety device that will not allow the steering wheel to turn when the key is in the "OFF" position.

Ignition Switch
Step 2 - Vehicles equipped with power steering utilize a pump which maintains pressure while the engine is running. If the front wheels are turned when the engine is shut off, the system loses pressure and forces the steering against the lockout pin.

Wheels Turned
Step 3 - In this case grasp the steering wheel and apply pressure in the same direction as the wheels are turned, the pin will be relieved allowing the ignition key to be turned.

Turn Wheel and Key
Step 4 - Due to the nature of a lock, internal components can wear causing the lock to stop operating. In this case the ignition lock must be replaced.

Helpful Information

In extreme conditions such as high mileage or a key chain adorned with many ornaments the ignition key can wear causing the key not to work. If the door key is same as the ignition key, the door tumbler can be removed and copied if no frequency chip is installed.

Dirt and debris inside the key lock can cause the tumbler assembly to stick and jam, not allowing one or more of the key followers to operate. To service a key lock tumbler, spray pressurized air along with an aerosol cleaner into the lock assembly, once clean apply a light lubricant to the tumbler.

Vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission utilize an interlock cable that prevents the transmission to be moved from the park position. Though rare, if the gear shift selector is not completely in park it can cause the ignition switch to jam.

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