THE KEY WOULD NOT TURN IN THE IGNITION

  • Tiny
  • hill311
  • 2001 Saturn L100
  • 110,000 miles

I have a 2001 Saturn L100. At the gas pump, the key would not turn in the ignition. The steering wheel is locked into place, with maybe 1 inch of play. I have tried jiggling the key and the steering wheel. I have tried jiggling and turning the steering wheel as far as it will go in each direction. I went and manually depressed the gear shifter, so I could put it into neutral to push it away from the gas pumps.

The key nor the wheel would turn even then. I am guessing that possibly the ignition switch could have went bad, but it was working perfectly fine. Maybe it could also be due to the steering being locked. Is there a way to unlock the steering wheel or any other ideas?

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Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 AT 2:49 AM

9 Replies

  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
  • Expert
  • 29,290 posts

Heres my idea to get you home but you will have to replace the ignition cylinder its a common issue on those cars. Remove the ignition cylinder bezel it just pops off. Then take a hammer and little tap on the key hole opening then the key should turn.I have done it many times and very rarely did my trick not work. Let me know how it works.

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Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 AT 2:55 AM
  • Tiny
  • hill311
  • Member

Going to go back up there and see if that does anything. The bezel is the part that says ACC, etc?

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Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 AT 3:02 AM
  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
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  • 29,290 posts

Correct it just pops right off it should work you will just have to replace the cylinder. Its pretty easy to replace once it turns.

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Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 AT 3:07 AM
  • Tiny
  • hill311
  • Member

I had already taken the bezel off. When I had tapped it before I have never even thought about tapping the actual key hole spot. I tapped it a few times gently and it then turned over with ease. What exactly does tapping it do? Reset the tumblers that were possibly sticking?

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Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 AT 3:31 AM
  • Tiny
  • hill311
  • Member

O by the way I tapped it without the key inside the ignition. I just tapped the ignition itself with the hammer head flush with the key entry point.

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Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 AT 3:33 AM
  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
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  • 29,290 posts

You did it right what tapping it does is frees the tumblars that were sticking. Over time the brass fileings jamb tumblars up.I hope your going to change it now?

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Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 AT 3:41 AM
  • Tiny
  • hill311
  • Member

I will attempt to replace it tomorrow, before work. If not then, it will have to wait till Sunday. Would some graphite lube work for a temp solution if I had to wait till Sunday? I appreciate the help a ton. I cant believe that I did not think of tapping it there, when I tapped it everywhere else. Lol

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Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 AT 3:44 AM
  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
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  • 29,290 posts

Dont feel bad about not tapping on the key hole not everyone knows or thinks of everything. You can try some powdered graphite for now.I doubt you will find a ignition cylinder tomorrow. Its not a common part stocked you may have to order it. In the mean time carry a hammer in the car.

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Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 AT 3:56 AM
  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
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Also make sure when you remove the old cylinder you clean out all the brass filings out before installing the new cylinder. Also lube the new cylinder before installing it.

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Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 AT 4:19 AM

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