Why is my key sticking in the ignition?

Tiny
BPOE1954
  • MEMBER
  • CHEVROLET
My 2003 Blazer just started having this problem. I cannot get the key out. Have had to start vehicle every few hours so the battery does not die. Have tried disconnecting battery at night. Then I have serious problem starting vehicle. Takes 30-45 minutes for the Blazer to hold it's own idle. While locksmith "fixed" key issue the battery was disconnected only to have the same problem starting it back up. Had a locksmith change the key lock and got new keys. Worked great until I went across town then key is stuck in the ignition again. I could really use advice on what to have looked at. By the way I had a faulty air sensor replaced. Problem started just b-4. Had plugs checked and they are clean.
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Friday, January 5th, 2007 AT 10:36 PM

9 Replies

Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
By disconnecting the battery the computer loses it's short term memory I believe, That short term memory is specific to the way it is driven, the climate etc. It now may need to search for new criteria to make decisions. Tha MAY be the cause of the hard start.

Does it do this when the battery is left connected?

I understand with your key proble, you may not be able to answer that now. You need to address the ey problem first.

I believe there is a shift interlock solenoid and or a wiring problem very close to it that can cause this.
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Friday, January 5th, 2007 AT 10:57 PM
Tiny
BPOE1954
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My blazer is a 2003 6cyl with 71,677 miles. The vehicle has started everytime in the year I have had it, until the battery was disconnected. It has no problem starting when the battery stays connected. I live in Maine, but there by no means has been weather that would make a hard start 40-50 degrees today. When the locksmith left, it was fine in the driveway and then after driving, it stuck again. I just started Blazer to run for a few minutes and the dome light was bright but lightly flickering. Not going out, just weak enough to notice it was doing it. Could this be a battery issue as well? It is just barely at 14v. I've been told by a mechanic that it may have something to do with it. No commitment on a resolution, I am just grasping.
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Friday, January 5th, 2007 AT 11:41 PM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
What do you call hard start :
Does it cranks slowly or crank normal, just cranks longer than normal?

I have seen delco batteries fail in three years. That is what yours came with originally. On average batteries go 5 years. You would not be doing an injustice to replace the battery. Get a good one, I like interstate batteries.
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Saturday, January 6th, 2007 AT 6:08 AM
Tiny
MATHIASO
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" Why is my key sticking in the ignition?"
The ignition switch assembly is usually mounted a short distance down the steering column from the key lock cylinder assembly. An ignition switch actuator rod then connects the two assemblies. Turning the key moves a gear-and-rack assembly. The gear and rack assembly, in turn moves the ignition switch actuator rod and plunger to the various positions required for performing ignition switch functions.
Now coming back to the question, locksmith changed the key lock and got new keys but the problem still remain.
Take your car to a repair shop and ask them to check the switch actuator rod and plunger for proper return.
For other issues:
Many vehicle computers memorize and store vehicle operation patterns for optimal drivability and performance. When the vehicle battery is disconnected, this memory is lost.
Computers relearn procedure may be required.
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Saturday, January 6th, 2007 AT 11:23 AM
Tiny
BPOE1954
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Dissappointed about $ spent with locksmith, then still not work. At least I have new key and key lock. Just brought to repair shop, he basically said that he would have to dismantle steering column to get to parts inside the steering column. He did say that there is a little play in the automatic shift that is on the floor. I assume, hope, the mechanic will check the switch actuator rod and plunger while he has access to those parts. As far as the hard start, after the reconnection of the battery it turns over easily and starts fine, just won't stay running. While it is resetting itself, it takes 30-40 minutes to hold it's idle. Reving engine, to keep it going before it stalls. Without holding the gas it stalls. When it starts to hold idle it acts like it is a breath away from stalling. I think that is a hard start. Battery is fine had load test performed. The battery is actually a Interstate. Hoping I am on the right track, this is turning into the costly process of elimination.
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Saturday, January 6th, 2007 AT 12:10 PM
Tiny
MATHIASO
  • MEMBER
If a specific relearn procedure is not available, the following procedure may be used on vehicles equiped with automatic transmission:

1/ Set the parking brake and start the engine in P or N. Allow the engine to warm up untill the electric cooling fan cycles on.
2/Allow the vehicle to idle for about a minute in N possition, then move the gear selector into the D position and allow it to idle in gear for one minute.
3 Road test the vehicle. Accelerate at normal trottle openings( 20% - 50%) until the vehicle shifts into top gear.
4 Then maintain a cruising speed with light-to-medium throttle.
5/Decelarate to a stop, make sure you allow the transmission to downshift, and use the brakes to bring the vehicle to a stop.
6/ If driveability problem still exists, repeat the sequence.

* A vehicle computer may memorizes a vehicle's operation patterns for 40 or more key starts.
Ask your technician if there is a specific computer relearn procedure for your vehicle.
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Saturday, January 6th, 2007 AT 12:53 PM
Tiny
BPOE1954
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Blazer only has a hard time to stay running after reconnecting battery. Been told it is like short term memory loss, to relearn protocals. Otherwise runs fine, besides the key/ignition problem. Drivability is not impacted once the vehicle idles by itself. Back-up key the locksmith made works fine in doors and hatch. The key stuck in the ignition is the same key that stuck in it to begin with, recut to fit the new core, and modified tumblers? I am not a locksmith. By the advice I am getting, most seem to agree that it has something to do with the steering comumn.
That is at the very least narrowing down the area. Which, I am told, is an extreme case to have with the steering column. I am not disconnecting battery anymore, just starting it every 4 - 4 1/2 hours.
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Saturday, January 6th, 2007 AT 2:45 PM
Tiny
MATHIASO
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Let me know when you get your car back.
Obs! Next time, when you work on your car, before disconnecting the battery, have a small charger plug into your cigarette lighter. That will keep the memories of your computer alive.
They sell those things at auto part store
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Saturday, January 6th, 2007 AT 3:19 PM
Tiny
BPOE1954
  • MEMBER
Thank you for all your suggestions. I have to check into those cig light charger. Would that work overnight? A good nights sleep would be great. I appreciate the help. I am dropping Blazer off Wednesday. The locksmith recommended this repair shop and while I am on vacation the locksmith is going to check on the progress. They really don't have to but I think it is a matter of knowing for future situations. I will keep you posted of the outcome when I return. Thanks again
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Saturday, January 6th, 2007 AT 4:26 PM

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