2005 Pontiac Grand Am Key will not turn.

Tiny
JULIE519
  • MEMBER
  • 2005 PONTIAC GRAND AM
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 85,000 MILES
My key wont turn in the ignition, the transmission is in Park and the car will not roll, but the steering wheel is NOT locked. Cannot shift out of park either.

Read the manual and saw a section that mentioned a Transaxle (?Spelling) that can freeze up when the car is still moving while shifting into park and turning off the key.

In my case, I was sitting in a parking stall for a full 30 seconds while the engine idled in drive. I attempted to turn off the engine but couldn't because I hadn't shifted into park yet. I have done this on several occasions and each time I simply shifted into park, then turned off the key and set the parking brake.

I've never had any type of trouble with regards to turning the key or shifting in or out of any gears.

My son thinks that possibly the tumbler in the ignition may be the trouble since both my husband and I have key chains that have 8 - 12 keys, 'double' key rings that disconnect in the miiddle and the factory remote keyless entry device for this car.

We don't have money to spend on costly diagnostics and repairs, but we need the car and must fix it fast.

Any ideas on what the most likely cause is and the best way to get it fixed on a tight budget?

ANY ADVISE WHATSOEVER WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED! PLEASE HELP~

Thanks,
Julie A. Olea
Upland, California
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Saturday, December 20th, 2008 AT 7:43 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
  • EXPERT
There are 4 things that I see over and over again, that keep an ignition lock cylinder from turning.

1.
The steering wheel lock is under pressure.

When you turn off your car and remove your key.
A spring loaded post sticks up in to one of many holes in the steering wheel.
This locks the steering wheel in place, making your car harder to steal, because a bad guy cant turn the steering wheel if they somehow get your car started without the key.

But this can also keep you from turning the ignition lock.
If the steering wheel is under pressure because your front wheels are against a curb, or you have the wheel cranked all the way to one side or the other. The pressure from the steering wheel on the spring loaded post keeps you from being able to turn the key.

So while trying to pull the steering wheel one direction or the other, try to turn the key, this may solve your problem.

2-A.
The pins are not falling into place.

You kinda need to know how a lock works for this part.
Look at a key and you will see there are different depth cuts in it.
Those different cuts correspond with different length pins in the lock cylinder.
See how the red pins are of different length?
But with the key inserted, they are all even with the blue pins.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/281878_Pin_tumbler_with_key1_1.jpg



When the red pins are held in the correct position by the correct key, the spring loaded blue pins are flush with the outer housing of the lock, and the red pins are flush with the inner cylinder of the lock
And thus the inner cylinder can be rotated.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/281878_250pxPin_tumbler_unlocked1_1.png



If debris such as pocket lint, ear wax, or just plain old dirt gets into the pins and causes enough friction for the spring loaded blue pins to not be able to push the red pins back in place.
Then the red pins will be partially stuck in the hole for the blue pins and the cylinder can not turn.

Putting the key in the lock and then tapping on it with a small hammer may help until you have the chance to have the lock cleaned.

Do a search for the word "bump key" if you want to know more about how a lock cylinder works.

2-B.
The same goes for if a key is worn out.
If a key is badly worn, then it will not put the red pins in the correct spot and some of the pins will keep the cylinder from turning.

If your key is worn out, try a spare if you have one.
Or put the key in and "Jiggle" it while trying to turn the lock.

3.
A problem with the interlock cable from the gear selector to the lock cylinder. Make sure you are completely in park.
You pretty much have to take things apart and visually inspect it to verify this problem.

4.
A mechanical problem with the linkage from the lock cylinder to the electrical part of the ignition switch.

good luck
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Thursday, December 25th, 2008 AT 5:34 PM
Tiny
JULIE519
  • MEMBER
Thanks for your reply. I went over the list you created and this is the outcome.

. The steering wheel & tires aren't under pressure.

2-A. There seems to be no issue with the car key itself. We have several copies and none will work.

2-B Same outcome as in 2-A. Key is Okay.

3. We removed the center console to get a closer look at the shifting mechanism. We made sure that the shifter was completely in 'Park'. Still no change.

4. This is the only item listed that hasn't been explored so we will do so and see how thinks look.

I will update you when we have taken a look at the linkage as described in item #4 of your reply e-mail.

Thanks again, Julie A. Olea (califorina)
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Friday, December 26th, 2008 AT 4:47 AM
Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
  • EXPERT
I believe that you should remove the lock cylinder and switch as stated in this thread
http://www.2carpros.com/forum/ignition-steering-wheel-locking-mechanism-etc-vp434696.html
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Friday, December 26th, 2008 AT 4:18 PM
Tiny
JULIE519
  • MEMBER
My husband dismantled the console and found the shifter moved freely.

So he removed the ignition assembly from the dash.

Any advice on the most economic source for the replacement parts and do you have any pointers that would be helpful as we proceed?

Thanks,
Julie Olea
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Friday, January 2nd, 2009 AT 12:17 PM
Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
  • EXPERT
You have a response in this thread
http://www.2carpros.com/forum/ignition-steering-wheel-locking-mechanism-etc-vp434696.html
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Friday, January 2nd, 2009 AT 5:53 PM

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