When your vehicle's ignition and key fail to work properly, it can leave you in panic mode! Nobody looks forward to a situation that can cause them to become stranded.
However, before you panic, there are several reasons why this could occur. Start with the easiest scenarios and work your way up to find a solution to your ignition problem. More often than not, it is an easy fix!
Did you unintentionally try and start someone else's car?
Ok, this may sound dumb, but it happens! People do actually try to start the wrong car. The average car key has a few hundred thousand possible combinations. While it is unlikely, you actually can unintentionally unlock someone else's car door. However, once you access the car, chances are you will not be able to turn it on, due to another security measure built into the vehicle's ignition.
This problem could occur in a busy parking lot where there may be similar cars to your own. Make sure you are trying to start the right vehicle before checking for other issues.
Locked Steering Wheel/Ignition Key & What You Can Do to Unlock Them
Locking your steering wheel can easily happen and is easily fixed. The ignition is mechanically connected to your steering wheel lock. This is for safety reasons, should a thief try to steer the car without the key.
When a person turns their car off with the steering wheel turned, or tries to turn the wheel after the car has been turned off, the wheel and the ignition key can lock up.
To unlock them, simply reinsert your key and slowly turn it in the direction you normally would to start the car, while slowly turning the wheel in the only direction it will allow you. This will typically unlock the steering wheel.
Check your ignition for dirt or debris.
The inside of cars can collect a lot of debris over time. It is possible these particles can get into your ignition and cause problems turning the key. Check to see if there is any visible debris in your ignition. If you can remove it manually by using your hands or blowing gently, go for it.
If you are still having trouble dislodging the dirt or debris, you can try compressed air. Get a can of compressed air, usually used for cleaning computer keyboards, and spray it into the ignition.
Damaged/Worn Out Key or Ignition Cylinder
When it comes down to it, your car is a mechanical system and mechanical things tend to break or wear down over time. This is true for both mechanical keys and key cylinders. After inserting and removing your ignition key thousands of times over years, things can be worn out and stressed.
After some time, the key may fail to turn or fall out of the cylinder completely. Turn to a professional to replace your damaged parts. Damaged keys can be easily replaced by using a professional like Cheap Lock & Key to cut a new one. Damaged ignition cylinders can need replacement and should also be done so by a qualified professional, such as us.
When replacing your mechanical systems, it is important to get a newly matched lockset that includes both the door and trunk cylinders.
Have Cheap Lock & Key replace your ignition cylinder and mechanical keys.
When all else fails, replacing the ignition cylinder and keys are the best course of action. It ensures the mechanical functions will be back to proper working order, and it will be a more permanent fix.
If you have more questions on your vehicle's ignition system and mechanical keys, or you are in need of an ignition cylinder or key replacement, talk to a local locksmith company like Cheap Lock & Key! You can contact us at (813) 545-5462.