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Last Updated on September 17, 2023 by Showroomex Studio

Home » The car key got stuck in the ignition, What to do next?


Having your car key become stuck in the ignition can be a frustrating and unexpected experience. It can leave you feeling stranded and unsure of your next steps. However, before you panic or resort to drastic measures, it’s critical to remain calm and take a methodical approach to resolving the problem. This guide will walk you through the steps to take if your car key becomes stuck in the ignition.

The car key got stuck in the ignition, What to do next? step by step explained

1. Stay Calm

The first and most crucial step is to stay calm. Panicking can cloud your judgment and may lead to unnecessary damage to your vehicle. Take a deep breath, and remember that this situation can usually be resolved without too much trouble.

2. Ensure the Vehicle is in Park

Before attempting to remove the key, ensure that your vehicle is in the “Park” position. Sometimes, the key can get stuck if the car isn’t in the right gear. Jiggle the gear shift lever to make sure it is securely in the “Park” position.

3. Wiggle the Steering Wheel

Sometimes, the steering wheel can lock when the car is turned off, causing the key to become stuck. To release the steering wheel, insert the key and gently wiggle the steering wheel left and right while simultaneously trying to turn the key to the off position. This should free the key.

4. Lubricate the Keyhole

Dust and debris can accumulate in the keyhole over time, making it difficult to remove the key. Insert the key into the ignition after applying a small amount of graphite-based lubricant to it. Gently jiggle and turn the key to distribute the lubricant and free the key.

5. Use a Spare Key

If you have an extra key, test it to see if it works. Sometimes the problem is with the key rather than the ignition.

6. Battery Check

In some modern vehicles, a low or dead battery can cause the key to become stuck. Ensure that your car’s battery is in good condition. If the battery is dead, you may need a jump start or a replacement battery.

7. Seek Professional Help

If the above steps do not work and your key remains stuck, it is time to contact a professional locksmith or the roadside assistance provided by your vehicle’s manufacturer. They have the knowledge and tools to safely remove the key without damaging your vehicle.

8. Avoid DIY Methods

Avoid using force or attempting to remove the key with tools such as pliers or screwdrivers. These do-it-yourself methods may cause irreversible damage to your ignition and key.


A car key stuck in the ignition can be a stressful situation, but with a calm and systematic approach, you can safely and efficiently resolve it. Remember to remain calm, check the gear shift, wiggle the steering wheel, and lubricate the keyhole before contacting a professional. By following these steps, you can avoid further damage to your vehicle and quickly get back on the road.

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Mansoor Ali, a Feature Writer, embarked on his journey five years ago with, fueled by his enthusiasm for cars. Starting as an eager journalist, he quickly became a seasoned professional, expanding his expertise to cover both bikes and cars. (Full Bio)