Although this problem is pretty rare, if you do encounter this situation, then it’s best that you know how to address this auto issue as soon as possible. If your ignition key refuses to turn, don’t panic just yet and stop yourself from calling a tow truck right away. It’s highly probable that the problem is pretty minor.
First, are you sure you’re using the right key? If you own more than one automobile, then chances are you have a single key chain that houses all your car keys. A few years ago, my cousin called me up to tell me that her ignition won’t turn. I hurried over to her house only to find out, to my embarrassment and hers, that she was using her Chevy’s key for her Camry. While this mistake is pretty rare, it’s very much understandable, especially when you’re running late for something important.
If you have the right key but it won’t insert completely then inspect your key for signs of breakage. If you try turning your key when it’s not seated firmly, then it’s not going to turn. If you can’t insert the key fully, then chances are there is something inside your ignition switch that is obstructing your key’s movement. If you broke your key elsewhere then a missing tooth should stop it from turning as well. Locate a spare key and try using that instead.
Check if you have the right gear setting. As I mentioned in my previous post, most vehicles require your auto to be in Neutral or Park for it to start.
If your steering wheel is locked, then try to move the key into the On position and move your steering wheel to unlock it before starting your vehicle. Some ignitions and steering wheel columns lock in a precise manner that requires you to first “unlock” the wheel before you can start your car. If you can’t figure out how to unlock your steering wheel, consult your owner’s manual first.
If none of these steps work, then your auto problem may have something to do with how your auto is parked. Some ignitions lock up when your tires are turned a certain way or when they’re jammed against the curb. If you think this might be your problem, then follow these steps:
Step #1: Shift into the right gear. Park for automatic transmissions and Neutral for manual.
Step #2: Set the parking/hand brake. This would prevent your car from suddenly moving while you try to unlock your ignition.
Step #3: Once you’ve secured everything, give your steering wheel a hard yank. Not too hard though, because you might just end up damaging your auto’s steering mechanism. Give it a firm yank in the opposite direction of where your wheels are turned. This should also free up a locked steering wheel.
Step #4: Release or disengage your hand brake and try turning your steering wheel. If your steering wheel turns easily, then you’ve got the green light to try starting your car again.
Step #5: Try turning your ignition key.