Next to experiencing a car lockout a vehicle ignition repair, it’s the worst scenario for any car owner since it appears to happen at the wrong time. Let’s say you head out to your vehicle to go to work or do an important errand, you put your key in the ignition, but it won’t turn the starter. What do you do? Call ghostbuster! No, just kidding.

The ignition cylinder comes with wafers and those wafers bend, split and break after some time. You usually get some warning signs such as the dashboard turning off or flickering while you’re driving or vehicle stalls. However, like many people, you’ve disregarded the warnings until it’s too late.

Before calling an Orlando locksmith there are a few things you can do when your starter won’t turn from the easiest to the most difficult steps.


Wiggle the Steering Wheel

car steering wheel

Many steering columns lock when the driver removes the key. The steering wheel can end up stuck in the parked position which consequently locks the starter. So, wiggle the steering wheel back and forth smoothly while turning the key to check whether this takes care of the issue. If this gets the job done, you don’t have a starter or key issue, only the steering wheel had locked up.

Check the Gear Shift

A few vehicles, with automatic transmissions, won’t allow the key to turn the starter if the vehicle isn’t in park or neutral gear. Try wiggling the gear shift to guarantee it is in the right position and after that try the key once more.

Battery Dead

jumper cables for car battery

In all honesty, some modern vehicles with advanced ignition systems won’t allow the key to turn the starter if your vehicle has a dead battery. Check the vehicle’s battery with a voltmeter or check whether your vehicle lights turn-on.

Pro Tip: If you can get your starter to turn using the above techniques, call a local locksmith to fix the underlying issue that will cause you a big headache further ahead. Don’t avoid seeing a locksmith since you figure the issue will disappear or get solved on its own. You just avoided a lockout this time yet get it fixed as quickly as possible to avoid higher costs. The issue isn’t going away as it will just worsen and one day it will leave you stranded with groceries or worse.

Try your Spare Key

If you have a spare key, attempt to use it. This test will determine whether the main key doesn’t work. When your extra key turns the ignition, then you know your main key has become obsolete. Take your vehicle to a locksmith shop or better yet they’re mobile today and get a duplicate of the spare key as soon as possible. Therefore, this preventative step will one day save you from a big headache.

Us a Silicon-Based Spray in the Lock

Atlantic oil spray

If the spare key didn’t turn the starter, think about the ignition as the issue. Try spraying some silicon-based lock lubricant like Triflow into the starter and it also works for entryway locks too.

The Triflow lubricant will clean the wafers and get any debris and dirt out that causes a sticking ignition or the impediment that keeps your key from turning. Try not to use oil-based items or graphite. Although these may take care of the issue, oil-based products will gather dirt and graphite will clog up after some time, so the issue will return.

Shake the key in the Ignition

If the lubricant didn’t fix the issue and you have removed the key to cleaned and lubricated the starter. Then, try to jiggle the key in the lock. If the lock wafers have minor damage or the split wafers have gotten stuck, the jiggling may free them enough to get the key to turn the starter. If you get the stuck ignition to turn, go directly to a locksmith to get it fixed. Try not to remove the key since the technique may only work once.


Hit It

Mercedes Benz ignition repair

If all your other methods fail, hit it since the situation can’t get worse so it merits an attempt. However, try the above options first since they may work, and you won’t damage your vehicle ignition.

For the strategy to work you have to insert the key all the way into the starter, or perhaps leaving the key out a ¼ inch. Use the blunt end of a screwdriver or with the handle of a hammer tap the key with medium power to slide the key into the ignition rapidly.

In this strategy, you are attempting to free up any damaged or stuck wafers by an impressive force. Similar to shaking the key yet with substantially more force. Remember, if you’re not 100 percent% sure call a professional to fix the ignition issues before you damage your ignition cylinder!