Help! My Key Broke Inside Ignition, what do I do now?
Did your key break inside the ignition? Don’t panic! This happens all the time. First things first, if the key wedged itself too far into the ignition, do not try and remove the broken piece from the ignition. By trying to remove the key yourself, you could push the piece in deeper and make it a more complicated process for a professional to help.
In most cases, however, the key can be removed with a few sets of tools. But if the key is too deep in the ignition, you’re most likely going to have to replace the entire ignition.
Why does this happen?
There are many factors that can lead to your key breaking in the ignition. For instance, a damaged key might be your culprit as some drivers don’t pay attention to the condition of their key until it’s too late. And even if the key is slightly bent, it may have the risk of getting stuck in your ignition. Over time, your ignition key gets worn from being inserted and turned in the ignition many thousands of times.
Your ignition key can also become bent from the twisting force applied to it, especially if used as a tool. Therefore, all these wear-related conditions can cause your key to get stuck in the ignition lock’s internal mechanism. Using excessive force here could make the problem much worse. Here are some strategies you can use to extract the key broke inside ignition if you feel brave.
Quick Solutions Call for Quick Answers
Try gently wiggling the key by hand as you try to pull it out. Or apply some WD-40 or graphite between the key and the lock, if you can. If you do get the bad key out, try using your spare ignition key which should be in better condition. If all that doesn’t work, see an automotive locksmith or your mechanic for a permanent solution to your key problem. Be sure to get a replacement for the bad key so you have a spare in case this happens again.
Could it be another issue besides the key?
Ignition problems are very common. Over time, an ignition can wear out due to inserting a key that is slightly damaged, bent or worn out. This can cause the key to get stuck and lock the ignition completely. The inside of your ignition has several rows of spring-loaded pins that match up with your key when you insert it. This is what allows the key to turn and start the vehicle. The pins can get stuck or out of alignment, or the springs can stick and may weaken over time.
As a result, your key can get stuck when you least expect it. What’s more, if you live in colder climates, your locks may become still and make your key bendable and wear the key out over time with so much pressure.
What are my options?
Solving the issue isn’t really that complicated. In most cases, the key will break off in two pieces and can easily be removed with a pair of pointy tweezers. But if the key looks like it’s pushed in too deep, it’s better to wait on a technician to do the job for you.
When removing the broken piece yourself, it’s important to have a steady hand and try not to push the key any deeper than it already is. Worst case scenario, you might need to replace the old ignition switch if it got damaged in the process of removal. This service can cost you anywhere between $150-$300 depending on the locksmith and what he or she may need to do.