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Ignition key won't turn (sometimes)

 
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Old 25 Aug 2018, 09:45 am
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Default Ignition key won't turn (sometimes)

Starting yesterday, my ignition key sometimes will not turn (sometimes). I don't think it is the key, because I have two keys, and neither works when this happens. So far, I can get it to work again by playing with it.

Will spraying some WD-40 in the ignition lock help? Or is there delicate electronics in there that the WD-40 would mess with? The car has a "smart key", and I'm not sure how a smart key works.

Thanks in advance for any and all advice or insights.
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Old 25 Aug 2018, 10:13 am
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Default Re: Ignition key won't turn (sometimes)

Here's what we need to know:

Does the key itself turn freely in the ignition?

Do the dash lights come on when you turn the key but then the engine does not turn when you key the key to start?

Does everything work and the engine turns, but just doesn't start.

Or is the car just dead with no lights coming on when you turn the key?
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Old 25 Aug 2018, 11:00 am
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Default Re: Ignition key won't turn (sometimes)

Personally, I wouldn't use WD-40 in a lock. I do use Lock-Ease once a year, in the fall, on all my locks. A couple of drops on the key and then work the key in the lock a few times. After lubing the lock I have to wipe off the key and dab any off the face of the lock, as Lock-Ease is a light oil with graphite. I've done this for a few decades now and never had a problem with a lock.

This is if the key is physically not turning.

I recently got some spare keys made for a Neon and encountered a problem. With the one spare key, I had to insert the key fully, then pull it back ~1/16" to get it to turn. Something with that key allowed it to overshoot the tumblers. Perhaps something in the lock is allowing the key to overshoot the tumblers. Try easing the key back when it doesn't turn and see it that will allow it to turn.
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Last edited by RickinPA; 25 Aug 2018 at 11:05 am.
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Old 25 Aug 2018, 11:04 am
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Default Re: Ignition key won't turn (sometimes)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Handy_Cruiser View Post
Here's what we need to know:

Does the key itself turn freely in the ignition?

Do the dash lights come on when you turn the key but then the engine does not turn when you key the key to start?

Does everything work and the engine turns, but just doesn't start.

Or is the car just dead with no lights coming on when you turn the key?
As I mentioned (both in the title of my original post as well as in the body of the post), ignition key won't turn. I thought I was clear, I guess not.

So, here it is again: the ignition key will not turn. It is as if I had the wrong key. If I fiddle with it, I can get it to turn. If this was a door lock in my home with these symptoms, I would just spray some WD-40 in the lock. But it is not a lock in my home, I understand the ignition key is a "smart key". I need to know whether WD-40 can be used, or does the ignition system have electrical connectors touching the key?
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Old 25 Aug 2018, 11:12 am
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Default Re: Ignition key won't turn (sometimes)

The transponder key uses a link by radio waves, much like an RFID tag. The key contains a "chip" and the antenna is molded into a ring at the lock face, just behind the column shroud.
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Old 25 Aug 2018, 11:14 am
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Default Re: Ignition key won't turn (sometimes)

Do not spray with WD-40. When you insert the key it moves a small pin that allows the barrel to turn, or at least that's my understanding. Your pin is perhaps slightly bent, that's why 'fiddling' with will work. I'm not sure if this is repairable or needs a new barrel. Someone else will know.
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Old 25 Aug 2018, 11:15 am
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Default Re: Ignition key won't turn (sometimes)

Put pressure on the key like trying to turn it.

while still applying rotating pressure, Tap the back of the key with something. It will turn instantly.

here i made a video a while back.
click: https://photos.app.goo.gl/abzlw7y2lwx0mOyA3
it's only a few seconds long. very "to the point", no useless talking, etc.


from this thread: Dry Ignition Cylinder <- post #5 in that thread i seem a little aggravated, like you. Lmao
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Last edited by rob302; 25 Aug 2018 at 12:08 pm.
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Old 25 Aug 2018, 12:18 pm
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Default Re: Ignition key won't turn (sometimes)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunestrider View Post
As I mentioned (both in the title of my original post as well as in the body of the post), ignition key won't turn. I thought I was clear, I guess not.

So, here it is again: the ignition key will not turn. It is as if I had the wrong key. If I fiddle with it, I can get it to turn. If this was a door lock in my home with these symptoms, I would just spray some WD-40 in the lock. But it is not a lock in my home, I understand the ignition key is a "smart key". I need to know whether WD-40 can be used, or does the ignition system have electrical connectors touching the key?
Okay. Then the problem is likely in the key cylinder itself. Using WD-40 will not hurt because the electronic switch is on the left side of the column and is only connected to the cylinder by a plastic rod.

If me I'd first try to turn the key while moving the steering wheel back and forth. Sometimes, the steering wheel lock will get caught in a bind and stop the key from turning. This happens often on my highly slanted driveway if my steering wheel is turned somewhat.

If no joy I'd try using a lubricant like WD-40. If that works, follow it up with a thicker lubricant like machine oil.

If no joy, I'd remove the cover on the steering column. There's only a few screws. Then I'd remove the cable from the bottom of the key cylinder and see if that allows the key to turn freely. I'd also remove the electric ignition switch from the left side of the column and make sure it's not binding up.
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Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 25 Aug 2018 at 12:21 pm.
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Old 25 Aug 2018, 12:53 pm
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Default Re: Ignition key won't turn (sometimes)

Have you tried slightly turning the steering wheel back and forth when this happens? Mine used to do it when I parked the car with the wheels turned slightly, ie right after parking.
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Old 25 Aug 2018, 12:59 pm
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Default Re: Ignition key won't turn (sometimes)

NO machine oil! Graphite spray or dust for any locks, graphite is a dry lube
. Oil will attract dust and dirt.
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Last edited by JoeX; 26 Aug 2018 at 02:46 am.
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