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How to Fix a Car Key that Won't Turn

How to Fix a Car Key that Won't Turn

How to fix a car key that won't turn? If you work in the lock and key industry for any amount of time, you're going to get calls with customers saying, "My key won't turn. I need help." The good news is that you will help them by knowing the main reasons why this happens and how to fix them.



Establish that the key they're using is the right key. For example, you have two different mailbox keys for a house mailbox and an office mailbox. They use the same key, so sometimes you think you are using the right one or handed a key to one of your kids to open the mailbox, and it doesn't work. Well, it's because they look just about identical. So, you want to eliminate those nuances when it comes to the key not working.


  1. Locked steering wheel

The most popular reason is the steering wheel is locked. Simple, but it happens a lot. It might have gotten you several times. In this case, all you need to do is wiggle it a little bit. Most of the time, if it's locked, it's going to feel like you're on a bumper car and hitting. It'll go ding, ding, ding, ding, and you're going back and forth.


  1. The lock is cold or dirty

The cold or dirty lock might not turn. An Exterior door lock, tailgate lock, or trunk lock can get gummed up or frozen. The good news is all it needs is a little bit of lubricant. A squirt of Houdini in it, run the key in and out a bunch of times, and then spray it a few more times to get everything lubricated up. And in many cases, it's a good idea to sell your customer a can of Houdini to help them keep their locks working well.


  1. The key and/or the wafers in the lock are worn

This third reason is more complicated to deal with. It mostly happens on Honda high-security locks, especially the ignitions. Essentially, what happens is the wafers wear way quicker than the key does, causing the key to not turn all of a sudden.


To solve this, identify if the key is worn or if the ignition is worn. Because if you've determined that the key is worn mainly by sight, then at that point, you can either decode the key. You can decode the lock using a Lishi tool and give the customer a new code cut key.


But if the key looks pretty good and doesn't look like it's worn beyond, it's going to be the lock. At that point, one way or another, you're going to have to get that lock turned over, get it pulled out and apart. It could be a damaged, broken, or bent wafer from abuse, or it could even need a whole new lock.


These are the three reasons I've found why a car key won't turn. I'd love to know what you think and what your experience is. Please share it in the comment section of our YouTube video, and make sure that you include the #LockBoss to automatically get entered in to win one of five free prizes we give away each week on YouTube. Thank you for watching, and I will see you next time. 

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