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  #1  
Old 04-15-2006, 07:17 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is offline
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My key won't turn the ignition in my car. What happened?

My wife stopped to get gas today. Everything was fine with the car when she stopped. After getting back in the car, she put the key in the ignition and it won't turn. She and I have wiggled the steering wheel and the tow truck guy tried a few things, but it doesn't work. By the way, to my knowledge, the car does not have a computer chip inside the key for security. It's a 2000 Chevy Cavalier.

We tried all three keys we have to the car. Now, I've had cars where you sometimes have to wiggle the steering wheel to get it to loosen up, but that has never been the case with this car and isn't working now.

Well, we had it towed to the nearest repair shop, which is closed until Monday. Anyone have any idea what might be the problem?

My father wisely suggested that perhaps the car isn't 100% in Park, but it seems to be. We tried rocking the car back and forth and numrous other things to no avail.

Thanks, everyone.
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  #2  
Old 04-15-2006, 07:36 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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Well, my first thought was to turn the wheel a bit, but I see you've covered that. I'd dip a key in a lubricant and try it in the ignition, on the assumption that something might have seized.

If the car isn't in park, maybe depressing the brake pedal is necessary to turn the key. Is there a shift release that would let you pull the transmission into neutral?

I'm just spitballing here. I'd even consider jacking up the front of the car a little so you can really crank the steering wheel as far as possible to the left and right while trying the key.
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  #3  
Old 04-15-2006, 07:37 PM
Rick Rick is offline
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If you have tried multiple keys and none of them turn, it sounds like your ignition lock just up and died.
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  #4  
Old 04-15-2006, 07:40 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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Ignition lock cylinders wear out.

Here's an old thread covering some of the possibilities:
Help! I cannot turn the key in my previa.
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  #5  
Old 04-16-2006, 07:34 AM
Osip Osip is offline
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Gm eh?

Possible problems.
Linkage from transmission not registering vehicle in park. (not that likely under the circumstances you describe)
Steering wheel in a bind. (you have done what is required to "fix" it (moving wheel side to side and trying to turn the key.
Spring cap in the ignition cylinder has come out. (My first guess if I were a betting man.)
The spring cap on the ignitions used on GM cars have had a history of this problem. Well, is about the only thing that does go wrong with them besides excessive wear and tear.
If this is the problem, the mechanic will most likely be replacing the ignition.


That is my best guess from such a distance anyways,

Osip
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  #6  
Old 04-16-2006, 11:01 AM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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You're Lucky!

Even worse, we had a 1980's Bonneville we couldn't get the key OUT of the ignition! A locksmith came, took the steering column apart, and swaped out ignitions. Like the sword in the stone, the key remains forever frozen in the ignition.

Also, with a 1999 Honda, after 200,000 miles, I couldn't turn the car off! Luckily, I was driving past a Honda dealer. He worked at it with a lubricant spray (like WD-40) and got the ignition to "relax" to the off position. Then, he still had to work in more lubricant to free the key itself.
- Jinx
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  #7  
Old 04-16-2006, 11:39 AM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx
Like the sword in the stone, the key remains forever frozen in the ignition.
The man that can removeth it shall prove himself worthy of being the driver of the King of England!
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  #8  
Old 04-16-2006, 12:03 PM
AncientHumanoid AncientHumanoid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers
The man that can removeth it shall prove himself worthy of being the driver of the King of England!
Look, 'aving some swea'-y mechanic lob a lubed up key at you is not a proper way of choosing governmental chauffeurs.
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  #9  
Old 04-16-2006, 01:34 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoClueBoy
Look, 'aving some swea'-y mechanic lob a lubed up key at you is not a proper way of choosing governmental chauffeurs.
Bloody bus-riding peasant!
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  #10  
Old 04-16-2006, 02:05 PM
pool pool is offline
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Well a while back a kind of similar thing happened to my car and it turned out it was the timing belt.
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  #11  
Old 04-16-2006, 02:57 PM
Rick Rick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pool
Well a while back a kind of similar thing happened to my car and it turned out it was the timing belt.
WTF?? How does a busted timing belt cause the key to not to turn in th ignition lock?
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  #12  
Old 04-16-2006, 03:07 PM
pool pool is offline
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Oh ok whoops I misread the OP I thought he meant that the engine wasn't turning over or even cranking at all, because with my car the power worked but it didn't sound like the engine was even turning over.
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  #13  
Old 04-16-2006, 05:23 PM
spingears spingears is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers
I'd dip a key in a lubricant and try it in the ignition, on the assumption that something might have seized.
I wouldn't do that if I were you. Use only powdered graphite in locks.
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  #14  
Old 04-17-2006, 12:25 AM
danceswithcats danceswithcats is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoClueBoy
Look, 'aving some swea'-y mechanic lob a lubed up key at you is not a proper way of choosing governmental chauffeurs.
LMAO! Pure beauty! *applause*
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