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2005 Chevy Impala locked ignition

About 2 months ago I took my 2005 Chevy Impala into the Chevy dealership for a recall order. There was a mass recall because of ignition problems in many GM cars. Basically people were having their keys fall out of the ignition while they were driving and the car would crash. So I took my car in, dropped it off for a day, and they gave it back, claiming to have fixed the problem.

Except it came with a new one.

Every once and a while the key would not turn when I put it in the ignition. It would just be stuck. So I would pull the key out, put it back it. Jiggle it around a bit. Turn it over. And eventually it would work. Except for today. Today, after trying for almost a full hour, the key would still not turn in the ignition. I didn’t park up against a curb. The car was in park when I turned it off last. The wheel was locked into place. So after several different people tried to help, I eventually had it towed to a repair shop. I went to the Chevy Team Dealership that fixed it 2 months ago. They claimed that they didn’t do anything other than put a piece of plastic on the keys to keep them from falling out. They refused to even look at it unless we paid them $99.

So, we had it towed to a repair shop for a second opinion and they said there was nothing wrong! It worked perfectly fine for them. But they are going to replace it for $400.

Is this happening to other recalls? Is Chevy lying to us? Because the key locking up thing didn’t start until after I took it in for the recall.

Did you try a different key? Sounds like a coincidence.

Yes, I’ve tried both keys to the car.

Are you able to see that piece of plastic the dealership attached to the key? Where on the key is it located?

Many “the mechanic broke my car” stories are coincidences. Think of the thousands of cars being repaired every day. A few will coincidentally have another failure within a month or two. Those are the ones we hear about.

I could not tell the difference honestly. When they tried to explain it to us at the dealership, the lady was very confused and couldn’t answer the question very well. Looking up the process online, all I could find was this “Dealers will install two 13mm key rings and key insert into the vehicle’s ignition keys to correct this concern/”

“Instead of replacing the ignition switches, as it is doing for Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions, GM said it would give owners either new keys or small plastic inserts for their keys. That means this recall is likely to be significantly less costly for GM and less time-consuming for dealers.”

They should have changed your key’s key chain “slot” into a key chain “hole” so that any weight on the key will not tend to rotate the key while in the ignition.

I’m not entirely sure what they did. The bit I quoted above is what I think they did though. At least, that’s what the lady at the dealership was trying to tell us I think. “Instead of replacing the ignition switches, as it is doing for Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions, GM said it would give owners either new keys or small plastic inserts for their keys. That means this recall is likely to be significantly less costly for GM and less time-consuming for dealers.”

I don’t know what the 13 mm key rings are about, but I expect the inserts placed on the key are what is causing the problem. Unless you had a problem removing the key before all this I mean. I’d probably ask to speak to the service manager at the dealership and ask them to replace the entire ignition switch. If the dealership refuses to replace the ignition switch (on their dime, since it is a recall) – and the problem persists – you’ll have to contact a GM Corp customer-advocate probably.

I should add that if you have anything on the key rings besides the car keys, remove all of those items and see if that fixes the problem.

I didn’t have this problem before. We’ve already taken the car to a different mechanic, since the ones at Chevy refused to even take a look without charging us almost a hundred bucks. They are replacing it. My father doesn’t think that we will be reimbursed for the ignition problems without hard proof that the new key inserts are causing the problem.

And yeah, we took everything off the key ring and tried with just the key.

I doubt GM will reimburse you since you are having the lock replaced at a non-GM shop. Sorry you are having this difficulty. You might could have gotten GM to replace the lock under the recall, but in order to do so you might have been without the use of the car for some time – maybe months – while you negotiated with them. So getting the lock replaced elsewhere might still be your best option. Be sure to ask the shop to document any indication they find that the inserts are related to the sticky key. And make sure the shop returns the old key and lock to you.

Alright, I will be sure to do that. Thank you for the advice.

And then go to nhtsa.gov/, do some reading and then file a complaint there.