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2008 Volkswagen Jetta - key or ignition?

when I put the key in the ignition it either will not turn or its so hard to turn that it seems like the key is going to break to get it to turn over. What is the problem?? Key or ignition???

Could be both; don’t force it! Years ago I had a Ford with a cheap aluminum key and it broke as I was trying to start the car. I was laid up for 2 days on a trip until; the dealer could get it fixed.

Could be related to the steering column lock. Try jiggling the steering wheel back and forth while you turn the key.

Do you have another key?

I expect your key has worn enough to no longer properly fit the ignition lock. There’s some obvious things to try

  • If the key the same top and bottom, flip it over, see if that helps.
  • Try some graphite lube. Ignition switch dry lube is usually available at auto-parts stores. Or what I do is just rub a soft pencil lead – like those short pencils you get at golf courses and libraries – on the key surfaces.

I’m guessing you’ll end up having to replace all or parts of the ignition switch assembly.

To minimize the chance of this happening again keep your keys as clean as is practical. I put my keys into the dishwasher along with the dishes every few months.

Sounds like the tumblers in the ignition lock cylinder are binding. Plan on replacing the ignition lock cylinder.