CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Can't remove key from ignition Saturn Ion 2003

I have had this problem for a while. The key cannot be removed from the ignition without massive fiddling around (go forward, backup, go forward) and then it might come out. Sometimes pushing hard on the gear shift (toward the dash) makes something click, and the key can be removed. Saturn dealer replaced the key assembly (ignition) for $250 and it still does it. I traded the car and a friend of mine bought it from a Honda dealer, who said they had fixed the problem (but the Honda dealer also tried the same fix which didn’t work before (despite my telling them) and my friend has the same problem, only she can’t seem to make my tricks work. Any advice?

I presume the car has at least a 30 day warranty from the dealer, that makes this the dealers problem.

The ignition key interlock at the gear shift sounds like it is out of adjustment. If you have to shove it forward to make it go ‘click’, I’m also worried the transmission is not going completely into ‘Park’ like it is supposed to. A similar problem is plaguing Ford right now. http://www.ajc.com/feeds/content/metro/stories/2009/04/19/ford_explorer_transmission_spotlight.html She needs to get this figured out before it continues to get worse. If she still has the warranty from the dealer, she should fight them to get it corrected.

This sure was a round about way of getting a car. You sold your car to a Dealer and then your friend buys it from the Dealer then comes to you with a problem that you sold away.

It’s not necessarily the dealer’s problem. In fact it’s not even probably the dealer’s problem. Dealer waranties vary greatly. It may or may not be a warranty item with this particular dealer on this particular deal.

Thanks for this. Its the only response that sounds like positive advice.

Not my doing. I called and offered it to her - with the known warts - for about a factor of 4 less than the dealer charged after they “fixed” the problems.

This is not a complicated problem. It’s covered in a Haynes, or Chilton’s, repair manual. Maybe, the dealer’s mechanics need one of these repair manuals.

The shift interlock, as noted below may be the issue.

It also can be an issue in the lock cylinder that was NOT fixed either time. If they took apart the lock, and put new “tumblers” or “wafers” in, the underying problem may still be there.

Sometimes a piece of zamak ( pot metal ) chips away in the lock, and this jams up the rotation of the cylinder… intermittently… works 5 times, not the 6th…

Another possibility is the switch itself, that the lock drives through the various electrical positions. This can be damaged.

A side note: These cars were notorious for bad locks… it was in the engineering of the lock, not due to bad assembly of car.

If the flat surfaces of the key have heavy wear, the lock will fail soon.

When NEW lock was put in, if it was actually REPLACED, new keys cut by CODE should have been supplied AT THE SAME TIME… rather than use ground up keys.

Locksmith