I have a 10 year old Chrysler Voyager mini van which I use for tons of daily commuting for myself and 3 children. Yesterday afternoon, I stuck the key in the ignition and it wouldn’t budge. I had already been to several places and hadn’t had any trouble out of it.I am very aware of how the steering column locks and all that stuff. I sat there for a good 30 minutes trying every combination of jiggling the key, turning it over, taking it out and putting it back in, turning the wheel, etc I could think of. Nothing. It still wouldn’t budge. The thing that changes the car from park to drive to reverse, etc wouldn’t move at all either, so I couln’t tell if it was stuck in gear or anything. My husband came to my rescue and messed with it for 20 more minutes and he coudn’t get it to turn.We had just about decided to call a tow truck when he hit the key while it was in the ignition, which ended up making it loosen up and I was able to turn it. He had to hit it so that it pushed the key further into the ifnition. When we got home we tried it several times to see if it would work and it did. This morning when I was leaving for work, it stuck again. The only way I was able to get it to turn was by hitting the key while it was in the ignition like he had done. Does anyone have any idea why it might be doing this? Do I need to have it replaced? And if so, is that something I can do myself? I have very little knowledge of car stuff, but my husband is generally handy and may be able to handle it depending on how difficult it is.
Do you park on an incline, or is the steering wheel cranked one way or another? This can put pressure on the switch if so making it hard or impossible to turn. Try turning steering wheel slightly one way or another, or using park brake if parked on hill before putting it in Park.
Wow! Thanks for the quick response! No, I park on a pretty flat driveway. It’s a covered carport. And yesterday when it happended the first time, I was on flat gravel in a parking lot. I will try to pay attention to make sure everything is straight and I don’t touch the wheel when I park, but I don’t think that’s it. I did try turning the wheel. The ignition was VERY hard to turn. Could it be anything else?
If neither of those did the trick it’s probably something in the ignition switch binding. Might be time to see a mechanic…
You could try a lock lubricant; but, you may still need to change the ignition lock.
Kate, do you have a lot of keys etc. on your key ring? I suspect your ignition switch is worn and having a lot of stuff on that key ring can cause that wear.
I suggest you call around to find a good local locksmith (the dealer would just call the same locksmith and add on profit). Good Luck.
Now that you say that, that’s exactly what it feels like. Like something is binding. I think I will. I happens every time I get in the car now. If I “hit” the key, it loosens up and I can turn it, but I’m not sure how long it will keep working. I can’t afford to get stranded somewhere. Thanks for your response.
Thanks for the tip. I may try this just to see if it will work before I call a locksmith. If they have to replace the cylinder anyway, then surely this can’t hurt. I appreciate evryone’s help!