Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Key stuck in ignition after engine temp skyrocketed

I have a 1999 Kia Sephia, of which I took back from my daughter & son-in-law, after they said they were having overheating problems. This car was given to them with all operations fine. (I think they did not keep an eye on the engine oil level or radiator water levels). In any event, I had stopped into a gas station and checked the oil and water before I made the 90 mile trip from Hayward, CA to Modesto, CA. When I arrived at my home in Modesto, and was parked (with the engine still running), the engine started to make very strange noises of concern. When I drove the car into my garage, the engine wouldnt turn off because I could not get my key out of the ignition area. I got out of the car and touched the hood and it was extremely, extremely hot. (I didnt see any smoke). I was afraid though there would be a fire, but this did not happen, luckily). I cannot get the key out of the ignition (the engine did somehow stop). How do I get the key out, and what kind of damage (to the engine or other parts) did driving this distance do?

One more thing - my son in law took the car to a local repair shop and they replaced the radiator with a new radiator, of which parts show were made in China. Was this radiator defective, or was the overheating problem something else?

We could advance theories until we were blue in the face; but, what’s the use when most of the information lies under that closed hood?
If you’re sure that there is no fire under the hood, open the hood and tell use what you see? Then, the theories can flow.

You say you checked the oil and coolant before driving home, so we must assume both were OK. What you need to do now is open the hood and check the oil and coolant again. Let us know what you find.

If the car is a dark color and you were driving on a sunny day, the hood will be VERY hot to the touch, regardless of what’s going on under it. The fact that the hood was hot may, or may not, mean anything.

The ignition key problem is NOT related to the engine in any way, shape, or form. Removing the key isn’t what shuts off the engine. Turning the key to the “off” position shuts off the engine, and if the key is not in the correct position it cannot be removed from the ignition.

Now that things have calmed down a bit, can you turn the key in the ignition, and can you remove it if you get it to the correct (off) position? Please try it again and let us know what happens.