Key wont turn in the ignition

2007 Silverado 1500 Classic, 280k miles 5.3, auto. I have one key that would sometimes not turn in the ignition, like it was the wrong key. I’d pull it out, turn it over and reinsert and it worked fine. None of the other three keys ever did this. BTW, none of the keys are original and the FOB has been lost too. Suddenly none of the keys will turn in the ignition. Got out the Haynes for key cylinder removal procedures. Remove clamshell around the steering column, insert key and turn to run, push release on top and pull out cylinder. Well that’s not going to work. Any ideas?

Also there are two wires with spades on them hanging down beside the cylinder. Looks like they were pulled from a connector somewhere. Why would someone do this?

Edit, I’m going to WD 40 the lock tomorrow and see if I can free up something.

Take the plastic covers off as much as you can. Insert the last key that worked and jiggle it with your right hand. With a small tack hammer tap the column housing around the cylinder and see if you can get one last turn out of the cylinder.


I’ll try that.

Sometimes you can tap the end of the key and jar things enough that it will turn again also…

Like ASE said, use a small hammer, you are just trying to vibrate some very small and light springs and tumblers, not trying to drive a nail in a wall… lol

I guess I’d better put the sledge hammer back in the shed then. :grinning:

I’ll probably use the handle of a screwdriver because I don’t have any small hammers. A 16 oz claw hammer is my smallest.

You would be surprised what I have seen people do over the years… lol

Yes the end of a screw driver should work…

Follow the above steps.
As far as freeing up the lock, I would not use WD-40, but would use CRC QD Electronic cleaner to flush out any goop in the lock cylinder.

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I suspect though over the years and new keys made in the grinding machine, that they no longer fit the lock. A good locksmith can determine the original tumbler arrangement and cut some new keys. Or sometimes with rhe service manual the tumblers can be determined from the old key. Or else the lock is gummed up.

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How to Replace Ignition Switch 2007-14 Chevy Silverado - YouTube
the video shows how to take everything apart to clean it better or replace.

That video was not applicable because I cannot rotate the key. But below it is a video that may work.

The video is unnecessarily long because he keep repeating himself, but the short story is to put an air chisel on its lowest setting to vibrate the key. He says you can use a hammer and flat blade screwdriver as well but you need three hands for that. If that doesn’t work, the steering column has to come out.

Edit: The spring that the guy in the video mentions actually came out through the keyhole so he is right about the cause of my problem.

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Update: got it out but not by tapping the key. None of those Youtube videos worked for me. I ended up drilling another hole in the location where I thought the little pop up thing might be. Ended up hogging this hole out with a 5/16" drill bit so I could see and access the little thingie. Found it and got the lock cylinder out. I’ll take a pic tomorrow.

Got it running. Had an issue with the ignition switch lining you with the cylinder lock, had to pull the ignition switch out three times before getting it aligned with the cylinder. The cylinder only goes in one way so you have to pull the ignition switch to align them.

I was going to take a picture with my fancy new smart phone, but it won’t let me do that unless I sign up for a cloud account. That wasn’t in the sales lit. I hate that **** phone.

Are you referring to one of the tumbler’s springs? Very tiny? If so, certainly understandable why it would be very difficult to get lock to turn. Vibrating the key seems like it might work for some lock failure modes, but unlikely to work for that problem. Even with a missing tumbler spring problem though, once you get access to the exposed surface of the lock cylinder, by manipulating the top of the row of tumblers so they are even, should eventually be able to get it to turn.

Are you able to take a photo and store the jpg file in the phone’s memory? No need to even be connected to cell phone network for that. If so you should be able to plug your phone into a desktop computer’s usb port and transfer the jpg file to the computer’s disc, and from there you can post it here.

I don’t know if it even took any pictures because I didn’t hear the sounds that most phones make. But when I went to look at photos to see if they were there, it would not give me access without a cloud account.

BTW the spring I thought came through the keyhole actually didn’t. It came from a broken connector. The cylinder was intact, it simply froze up internally and I don’t know why. I don’t know what broke the connector but it is the connector that tells the BCM that the key is in the ignition that gives you the warning chime when you open the doors and te key is still in the ignition. That is a feature that I have lost for now. I cut the wires.

I’m hoping there’s a work-around provided to you, and this isn’t just another application of the “greed is good” business theory.

I’m afraid it is. Businesses, especially tech and entertainment businesses are going to the “subscription” business model. CD’s, DVD/Blu-ray discs are dying out, even cable is struggling, most cable companies are switching to the subscription model. Subscription cars and clothes were even tried out a few years ago, don’t know how that worked out but it may come back again. Only Vinyl seems to have bucked that trend.

They signed me up when I got my phone. No extra charge that I know of. I have no idea what is on there and never looked at it. Wife had her phone stolen in Norway though and evidently used the cloud to populate the new one. Might want to reconsider.

Not that it matters but the passenger side lock on one of my cars had frozen up. When I took it apart, one tumbler was rusted up so bad it would not function. I just removed that tumbler. Just meant that there were only four instead of five. Easier to pick but who would know?

Right now, I am viewing CarTalk on my PC, I am using Google Chrome as my Browser. I have a Google Account, simple enough, no cost, and you only need a phone number for them to verify you are a person and not a Bot… (Google it…).

With your Google account, you get a lot of FREE Features, but I am not selling Google Accounts, but I want to mention only one of these free features.

This feature is called “Drive” (how very apropos for a feature to be named Drive when I am writing about CarTalk). This feature offers the user 15 GB of storage to store photos, music, documents, etc…

But the best part of this feature is the access to it from every device you run Google on. For instance, I run Google on my PC, my Laptop, all my cell phones (and I have lots…). Not all have active phone accounts, but even though some are older phones, they make great portable cameras. Or you just want to surf the internet from the shop…

But back on point, I will use one of these phones to take a photo and then just transfer it to my Google Drive by the internet, and then I can view it from any other device with access to my Google account. All this is done without having to connect the phone by cable to another device.

Granted, one has to have a Google Account and take the time to google the instructions on how to use your Google features, but on the other hand, have you ever tried to explain the file structure of a cell phone and how to look for photos when the system defaults to file names like 20230104_003624.jpg (actual file name…) that is made of the date, the time, and the sequence number… Not like something useable like “Ignition Lock…”

Any case, I suggest a Google Account, and take a photo, transfer it to Drive, and read it back on another device that you are using to write to CarTalk.

I am a volunteer computer instructor at two local libraries, and the Senior Center. At all three of these locations, they offer something like “Tech Tuesday, Tech Thursday, etc…” where folks are taught how to use their smart phones, tablets, etc… and that includes the use of Google.

I suggest anyone who feels like they could use a bit of help with their tech, take advantage of these classes, almost all libraries offer these free to the public…

We’re getting off track, but why don’t you use Google Photos, which does this automatically?

I do not think we are getting off track as so much of the help extended over this web site is based on being able to see what the situation is and knowing exactly what is being asked. As the old saying goes, “Seeing is Believing…”

You make a good point and your suggestion is perhaps better than mine. However, the reason I do not choose your method ahead of mine is as I mentioned, I transfer a lot of stuff around including: files and music, besides photos.

Google Photo does send your photos to your Google storage, hence that is a better method than my suggestion as I have to manually (actually the method is SHARE…) send it to DRIVE; even though Google Photo also does that for me, but it is not immediately.

So, for almost everyone else’s purpose, @lion9car 's method is superior than mine… I give your suggestion 5-Stars…