Key won't unlock either door. Remote unlocks doors fine. Key works in trunk lock

toyota
corolla

#1

I have a 2007 Toyota Corolla. It has power locks and a keychain remote.

The keychain remote locks and unlocks the car. The key unlocks the trunk. However, the key does not unlock either door lock. As far as I can tell it is going into the lock ok, but does not turn.

Other things of note. I live in Minnesota and it has been well below freezing recently. The car battery is old. I don’t think the key is a valet key, but I can’t rule it out completely. I know the key worked in the door locks in the past and starts the car with no problems once I get in.

I suppose it is possible both door locks are frozen, but the fact that it happened to both at the same time makes me skeptical. The fact that the key opens the trunk makes me think the key is OK. The fact that the remote unlocks the doors makes me think the battery/electrical/power locks system is OK.

Any ideas what is wrong in the long term?

Any ideas how to get into my car in the short term? I knew this was a problem, but still managed to let my wife leave this morning with our only keychain remote.


#2

Don’t understand. if the remote unlocks and locks the doors, why do you need the key? I assume you want it get it fixed in case needed?

I’d suspect the locks are frozen. When this happened to me, I just poured a bucket of hot water over the lock area. That warmed things up enough to melt the ice. Put a piece of blue painters tape over the lock opening if you are worried about water getting inside — I never did.

I had something similar happen, within a 2 day period, both locks stopped working, and I had to have it towed to a dealer.


#3

Once you get the locks unfrozen, you can spray graphite or silicone spray in the key hole for some extra lubrication that may be your real issue. Locks can get dirty and stuck.

I don’t live anywhere near Minnesota, though, so I am unsure of which (or something else,) would work better. I do not recommend WD-40 on locks.


#4

I also do not understand the urgency of the concern. If the battery is so dead it cannot unlock the door, there’s no hope of starting the engine.


#5

Thank you to everyone who replied. The short answer is that the locks were indeed frozen and the problem is solved, more or less…

I heated the key with a hair dryer, ran it outside, and in a few seconds the lock opened. I drove to the gas station and bought some de-icer. When I came back out from the gas station, the lock was frozen again. I used the de-icer and it worked fine. The speed at which the lock froze again was disconcerting, but hopefully the de-icer has some lasting power, and knowing what the problem is makes it much easier to address in the future.

In response to the questions, I need the key to work because we only have one remote but have two drivers. My wife has the remote. I just have a key. The urgency of the concern is because I needed to get to work.

Thanks again for your responses!


#6

A valet key would unlock the doors and start the car, but not open the glovebox or trunk. You can safely rule that out as a possibility.

Since the FOB unlocks the doors, the solenoids and lock mechanisms are working. My guess, having lived in that part of the country, is that the locks are frozen. NOAA shows subzero temperatures up there. Try “lock deicer” from any retail store. Flush the locks well with that and hope they loosen up. Once (assuming) they do, I’d suggest flushing them out with silicone lubricant.

Post back with e the results.


#7

The Valet Key on this car is GRAY, while the regular key is black plastic. The valet key is designed to not open the trunk!


#8

Short answer, order another FOB. Soon.
As far as another mans opinion; I’ve had locksmiths tell me that WD-40 is okay to use, the water displacement formula will help to dry out the cylinder. Some have frowned on silicone spray, others say okay. They all agree that graphite powder is safe.
Once, I had to heat my key over a flame, then quickly insert it to melt the ice in the cylinder.