Need help with my lock

Got a Toyota Corolla 1997 model yesterday, the central lock works fine but the Turing of the key was very finiky yesterday and today it doesn’t work at all. The unlocking part works smoothly and the passenger side door is fine on both parts.
I tried spraying it with a bit of WD-40 and i cleaned the key but it did not seem to change much.
When i turn the key it feels like there is resistance, and a bit “crunchy” when you force it a bit harder.
I could lock it yesterday by wiggleing the key left right a bit, but as I’ve said that no longer works…

Any ideas, tips or something i should try?

Then I would guess the lock cylinder for that door is worn out.


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Replaceing a lock cylinder means having to replace all lock cylinders though right? Because different keys? Is there any way to repair it?

Contact the dealer to find out if they can provide a lock cylinder for the key.

Note: Keep in mind that when you change the door lock cylinder, you need to get a new one from the manufacturer that has the same key cut as your old one. If you are unable to obtain a lock cylinder with the same vin as your vehicle, you would then need to also replace the ignition tumbler and the lock cylinder in the trunk, if your vehicle is equipped with a trunk.


No. A locksmith can match the tumblers to your existing key. You can try using some actual lock solvent instead of wd40. Or take the lock out, take it apart and clean all the gunk and corrosion off of it and the tumblers if you are up to it. Or have a locksmith do it. If shot, they can replace the tumbler or lock as needed.

I had one that was pretty fouled up. I got all but one tumbler freed up so I simply removed it. Worked fine. No one would know it didn’t use all of the key to turn the lock.

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I think it is more likely the key itself is worn rather than the lock cylinder because no one uses the key lock when they have keyless entry.

The ignition is likely equally worn to match the key. A locksmith may be a better choice here.

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Worn key?


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If it turns one way and not the other then I would spray more WD-40 in it and keep working the key, it might loosing up the grit… But you can’t just spray a little bit and stop… If you can, get some graphite powder to lube the locks…

EDIT: Spray WD-40 and work the key, then spray some brake clean to clean out, then back to WD-40 and work the key (don’t force it, don’t want to break the key), keep going back and forth until it breaks loose to see if it starts to work any, kind of a feel for it… Once/if working again then clean out before lubing with graphite…

It would help if you removed the lock cylinder but have done it in the car…

If it doesn’t work just replacing the lock cylinder with a new key is NOT the end of the world… Lots of older (and some newer) vehicles are using a door key and an ignition key… Just mark them so you know the difference…

I use graphite at home on the door lock mechanisms but I’m concerned about using it on door hinges that I lube with silicone spray. I’d rather not turn the lube into a paste. While that might be called a grease, I’m not familiar with it and would not want to gunk up a car lock if it isn’t a lube anymore.

Spray some brake cleaner in it 1st… get it working again before lubing w/graphite…

But I think they make a version of WD-40 with graphite…
But yeah, paste would probably be bad… lol

Post language a little confusing, I’m presuming English is not OP’s first language. I’m presuming the problem is the driver’s-side door lock, key sticks, won’t rotate to lock door.

I own a older Corolla, some time ago had this same problem on the passenger side door. The key and lock wore together on the driver’s side, passenger side lock not used as often, so it didn’t wear, eventually key wouldn’t turn the passenger side door lock. Several possibilities. If you have another key, try that one. A new key might work, locksmith might be able to make a new key for you.

In my case all the other locks worked with the worn key, presumably had worn w/key, so I wanted to limit the repair to that one lock. I removed the lock from the passenger side door , inserted the key, and filed the tops of the protruding tumblers so they were no longer protruding, the correct height to allow it to rotate. Reinstalled the lock, done.

Most complicated part was removing & reinstalling the door handle ass’y back into the door. Plastic parts involved, break easily.

First of all, put down the WD-40. It isn’t made to be used in locks. There are spray lock lube products you can get at a car parts store. When you put the key in the lock try gently rocking it up and down, not left and right, while you are gently trying to turn it, both ways.

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