How to Fix an Ignition Key That Won't Turn

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If a car's ignition lock is broken and a key won't turn, the problem is usually with the steering wheel lock. Discover how to change an ignition lock with help from an auto mechanic in this free video on car repair and diagnostics.

Part of the Video Series: Auto Repair & Diagnostics
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Video Transcript

Hello, my name is Tom Brintzenhofe, Certified Master Mechanic out of Reading Pennsylvania. Today we are going to talk about how to fix the ignition lock, the ignition cylinder that will not turn, it's stuck. Every vehicle is a little different as the configuration of your ignition lock cylinder. I have one out here to show it to you real quick with the key. You get one of these, you get into your vehicle one morning and it just won't turn. Sometimes they have locks on the steering wheel that locks from left to right when you park so it doesn't go anywhere. Sometimes if you yank that steering wheel pretty hard from one side to the other, not too much force but sometimes they'll move that way. If they don't this is usually your culprit right here. You'll have to get yourself a repair manual from your local auto parts store and look through on how to change the lock as unfortunately every vehicle is different so I'm not going to show you one way of the other how to do it. So, just follow it step by step. You might want to read it first because a lot of these have security features in them. Like this one right here. Just one key, any key just won't fit them. A lot of them have to be programmed as for the key. So if you go changing this thing and you jump in it when you are all done and it just won't start and your security light comes on, that could cause you some problems but read through it. If you don't have any security features do it yourself, if they do have security features, you will have to leave it up to a local garage to have it done for you because unfortunately a lot of people just don't have the equipment to reprogram them. But simple thing is read your manual, if it doesn't it's real simple to change. Pull your steering wheel out, follow your repair manual it'll walk you through it step by step. But that would be your culprit. There is actually no way to actually get in here and actually physically repair these things so if they are giving you problems, you've gotta change them.

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