3 Top Ways To Tell If Your Lock Has Been Picked

Are you trying to turn your car key but it simply isn't turning? If so, we know why. When a car key won’t turn, even if it sticks but turns eventually, it is a sign that you should take action as soon as possible. Why? Well a car key that does not turn properly can result in broken keys, which eventually lead to you being locked out of your car.

In this article, we have laid out the top 3 reasons why your car key won’t turn properly and 3 ways you could fix it. 


  1. Car Key Damage

The Problem

The first reason as to why your car key isn't turning is probably because the key has become worn out. Thin or soft metal keys tend to bend easily. Even subtle bending that isn’t visibly apparent can be enough to prevent the car key from turning. Usually, it does take quite some time and use to wear a car key down. If you use your key a lot, the metal grinds down smoother. This means that the groves lose their sharp shape that gives the key the right shape to properly move the wafers, sliders, or tumblers in the lock cylinder.


To be honest, there isn't much you can “fix” when it comes to a worn-down car key. The only way you can restore your key’s normal working condition is to simply replace it. Luckily, you don't have to spend too much money on it. You can go to almost any hardware store and make a duplicate car key. Notice that you can only duplicate a brand new key or a key with a bent car key, NOT one that is worn. If you copy a worn key, you end up replicating the problem.

In the case where you do not have a working spare car key, then you will need to contact the dealership or a car locksmith. In order to have a new car key made without the original, you will need to get more professional help. 

  1. Broken Door Lock


Having a broken door lock is frustrating, we know. More than that, such a problem could pose a serious security threat. As soon as your car remote is not working, you will soon find out that your door lock has broken. The two most common reasons why your key is not turning in these circumstances is due to failing wafers. 

One common reason for bind cam and wafers is due to rust or debris. This can even happen to the lock assembly, to the point where the car door won’t open from inside or outside. Though unless you have a very old or neglected car, your car keys not turning should not be the result of severe debris.


As a rule of thumb, for car keys not turning in any situation, you should always clean with a dry lubricant. To apply Lube to the inside of the keyhole, you may need to move a spring-loaded dust cover. If that does not work, try to get your door open. At this point, If your car key is not turning results in car lockout, then you will have to reach out to a professional locksmith to open the door. For the door lock to be accessed, you have to remove the interior door panel, which requires the door to be ajar.

Once the lock cylinder is removed, you now have the chance to see what is wrong with it. When you change your car lock cylinder, you will either need to rekey your ignition, or the door lock, or the cylinders will not be keyed alike.


  1. Malfunctioning Ignition Cylinder

The problem 

One common reason that prevents a car key from turning is due to an issue with the cylinder,such as a locked steering wheel. As a safety feature in most modern cars, steering wheels lock when the wheel is rotated without the key inserted. If that’s not the case then there is likely something wrong with the ignition lock cylinder.

Ignition lock cylinders are prone to break and wear out the same way as any other lock. Every time a key is inserted or turned, great pressure is put on the lock’s internal components. With enough time and stress, the lock eventually fails and prevents your key from turning the cylinder.

The solution 

In order to fix a car key that won't turn due to steering wheel lock, gently rock the wheel right and left while simultaneously wiggling the key in the ignition. Please note that much caution should be used as you're doing so. You must be gentle to avoid the car key breaking off in the ignition. With enough trials, you will eventually feel the wheel achieving a full range of motion as the key successfully turns.

Even though the solution above may serve as a quick fix, it still isn't the ultimate solution to the problem. You still probably need full car key ignition replacement. For replacement or invasive repair, you should get a professional locksmith to remove the cylinder and replace it with a new one. 

Please note that such invasive procedures should not be done by a novice, as there is a risk of damaging the vehicle further. Reach a local locksmith company to take a closer look at the problem. 



Car key issues can be frustrating. We know how it feels trying to get into a car and suddenly finding out that the car key isn't turning properly. Luckily, there are a couple of things you can do to help ease the experience of such occurrences. Finding out the reason for the car key problem is the first step. By reading this article, you should get a better understanding of the root cause of the car key issue and what you could do to fix it. 

If none of these options seems to be the solution to the issue, then we highly recommend that you reach out to an expert locksmith technician to take a closer look at the problem. If you happen to live in Los Angeles and the surrounding area then feel free to give us a call at (424) 203-6668 and we will be more than happy to provide our professional service.

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