Do you have a problem where your Ford Fiesta key won’t turn in the ignition? Unfortunately, there is a problem with this popular car that you should be aware of.

When Ford switched to this model of Fiesta, they changed the design of the key, and the ignition was untested in the Ford range. It happened around 2008 and we still problems right up to 2016, so we wanted to explain what’s going on.

What makes the lock work?

When you understand what’s happening inside the lock, then it’s easy to understand the problem.

Inside the lock are tiny brass parts that move in and out according to how the key is cut. You’ll hear these called ‘wafers’ ‘tumblers’ and other names as well. When the correct key is used, the spring loaded brass wafers move into the correct position and the lock is able to turn. This is because the centre part of the lock, which we call the ‘plug’ is smooth and rounded.

Ford Fiesta Key won't turn

However, when the wrong key is used, or there’s no key in the lock,  the wafers stick out like spikes, and stops the lock from turning.

Ford Fiesta Key won't turn

This photo shows all the wafers sticking out without a key inside the lock. Hopefully you can see the difference between the two photos. This is how all locks work, and it’s a really simple, effective method.

Ford Fiesta Key won’t turn – What’s happening?

Your Ford Fiesta is a problem because even though you have the correct key, the wafers still won’t move to the correct place, so the key still won’t turn. The clues are all on the key blade.

Ford Fiesta Key won't turn

When you look at your Ford Fiesta key, you’ll see the clues. When a fresh key is cut on any car, all the edges are square and the pattern is clear to see.

However, with this type of ignition lock, there’s a problem. For some reason, something inside the lock shaves a very tiny part of the key blade off, every time it is used. It’s as if a file has been rubbed along the edge of the key! In fact when we first saw this back in 2011, we thought someone had been messing around with a file.

As the pattern wears out, then there is less metal to move the wafers, and you’re left with a few sticking out and this is enough to stop the key turning. This also explains why when you wiggle the key up and down in the lock, it sometimes helps.  You’re moving all the wafers up and down, getting them in the correct position.

Ford Fiesta Key won't turn

Have you Looked at out YouTube Channel for Car Key Help?

car key man you tube channel

What Can I do when My Ford Fiesta Key won’t Turn?

Admit you have a problem!

When the lock starts to play up, it is normally very gradual, like toothache. Maybe once a week, you try and turn the ignition lock and it won’t budge.. A bit of a wiggle later and you’re on your way…

New it happens twice a week, then every day and eventually you’re reading this blog post because it’s rock hard and won’t move.

Have you left it too late?

The bad news is that the lock cannot be removed from the car unless the key turns, which is a big problem.

The good news is that you may have a second chance. For this you need either a good Auto Locksmith, or a car key cutter, that can cut a key to a key code.

What is a Key Code?

Your key is cut differently to most of the other Fiesta cars on the road. The shape of the wavy line is the thing that is special to your car. In order to cut it, every key is given a Key Code, or Key Number. This number is put into a computerised machine and like magic, the key works your lock. 

A key cut to code will be exactly the same shape as when it left the Ford showroom for the very first time. It will have all the extra metal that your car key is missing and will have a crisp clean key edge.

My Ford Fiesta Lock won’t turn, how does a new key help?

At the moment the problem you have is two-fold

  1. The Key is worn out
  2. The wafers inside the lock are worn or damaged from constant ‘wiggling’ up and down.

If you’re lucky, then by getting a brand new key cut, this takes half the wear out of the equation. Yes you’ll still have a worn lock, and it will probably need replacing. However, the new key should allow you to use the car, or at least book it in to get fixed with a good local Auto Locksmith.

How do I get a new key cut to code? 

Firstly, do you know what a key number looks like? With a Ford you get several chances if everyone at Ford have done there job properly.

The photo above is the first way you may have the key code. With this year of Fiesta it will be a four digit number, stamped into the plastic. We often see these attached to the only key fro the car! Click here to find out where you should keep them.

You may also have a key number written in your service book. It’s quite unusual and relies on the salesperson completing the paperwork. Here’s what it looks like.

Ford Fiesta Key won't turn


The Lock turns! What’s Next? 

Ok, so you’ve got a new key cut to code, what’s next?

This when you need to get your car looked at. Firstly you need a new lock. Please don’t waste money on a lock from the scrapyard, or eBay. They’re most likely to bring you trouble in the future.

Buying a new Lock from Ford

Firstly, yes, you need a new lock from Ford. When you buy it, the lock will come built up to a different key shape to yours. Someone in the factory has built it to a random key.

How can I use this lock in my car to Fix my Ford Fiesta Key won’t turn problem?

Option 1

It’s up to you. We would recommend finding a good Auto Locksmith and paying them to ‘re-key’ the lock. This means they strip the new lock down, and swap around the wafers to match the key that is for your car.

It’s a bit of a tricky job and so it’s not really something you can do yourself unless you’ve been shown. But we do these every month and charge about £30, which we believe is fair. If you have a lock and can’t find anyone to help, call us on 01522 514141 and we’ll help you.

Once you’ve got the lock ‘re-keyed’ it can be fitted and you are on your way! This was you’ll not need keys coded etc.

Option 2

If you are going to use the lock as it comes from Ford then you’ll need to do a few things and be aware of a few problems.

The new lock comes with one blade. This won’t fit into any of the car keys you have. Therefore, if you choose to use the new lock, then you’ll need to get a new blade cut for your car. Both Ford, or a good Auto Locksmith can do this for you.

Other Ford Lock issues to think about.

Also, be aware that the key for your ignition lock will now be different to the door. We really don’t like this because in the future you may have a couple of issues.

  1. If the car battery goes flat, and you don’t have the original ignition key, then your new ignition key will not fit the door lock. Then you’ll be locked out.
  2. If you lose your car keys, then an Auto Locksmith will make a key to the door lock but it won’t fit your ignition key. This will mean an extra, tricky job for them and extra cost for you.

We really hope all this helps. This problem is quite easy to spot and sort out. However, you do need some professional help. A good garage, or an Auto Locksmith, or maybe even a good local Ford dealer who has a key expert working for them.

Also, did you know about the problem with Fiesta’s that won’t start, or cut out? This is another easy problem to fix, check out our video all about it.


12 replies
  1. John Munion
    John Munion says:

    Your post here is the first one which described my issues with my 2014 Ford Fiesta to a tie. I had interment problems with my Ford Fiesta over the last four years near the end it was all the time. Put in key it goes 3/4 of way in won’t turn. Funny how dealership and Ford knows nothing

    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi John, we found out by mistake to be honest. People kept wanting hep with a new lock, but when we looked at the car, it was clear the lock itself was sweet, but the switch was the problem. Now we see this problem regularly. Glad it helped you and thanks for the feedback

  2. Spencer Lloyd
    Spencer Lloyd says:

    I have a 2011 fiesta with may have the problem been issue 5 times in last year but if I’ve used jump leads it’s worked or recently bump started it. Could this still be the switch or is the lock wafers the issue

  3. Miguel
    Miguel says:

    Hi Steve,

    my sister’s 2007 Fiesta has issues starting the engine.
    On thing i notice is from position 1 to position 2, it’s very loose so something isn’t ok.
    After the engine start most of thinghs on dashboard aren’t working and just start working a few seconds later.
    Can you help her?


    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Hywel, you need a replacement ignition lock kit, it will need to be installed by an Auto Locksmith or garage I expect.

  4. Tony O'Brien
    Tony O'Brien says:

    Hello from m Australia. We bought a 2010 Fiesta for my sons first car. Had it two weeks and the lock won’t turn. Auto locksmith cut a new key but no go. They can’t get the barrel out and now are saying it’s $800 + to even try.. Son is devastated as he needs it for his driving test in two weeks.
    Spoke to Ford and they quote $180 per hour and can’t look at it until 2023..
    Any ideas..

  5. Fran
    Fran says:

    Hi Steve,

    Your video exactly described what I’ve been experiencing with my 2009 fiesta. I thought I’d have a go at fixing it myself by spending £25 on this part vs spending £300 on a new ignition. Your instructions were great and I was able to fit it myself.

    Thank you so much!


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