If your car key won’t turn in the lock, this is for you.

We see this every week. Customers stranded because although they can get into the car, the key is rock solid in the ignition.  Whatever you do, your car key won’t turn.

To be honest, there’s normally a bit a of a warning it’s going to happen.

Most of us have a special magic trick so the lock turns. Either you pull it out a little bit before turning the key, or we give it a ‘jiggle’ up and down in the lock to make it turn.

This is common, we all do it. My house front door key was like it for months and I should know better, being a Locksmith!

The problem with using the car like this is eventually, we don’t get away with it anymore.

As it gets more worn, one day you’ll eventually be sat it in your car, trying to get somewhere important, and your car key won’t turn, ever again! Or maybe you’relocked out, trying to get into the car.

So, what can be done about it?

My car key won’t turn – Reason 1

Sometimes it’s the lock.

There are a few makes of car and van, where the lock fails suddenly because something breaks inside. We see this on the French models Peugeot, Citroen and Renault. The lock can be working fine one minute, and rock solid the next.

However, this is the exception rather than the rule.

My car key won’t turn – Reason 2

The main reason for lock problems is gradual wear over time.

With the Renault style locks, this can be because the key shape is badly designed. Click here to read about how Renault keys damage locks.

With most keys, gradual wear can be difficult to spot, unless you have a fresh new key to compare it to

car key won't turn

As you can see with this Ford fiesta key, the profile is very worn, instead of having a crisp edge. This worn edge no longer moves the levers into the correct position and the lock gets sticky.

Ford Lock barrel

Can you see how the levers are pulled in tight when it works correctly?

However, when the key is worn, the levers poke out and stop the lock turning smoothly.

Worn Ford Lock

It’s no wonder this Ford lock above had trouble turning , the levers poke out a lot!

What can you do when your worn car key won’t turn?

The good news is most car keys are made up of two parts, the key and the key blade.

car key won't turn

The key blade can be removed, re-cut and refitted without having to buy a complete key. This will save you a fortune when your worn key won’t turn.

How do I get a new car key blade?

Ok, so this is important.

There are two ways to replace the blade when your car key won’t turn.

1. Copy the Old Blade

Some key cutting shops can only copy keys. This is done by cutting the new key by tracing the old blade.

The problem with method is that it’s a bit old fashioned. Although the blade is freshly cut, it has the shape of a worn key. It may be slightly better in the lock, but there’s a better way to get a new key blade.

2.  Cut the blade to key number

Every car key has a ‘key number’, or it can be known as a ‘key code’.

Key Number

This number is a code that tells us, or the dealer ,what shape your wiggly line is on the key. Key numbers are really important and if you have yours, you’re halfway to getting a new key if they ever get lost. Click here to find out more about key numbers.

When we cut a blade to key number, the computer-controlled machine produce a brand new key, so there’s no wear on the blade at all. When your car key won’t turn, this will often get the lock moving again.

What to do when my car key won’t turn

Find a good Auto Locksmith and ask them to look at the key. It may be you just need a new blade so that your lock works normally again. Otherwise you’ll be paying out big money, for a new lock and key.

What NOT to do..

  • Drill the lock out
  • Hit it with a hammer to make it turn
  • Force it with a screw driver
  • Try and ‘hotwire’ the car

Any of these will just make everything more expensive.

Unsure how to find an Auto Locksmith? Click Here to find out

We hope this helps!



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