Keys stuck in the Ignition but driveable


pat5150
03-19-2011, 05:26 PM
Hello all,
I just got my car home from the full service car wash and went to take the key out and it's completely stuck. I've read a few of the other posts about this topic and this is why mine issue is a little different.

-the key will turn;
-the car will start;
-and is completely driveable.

i've made sure the transmission is completely in park and i have tried putting it in nuetral and still the key won't come out. i've tapped the brake, wiggled the steering wheel and had the battery unplugged for a while to see if any of that would help, but no. i checked the transmission fluid, which seems fine(google result said to try that). finally, i opened up the gear shifter housing to check for any loose cables and all seemed to be tight. if anyone can help with this problem i would really appreciate it, i don't like giving my local dealership $100+ just to look at my car. they've tried to rip me off in the past.

thank you very much.

2004 chev. impala. 3800 SS. 75000 miles.

pat5150
03-19-2011, 05:31 PM
i forgot to mention, the key will not go to the "off" position. the car stays on but not running. i had to unhook my battery so it doesn't die.

Dave43
03-21-2011, 09:09 AM
Try unhooking the park/lock cable on the back of the switch. Sounds like the cylinder doesn't know youre in park. Not sure how accessable if in the dash but really is not very hard to remove the switch which has the cylinder in it. Hanes manual is pretty good since you can turn your key, other than 4 extra bolts up in the knee brace.
I would suggest remove the cylinder, key and all, as you stated everything else works.
Take some care with it as the passlock sensor is attached to the cylinder(slides out with) and needs to be out to unplug.
Try a locksmith but call first. Not all locksmiths work on automotive. I was given a quote of $20-30 cdn to fix mine or rekey a used one. Unfortunately no locksmith in my town so didn't go that route.
Could try your dealer re: cylinder. I found mine evasive with what they could do but they sure were able to key a new cylinder for me at $290+.
Have no idea if anything can be done with the key in.
If you find you need to replace your cylinder, you do have options.
Dealer quoted $500+ for cylinder, scan and labour.
Tried my wrecker and he dawdled for 2 days so bit the bullet and bought new and installed myself.
In my case key wouldn't turn so cut off the plastic ignition switch as I need to free the passlock connector. Didn't realize a new one was $225.lol.
As a note I was unable to locate aftermarket parts so parts stores were actually pricier.
Called wrecker and $25 cdn got a switch with a cylinder and key. Go figure.
At the end of the day(s) my biggest hurdle was the passlock reset. Have read of success. I was not. Over and over.
Had even contemplated getting a new BCM, install myself and then send to dealer for programming as you can't use a used one.
Bit the bullet and sent it in. They reset in no time. $100.
Wish I could have watched what they did. He said if I had a key at home that didn't start the care, to start it with a good one, turn off and insert the otherone and turn to run. Can't recall how long he said. So there must be some basis for the posts re:passlock reset.
So if I'd had the time and mobility I could have done this for
$25- wrecker swith/cylinder w/key
$30-locksmith fix old one or rekey
$100- dealer reset( some have had success)
Good luck

Scrapper
03-21-2011, 09:30 AM
Hello all,
I just got my car home from the full service car wash and went to take the key out and it's completely stuck. I've read a few of the other posts about this topic and this is why mine issue is a little different.

-the key will turn;
-the car will start;
-and is completely driveable.

i've made sure the transmission is completely in park and i have tried putting it in nuetral and still the key won't come out. i've tapped the brake, wiggled the steering wheel and had the battery unplugged for a while to see if any of that would help, but no. i checked the transmission fluid, which seems fine(google result said to try that). finally, i opened up the gear shifter housing to check for any loose cables and all seemed to be tight. if anyone can help with this problem i would really appreciate it, i don't like giving my local dealership $100+ just to look at my car. they've tried to rip me off in the past.

thank you very much.

2004 chev. impala. 3800 SS. 75000 miles. take and push your gear shift up and hold it up while trying to take key out.

pat5150
03-21-2011, 10:15 AM
dave, thanks for the ideas. i did call around and others have said it seems like the cylinder doesn't know the car is in park. my question with that is, why can't i take the key out when it's in nuetral. i have that digital read out that shows what gear im in and it shows the proper gear(again the car drives just fine). i don't know if that is a perfect indicator or if something in between is actually sensing and allowing the car to be fully in park.
also i called my dealership and they said it was "probably" a sensor that is attached to the shifter itself. $900+. so ill try more of ur ideas before going there.

scrapper i tried your suggestion first since it's easy and im not really bright. what happens when i do that and attempt to turn the key, that digital read out blinks three times on the "P". any idea what that is?

thanks again for your responses this forum is great.

Dave43
03-22-2011, 10:23 AM
Don't have digital dash and do not know if that makes things different with the ignition than my 01 3.4.
My learning is OJT,lol.
I do know on mine, the ign. cyl., when turning the key turns a compontent in the switch which is where the park/lock cable is plugged along with the 2 electrical connectors.
Should be easy to idenify/eliminate a couple things.
2 bolts hold the ignition to the dash. Just drop the unit and let hang underneath. If you don't have access to a manual i'll hunt mine up. Really is easy.
With it hanging, unclip the park/lock cable. Try key. If removes than issue is cable out. Have no idea on that. Mine hasn't broken yet.lol.
If key doesn't than remove the ign. cylinder and try key.
If key removes than I would say issue is your switch.
If key doesn't than issue is your cylinder.

zoemayne
03-24-2011, 12:50 AM
3 things
1) Look up "ABC locksmith" they do automotive
2) I don't think the key comes out in neutral
3) GOOD LUCK

Shot in the dark: Get a can of air and spray into the ignition a little this solved my only problem with the ignition it was some debris in mine and it didn't want to start.

chevymandan
10-09-2011, 08:02 PM
I have an 04 impala and I had the same problem with the key getting stuck. Takes about 30 min and $0 to fix. Only tool you need is a flat head screw driver.
1. Take off lower panel by drivers side feet for access
2. You will see a cable coming from the back of the ignition. This cable only allows you to start the car when it is in P or N and only allows you to shift out of park when your foot is on the brake. There is a black piece with a white plastic clip on it. Pull this clip out (not off) with the flat head screw driver. This allows you to move the cable in and out for adjustment. When you think you have it, press the clip back in and give it a try. You want to make sure that you can only shift from P when your foot is on the brake and that you can only start the car in P or N. And of course you want to make sure you can get the key in and out. If it does not work try again. It takes a few tries to get it right.

Add your comment to this topic!