lemon

Key Won't Turn In Ignition

Recommended Posts

Well I'm now starting to experience the dreaded 'key won't turn in ignition' problem that others have suffered. This IS NOT pressure on the steering wheel causing the problem (I've experienced that in other vehicles and just turning the steering wheel slightly solves that problem). No, this is bizarre..for no reason at all the key won't turn. It worked fine when I started the RX, 5 mins later (drove the kids to school) it just wouldn't turn. Now this happened a few weeks ago to me, and maybe once or twice in the past year. The other times, I just removed the key, put it back in, jiggled it around and all was fine. This time, I spent 10 minutes unsuccessfully, cursing and freezing, wondering why I ever traded in my Subaru Outback.

Then I remembered reading something about a fix involving a hammer (yes a hammer on a $60 000 vehicle because Lexus doesn't know how to fix the problem). Not having a hammer handy, I inserted the key and gave it a sharp blow with the palm of my hand (straight in toward the front of the car (or in the direction the key is inserted), not in the direction the key is supposed to turn). Voila!!! Problem fixed. Key turned readily after the whack. Just a heads up for those that might suffer this problem down the road.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I'm now starting to experience the dreaded 'key won't turn in ignition' problem that others have suffered. This IS NOT pressure on the steering wheel causing the problem (I've experienced that in other vehicles and just turning the steering wheel slightly solves that problem). No, this is bizarre..for no reason at all the key won't turn. It worked fine when I started the RX, 5 mins later (drove the kids to school) it just wouldn't turn. Now this happened a few weeks ago to me, and maybe once or twice in the past year. The other times, I just removed the key, put it back in, jiggled it around and all was fine. This time, I spent 10 minutes unsuccessfully, cursing and freezing, wondering why I ever traded in my Subaru Outback.

Then I remembered reading something about a fix involving a hammer (yes a hammer on a $60 000 vehicle because Lexus doesn't know how to fix the problem). Not having a hammer handy, I inserted the key and gave it a sharp blow with the palm of my hand (straight in toward the front of the car (or in the direction the key is inserted), not in the direction the key is supposed to turn). Voila!!! Problem fixed. Key turned readily after the whack. Just a heads up for those that might suffer this problem down the road.

The time tested fix; "Don't force it, get a bigger hammer!!"

Congratulations,

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me ask you this:

How do you normally insert the key? I ask this because I noticed that our keys don't easily and quickly slide into the ignition switch. I have to very gently move the key around a bit to coax it in. It has never given me or my wife a problem such as the one you had, but I am wondering if the technique of key insertion has anything to do with subsequent issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also had this problem with my 2006 400h. It was random and frustrating, and because i could not duplicate it at will i could not ever have it malfunction at the dealer. It is my belief that this happens when the key is taken out. I noticed a different sound, or operation of the lock as i would take the key out at times. This co incided with it locking up on the next use. It is my feeling that the lock itself randomly does not return to a 'normal' state inside during the malfunction and gets in a locked position. It is somewhere in limbo inside and not really ready to work in a normal way. When it is working normally there is a decided click when the key comes out of the lock. This click was absent for me when i took the key out (not knowing when it was going to happen) and sent things in motion for it to malfunction. Sorry to be so wordy but i want to be accurate.

When it locked up, and it would often do it after the first or second use of the day, i took the emergency wallet key out, that is just the metal key part, this way i could get a better grip on the end with my hand, never a hammer. It was my goal to wiggle the key and push in at the same time, kind of massaging the area, and it took alot of strength and wiggling and bingo it would at some point usually after a few minutes realign inside and free up the lock. I then took out the emergency key and my normal key worked and i could take it in and out and turn it with no problem. I asked the dealer to lube the lock, and put the malfunction on record which they did. This happened from 30,000 to 40,000 miles about two or three years into my ownership. After the lube the lock never jammed again. I am more careful not to take the key out of the lock quickly as i think that was the only thing i could think of that i was doing to help cause it.

I hope this helps, you really have to work hard to get it unstuck, and i was a little worried that i would damage the lock, however i never did. For me it was a turning and pushing of the key at the same time wiggling, with quite a bit of force. Make sure you hear the click when you take it out, lol. The dealer lube did the trick. i now am at 67,000 miles with no problems., thanks dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me ask you this:

How do you normally insert the key? I ask this because I noticed that our keys don't easily and quickly slide into the ignition switch. I have to very gently move the key around a bit to coax it in. It has never given me or my wife a problem such as the one you had, but I am wondering if the technique of key insertion has anything to do with subsequent issues.

My key normally just slides in with no drama. I've never had any issues with the actual insertion, just the turning after the insertion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also had this problem with my 2006 400h. It was random and frustrating, and because i could not duplicate it at will i could not ever have it malfunction at the dealer. It is my belief that this happens when the key is taken out. I noticed a different sound, or operation of the lock as i would take the key out at times. This co incided with it locking up on the next use. It is my feeling that the lock itself randomly does not return to a 'normal' state inside during the malfunction and gets in a locked position. It is somewhere in limbo inside and not really ready to work in a normal way. When it is working normally there is a decided click when the key comes out of the lock. This click was absent for me when i took the key out (not knowing when it was going to happen) and sent things in motion for it to malfunction. Sorry to be so wordy but i want to be accurate.

When it locked up, and it would often do it after the first or second use of the day, i took the emergency wallet key out, that is just the metal key part, this way i could get a better grip on the end with my hand, never a hammer. It was my goal to wiggle the key and push in at the same time, kind of massaging the area, and it took alot of strength and wiggling and bingo it would at some point usually after a few minutes realign inside and free up the lock. I then took out the emergency key and my normal key worked and i could take it in and out and turn it with no problem. I asked the dealer to lube the lock, and put the malfunction on record which they did. This happened from 30,000 to 40,000 miles about two or three years into my ownership. After the lube the lock never jammed again. I am more careful not to take the key out of the lock quickly as i think that was the only thing i could think of that i was doing to help cause it.

I hope this helps, you really have to work hard to get it unstuck, and i was a little worried that i would damage the lock, however i never did. For me it was a turning and pushing of the key at the same time wiggling, with quite a bit of force. Make sure you hear the click when you take it out, lol. The dealer lube did the trick. i now am at 67,000 miles with no problems., thanks dave

Interesting. I'll keep my ear open for this. I vaguely remember the click you've mentioned - car is at dealer getting timing belt done right now, or I'd go check.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ask them to lube the lock, i had them do mine rather than myself because i didnt know how much to put in there, and i didnt want to make things worse, especially since i sometimes subscribe to the more is better school of thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are your keys really worn or something? Have you tried inserting the key 180° from normal, to engage the grooves on the other side? The keys have the same grooves cut on both sides. Just a thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The key does not appear excessively worn, and yes I tried it both ways. The last time this happened I was in the garage at home and I tried my wife's key and it didn't work either. Honestly, I don't think this is a wear issue, as others have had this happen with a new ignition cylinder and key within weeks of getting new ones...

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/rx-second-generation/541237-ignition-switch-stuck.html

(post #7 has a link to a post where the owner got a new cylinder and key and had the same problem a few weeks later)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would try one puff of powdered graphite and then slide the key in and out a few times. I have heard that lock de-icer may work, but I am not familiar with what is in it. Also, keep your key clean since every time you insert it you could be depositing a tiny bit of gunk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This clearly sounds like sticking tumblers in the lock. I have never had good luck with graphite either with locks or speedo cables. I prefer a foaming lubricant and/or WD40.

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This just happened to my wife about 5 minutes ago. She used Lemon's method of popping the key with the palm of her hand and the key was able to be rotated. I guess I'll be looking for my tube of graphite!

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Coney,

One of the posters in the forum linked in Lemon's post stated:

My car is back at the dealership. One of the shop guys has my car and is driving it home tonight to try to recreate the problem. I had it happen last Thursday and then again on Sunday and since the new 'fix' by the dealership last month, I've had this happen more often.

Apparently, a new cylinder did not cure the problem. I did lubricate the cylinder with graphite and will give my wife my set of keys as a backup, just in case her key is the culprit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought I was experiencing this problem yesterday, but it turned out I wasn't in "ready" and had shifted to R to pull out of a parking spot. It wouldn't let the key turn to "off" with the gear selector in R, and I thought the key was stuck. Does anyone else have the car occasionally not go to "ready" when you try to start it? Maybe I didn't hold it in the start position long enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've done that a couple of times and I think it was a matter of not holding the key in the start position long enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I'm now starting to experience the dreaded 'key won't turn in ignition' problem that others have suffered. This IS NOT pressure on the steering wheel causing the problem (I've experienced that in other vehicles and just turning the steering wheel slightly solves that problem). No, this is bizarre..for no reason at all the key won't turn. It worked fine when I started the RX, 5 mins later (drove the kids to school) it just wouldn't turn. Now this happened a few weeks ago to me, and maybe once or twice in the past year. The other times, I just removed the key, put it back in, jiggled it around and all was fine. This time, I spent 10 minutes unsuccessfully, cursing and freezing, wondering why I ever traded in my Subaru Outback.

Then I remembered reading something about a fix involving a hammer (yes a hammer on a $60 000 vehicle because Lexus doesn't know how to fix the problem). Not having a hammer handy, I inserted the key and gave it a sharp blow with the palm of my hand (straight in toward the front of the car (or in the direction the key is inserted), not in the direction the key is supposed to turn). Voila!!! Problem fixed. Key turned readily after the whack. Just a heads up for those that might suffer this problem down the road.

The time tested fix; "Don't force it, get a bigger hammer!!"

Congratulations,

Paul

Gotta Love this...Hopefully the Lexus engineers overview this forum and recognize they need to deal with this issue. How many complaints do they have to get before they get that there is a design problem and modifications are needed.? I certainly intend to write a letter. The Toyota mat problem certainly got addressed when enough people complained didnt it?..If it happens to me again I wont be too happy.. Sure took away the excitement I had upon purchasing what I thought was a top notch, well- engineered vehicle...Now I'll HAVE TO not only carry a hammer at all times but a screwdriver too for the override switch!!!!!...If I wasnt so embarrassed to tell the people who have admired this vehicle that yes its pretty and the most expensive vehicle I have ever bought but PLEASE ignore the hammer and the screwdriver you see I need to get it started... Pretty sad isnt it? NOT the best advertising for them for sure is it? Now I'll have to say a prayer everytime I go to get into it that I dont need my hammer.....My kids are cracking up at the situation and I dont think they will be buying a Lexus any time soon after this schmozzle. Wish I could laugh about too. I am counting on having the same luck of the last fellow who said it was a one time screw-up for him....I even made a deal with God that I wouldnt curse out the car ever again if She would just let the key turn for me....P.S. I think I'll probably have the same look on my face as this emoticon when I finally try to start it next time. Wish me luck...I need it :cries:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fortunately, the fix is simple and eliminates the need for carrying a hammer. Simply buy a tube of powdered graphite and squirt some in the ignition key slot. I did that many many "starts" ago and have not had a problem, since. :cheers:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2004 rx330, key will not turn ignition,tryed everything, then saw where a toyota mechanic said to jack the front end up to release any pressure on the steering wheel. I jacked one side (drivers) so the tire was off the ground, the tire turned like there was pressure on it then tryed the key and it worked. hope this helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...