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Ignition Problems


CTL_Ls400
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On my 92 lexus ls 400 my key will only go in halfway into the ignition. The key will open all doors except glove box. Tried switching it to neutral and still nothing. The steering wheel is locked and tried moving it left and right still no help. Sometimes we can get the key in a little more than halfway but it still wont move. Suggestions?? Any home remedies so i can get to store to buy something to put in it??

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Is key bent a little? Can you try your other set?

Maybe lock chamber needs lube? For locks its not oil is graphite. You can buy liquid graphite you squirt in lock. The liquid carrier evaporates (alcohol) leaving graphite powder behind..

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I learned a little "trick" from a local locksmith which has worked well for me over the years. Because we are pulling keys out of our pockets and jamming them into the ignition on a (near) daily basis, a lot of lint and dirt accumulates in the lock cylinder. I take a can of cleaner (brake, carb, etc...something that dries quickly) and spritz a small amount into the lock. Then, with a rag over the top of the cylinder, I shoot compressed air into the lock several times to blow the crud out(the rag catches it so it does not go into your face). Thoroughly dry again with compressed air and spray some teflon-based lube into the cylinder(I use "Tri-flow" from Dupont...Ace hardware). Work the key around and repeat the process if necessary.

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tried using lock lube and still wont work. Could it be because the key is a little worn?

I suppose that is possible- but I doubt the key being worn would keep it from being able to be inserted fully. Maybe you have a stuck/loose tumbler somewhere in the lock cylinder that is getting in the way of the key. Perhaps you should just call a locksmith- not sure what other option you would have if your only car cannot be started.

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since the key works in door locks it doesn't sound like the key is a problem. It sounds like wheels are under load and putting a lot of pressure on the steering column lock. Have you tried moving the steering wheel hard in one direction while inserting the key and if that doesn't work bear down on the wheel in the other direction while wiggling key in slot.

If its not that then I agree with others could be damaged or sticky tumblers. I'd lubricate (soak it good) it with pentrating oil to loosen it up and see if that helps. You can clear the lubricant out later and properly lube it with lock lube if you free it up.

Maybe go to hardware store and buy a blank key (non transponder type) and insert that in the lock. That will force all the tumblers (key pins and driver pins, see diagram) deepest into the hull. If they are slightly bent or dirty this might be enough to break them free.

You're getting close to the point of needing a locksmith to disassemble the key cylinder and replacing the bent tumbler. Or replacing the ignition switch altogether.

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