Jump to content

Ignition Key Problem 2008 Rx400h

Recommended Posts


Just wanted to put this in the forum. Yesterday morning my wife tried to use the Lexus and could not get the ignition key inserted. She had forgotten to lock the car the night before so we though that some dirtbag somehow diddled with it. I was not looking forward to taking care of this because it was going to be expensive. Police report, insurance company, then a tow to the dealer (a long way and a ferry ride). The key slot itself showed absolutely no scratches. Very weird.

Called the dealer's parts department and asked if they'd ever heard of this problem. He was baffled. Looked at a few blogs - one guy even suggested taking a hammer and beating the key into the slot. Another guy suggested inserting the key into the driver's side door and doing a lock/unlock sequence four times. Did not work. Another guy suggested disconnecting the battery for a while to reset any security interlock. Made some sense but did not work. I was just about ready to call for a tow when I figured it out.

If you look into the ignition key slot you'll see what amounts to a flap about 10mm in. Took a small screwdriver and pressed on the flap (it's hinged on the top). It was very stiff but eventually opened. Worked it a few times then tried to insert the key. It went in with a bit of difficulty. Got some graphite powder, shot it in the slot, and worked the key several times. Smooth as silk.

Called the dealer back and related the story to the parts guy. He was very surprised.

Wonder if some mixture of dust and moisture could have caused the problem? Believe that I'll shoot some graphite in there every time I do an oil change.



Bainbridge Island, WA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been advocating the use of graphite powder in ignition and just about any other frequently-used key cylinder for years now. A squirt of graphite powder every year or so is good practice.

Thanks for reminding us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had other locks (not in cars) do exactly the same thing. Kind of freaks you out because it's like your locks were changed. Of course in the past before remote keys, I remember door locks frozen solid in the winter and using a lighter to try to heat the key. In lieu of your problems sure am glad to have to START button.

Link to comment
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.

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.

  • Create New...