Key STUCK in Ignition :(


I only ever had one key for my 93, so I have a replacement made (it’s a tibbe key). The new key worked perfectly on the door lock. I inserted it into the ignition, turned it with no troubles and started the car. When I turned the car off and tried to remove the key it wouldn’t come out!

I can rotate the key from off to accessory to run to start, and back again without any issues. In the off position I can pull it out about half an inch and then it get’s stuck.

I’ve tried jiggling it, holding it to one side of the other, spraying a little lube in there… Nothing. Any ideas?

(motorcarman) #2

The new cut keys should be ‘buffed’ heavily to take all the sharp edges off the cuts.
I always use a wire wheel to smooth the cuts (in BOTH directions) so it feels like all the sharp angles are removed before I use the key for the first time.

You can run your fingers over the cuts to ensure that they won’t catch on the plates in the lock.

(Don’t use a ‘grinding wheel’. We had a porter at the dealer that used one when we asked him to smooth a key before it was given to the customer. The key was ROUND when he gave it to the customer!!)



I didn’t realize that buffing it was required. How do I get the key out so that I can buff it? :crazy_face:

(Robin O'Connor) #4

Keep working at it I suppose? Barring taking the barrel apart (not sure if you can do that with the key still in?) there dosen’t seem to be much else you can do.

(motorcarman) #5

I think the key needs to be in position II for the release button to be depressed so the cylinder can be removed from the lock barrel in the column. I have not done a lock barrel replacement on XJ40 in several decades.

I’m sure the procedure is in the repair manual.

The cylinder out of the column could be worked on more easily.

I do remember getting a little worried when I used a fresh cut key and the sharp edges prevented the easy key removal. I managed to get the key out and buffed the H@LL out of the key before I used it again.


(David Martin) #6

Have you tried a little tension on the steering wheel while wiggling?


I took the steering column cover off hoping to find the release button for the lock cylinder, but it isn’t apparent. Can you describe it’s location?

Yes, didn’t help.

(Grooveman) #8

Dan …

If you still haven’t gotten the key out, this one time I would suggest FORCE over FINESSE.

You could clamp a pair of vice grips onto the end of the key to give you something to hold on to
and with the key rotated to the off position give it some serious yanks. It sounds like a bit
of a spur on your new key is not letting it release and you’ll need some real pressure to
overcome that.

If you’re afraid that the grips would ruin the plastic body of the key you could try take a small open-end wrench and slip it around the key between the lock and the black key body, This will allow you to apply
some good leverage pressure.

Finally (and this may work best) take a piece of steel about 12" long by 1" wide with a thickness that will just fit between the key body and the lock. Now cut a slot in the end of the steel that will just slide over the shaft of the key and you’ll have something that can supply some good prying pressure.


Oh I’m past that. I cut the plastic part of the key off so that I could slip the steering column cover over it :joy:

I could probably get a slide hammer on it, and it would definitely come out. I just don’t want it to drag all the pins out of the tumbler with it.

(motorcarman) #10

The lock assy will come off if you ‘drift’ the shear bolts out of the column. (use a punch to unscrew the bolts)
You can get a better look at the lock with it on the bench.
I think there is a ‘button’ to release the lock cylinder with the key in position II.


(Casso) #11

I’ve just measured my key, the ‘cut’ portion is less than 1/2" long, if your key is moving over 1/2" than it could be clear of the tumblers and only snagging on one or both of the shoulders.
It sounds like a nightmare ! Good luck.

( Larry ) #12

The discs (tumblers) are hard steel and the key is softer brass …so …a good sharp series of yanks should allow the key to give up its shape before the disc gives out, but either way, the thing will come out.

(Mike Stone) #13

Dan - just curious, did you resolve this?