Ignition Key will not turn. Locked? - Chevrolet Forum - Chevy Enthusiasts Forums
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Ignition Key will not turn. Locked?

Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2

July 18th, 2007, 11:00 AM   #1  
Ignition Key will not turn. Locked?

Hello everyone,

I have searched all over for a solution to my problem, but I can not seem to find someone that has the exact same problem.
There is one part that makes my issue unique it seems....

I have a 2003 Chevy Silverado 1500 LS.
I can put the key into the ignition, but it will not turn. No matter how hard I turn it either direction it will not budge.
The gear shift is also locked and will not move.
Typically in all the other cases like this, thier steering wheel is locked as well, BUT...mine is not. I can freely turn the steering wheel.

Key Wont Turn (not even to ACC...it wont budge an inch)
Gear Shift Locked.
Steering wheel unlocked and can move freely.

I have tried moving the wheel left and right.
I have made sure the tires are straight.
Tried it with and without parking break. With and without stepping on the break.
I have rocked the truck forward and backward in sheer desperation.
I have checked the brake light fuse and a couple others.
I even tried my totally unused spare key.

Nothing works.
Right now I have unhooked the battery in hopes that it will maybe reset the computer or trick the truck somehow.
Gunna leave it like that for an hour.

Anyone have ANY ideas at all?

Thanks in advance,

-Chad Bonner

Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 424

July 18th, 2007, 11:30 AM   #2  
RE: Ignition Key will not turn. Locked?

I imagine your problem is mechanical. Your ignition switch is probably faulty and will require replacement.

Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2

July 18th, 2007, 11:31 AM   #3  
RE: Ignition Key will not turn. Locked?

I have a mechanically inclined friend that has offered to help.
He has worked on plenty of cars.

Is that something that a person can do without the use of specialzed tools?

Thank you for your prompt reply!

Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 32
Montreal, QC

July 18th, 2007, 3:00 PM   #4  
RE: Ignition Key will not turn. Locked?

An ignition is just like a lock in your house. There are teeth or pins insde the cylinder. When they match up perfectly to the key pattern, the lock disengages and turns. Your problem sounds like one of the teeth might have changed it's position.

try pulling the key out just a little instead of being all the way in. If that doesn't work, try a few more positions.

All else fails, you will need to do1 of3 things.

1: Try to get the lock cylinder out w/o breaking the column (special tools required)
2: Get a locksmith (specialized in cars) to come in and get the cylinder out (replace it)
3: Tow it to GM and have them do it. (if you have 4wd, put it in Neurtal on the transfer case.

#3 will be the most expensive. All in all, minimum $300 if you need to change the cylinder.

Good luck.

Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 9

July 18th, 2007, 10:11 PM   #5  
RE: Ignition Key will not turn. Locked?

Can you imagine that once about 38 years ago, someone swapped the key on my keyring, and I was stranded. A long, irritable time later, I looked closer at the key, thought it looked strange, found an alternate keyring on my dresser, and bingo! No more problem...

Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3

July 19th, 2007, 3:12 AM   #6  
RE: Ignition Key will not turn. Locked?

Hello, I know you guys might be offended that a Dodge driver is trying to offer help but never the less take it or leave it. not to offend you Cheyenne06 but I don't think the lock itself failed but I think it'd be more or less one of the devices around the locks. From my expierence with chevy's (gm products) they have had similar problems. I had a 84 Ford diesel and the pot metal broke inside the steering column not allowing me to turn the engine fully on and also made it difficult for me to turn the key back from run position to off. When looking for a truck I looked at an 01 duramax, it too had problems with the ignition, mainly switching on sometimes and switching off. this mainly took some fairly light jiggles to get it to work so just right. My wife and I own a 99 Sonoma. The key in it gets stuck in the on position. We have to gently just wiggle the key into the off postion. I think that's more of your problem than the lock cylinder itself due to the fact that the steering wheel itself is locked. You can try this or take apart your steering column and look for broken plastic/metal pieces and see if anything doesn't look right. My opinion is do your best to figure out what is wrong with it before you take it into a dealer or have a locksmith come out because if you don't it's going to cost more. But if you have a general idea it could be something so simple and cheap you could do it yourself and have more pride in your vehicle. Your choice. Hope this helps you out. Also to take the column apart to the point of being able to see what's wrong. you would probably have to take off many parts. Not familer with how the design in. But for the most part. General tools and knowledge should get you pretty far. Also, only special tool I can imagine being required to look at it would possibly be a steering wheel puller but the problem is I don't know about the airbag system. Also when you start playing with that UNHOOK YOUR BATTERY that way when you start taking something apart you don't have to worry about it blowing up. Also. you really don't have to worry about breaking anything. Haynes Repair manual and helpful advice from a mechanic (they'll usually help you out if they're not really busy) you should be able to remove everything that your not sure about. I know on my truck i had a bunch of push snaps and screws, so i wasn't sure where to pull really hard or to unscrew something. Just takes a little time and research. Don't be scared to DIY (do it yourself). The new systems may not even require the removal of the steering wheel due to the fact of the airbag assembly. Remember. Everything on your truck has to be done by someone so, and alot of times mechanics aren't really sure what's wrong until the tear it apart. They may have an idea but the more time they spend doing it the more money you spend on them. Have fun, i'll check on this again to see what you decided to do! Good luck and oh helpful hint. Hitting it harder doesn't always work. Trust me, tried it. Broke it. Found out it would have been easier to just look at it and attack it from a different position! Get frustrated walk away come back later when you've calmed down

genes40's Avatar
CF Beginner

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1

August 30th, 2012, 9:20 AM   #7  
the lock cylinder is the problem... and you need a special tool.. sorry guys.. have one in the shop now...

spyncycle's Avatar
CF Active Member

Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 124
Huntsville, Alabama

August 30th, 2012, 5:21 PM   #8  
"Steering wheel unlocked and can move freely."

The steering wheel doesn't lock. That feature went away years ago. Nothing broken there. Does the key still work the door lock?

guariscoc's Avatar
CF Beginner

Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 15

September 1st, 2012, 7:11 AM   #9  
You can easily change the cylinder out and it is your cheapest option. It took me about 20-30 minutes. Go to youtube and search for Ignition lock cylinder replacement and watch a few videos or read the manual. All I had to do was remove all plastic, unhook a wire, press a release button and slide it out. But I don't have any sort of alarm system.

Josh Glover's Avatar
CF Beginner

Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1

April 30th, 2013, 10:55 PM   #10  
Hey this might sound crazy!!! I had the same problem. I searched all over the net for a solution just like you. I finally because i was desperate put the key in ignition and tapped it LIGHTLY with a hammer. IT WORKED!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND HAS WORKED FINE EVER SINCE!!!!!!!!! This is the best solution ive found besides putting a new lock cylinder in!!!!! HOPE THIS HELPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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