You are here:

Chrysler Repair/Chrysler Minivan: Ignition key won't rotate in lock


ChryslersStink wrote at 2007-07-24 23:25:26
We just had this happen to our 2004 Chrysler Town & Country at 8:30 on a Sunday night as we prepared with the 4 kids and dog for a 3 hour return drive from vacation.  We spent an hour calling Chrysler Service, AAA and friends who work on cars.  We learned that this is a chronic and common issue with Chryslers.  The short term fix, we didn't believe...but had to get home so we tried it: put the key in the ignition,  take a small hammer (rubber or dampened with cardboard or something) and rap the key 2X firmly, as if you are trying to push it further in to the ignition; turn the wheel 2-3X back and forth; turn the key and the car will start.  We went to the dealer today and the replaced the ignition cyclier at NO Charge.  We are so fed up with Chrysler and their horrible quality.  We purchase the Max Care plan when we bought the car and still we have paid $900 in repair bills over the last 3 months!  

bigdogs wrote at 2007-08-30 23:48:35
Had this SAME problem for approximately 6 months if not longer. I would stick the key in to turn and nothing. Then I would pull it out and put it in again and no turning of the key. Only after a few "jabs" and turns into the ignition will it turn...

Called up a locksmith. He said to squirt some wd40 into it. I did. Never had the problem again...GOOD LUCK.

Engine Knew-it T wrote at 2007-10-01 21:49:26
It sounds the "ignition key lock cylinder" has worn.  Dealership wants $500 to replace.  I replaced mine (99 Grand Caravan) with a used cylinder from salvage yard.  The door key and ignition key don't match anymore, but $7.02 beats $500 anyday.  BTW ...  a good hit on the end of the key, as if you were hammering it further into the ignition, would permit you to turn the key until you replace the cylinder.

jacko wrote at 2008-01-26 00:11:02
wow hitting with a wrench lightly worked to unlock the key cylinder thanks very much for the advice.

Mike wrote at 2013-08-27 14:18:27
I just had this happen with my 2003 Chrysler Mini van.  I got in this morning, tried to turn the key and it was locked solid.  No amount of jiggling or the usual turning of the steering wheel back and forth helped.  I got some WD40, squirted it right in the key hole and around the edge, tapped the key firmly but not hard with a hammer twice and it turned.  When I removed the key and put it back in it did the same thing, locked solid. It took a few time and working the key back and forth to distribute the oil and now it's fixed.  Thanks all.


stansloans wrote at 2014-03-26 22:19:07
I followed the instruction for inserting the key and then giving it a couple of taps in my 2003 Town and Country and it worked like  a charm!

Now it turns freely and starts right up! Thanks so much for posting this!  

Michael wrote at 2016-03-17 01:07:31
I couldn't believe it, but WD40 in the ignition and a couple of taps on the key really did fix my stuck ignition. Thank you!  

3Gs wrote at 2016-04-04 23:14:22
I have a 2006 chrysler town & country touring mini van. The key fob would get stuck in the ignition switch, and you had mess with it to get to come out of the ignition.. So one day i went to start the van and the ignition would not turn, no matter what i did. I even sprayed WD 40 into the switch and tapped on it yeah that did not work. So i am mechanically inclined and I had to take my dash apart to get ignition out. Ok I have the ignition switch assembly in my hands. I spray more WD 40 in the key fob entrance. I tap the ignition switch on my hand one time and it turned and is still working. I am working a video for youtube on how to get the ignition switch out of the dash.

I love my mini van.

Good luck

Chrysler Repair

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Roland Finston


Get a Free Fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

I answer questions seven days a week and respond to you in about 30 minutes. "Maxed Out" means I am answering another question, briefly unavailable, so try again later.

I have do-it-yourself experience (50+ years) and a library of 100 1982-2012 Chrysler factory shop manuals and 20 multi-manual Chrysler Corp. CD's.

I was voted "Top Expert" 2010-2015, here at AllExperts, and have answered 20,000+ questions.


Five decades as a 'do-it-yourselfer' on domestic and imported cars.

Yahoo Autos Group called The Chrysler Lebaron Club (co-moderator)

Advanced degrees in Physics/bruised knuckles

Awards and Honors
"Top expert" of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 here at Allexperts. Quickest "average response time" at Allexperts (currently no. 1).

©2017 All rights reserved.