Key stuck

Started by Pristle, October 13, 2023, 01:11:53 PM

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I've fallen prey to the 'key stuck in ignition and I can't turn it off' problem.

Have ordered a replacement ignition/steering lock assembly from TM. Harry's don't have stock and Qualitat want $344!

Have watched a couple of videos.....while fiddly, is it really this easy? Other than the shear screws, what are the pitfalls?

Harry's Price
Qualitat's Price


Might be a stupid suggestion, but have you tried spraying some WD40 in between to see if it frees up? Lube and ductape fixes all!  :D
Current: 2007 Audi A4 2.0T DTM sprint blue, 2007 VW Golf V 2.0 TDI BKD 4motion manual white.
Past: Audi A4 2.7 TDI silver, 2004 Golf 4 R32 black pearlescent, 2009 Audi S3 8P white / panoramic roof, 2004 Audi A4 B6 1.8T blue, 99 Golf mk4 GTI black, 2005 Audi A4 B7 2.0T black.


Did think of that, key will not rotate to the off position. Feels like a physical impediment.

It will rotate to turn the car on however. Convenient when taking wife to & from work.

Have resorted to pulling battery and a relay for the moment.


Yeah I had to do this replacement on my GTI a couple of years ago.

Super easy to install, but be really careful to not turn it backwards.
2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1000
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander
2016 Nissan Leaf

1997 Mk3 Golf VR6
2010 Mk6 Golf GTI


A bit of a mission, but done.

Everything came apart like the book says, although the key barrel was a mission. By that I mean trying to find the right size wire/rod for the release hole. I eventually discovered an old CD-ROM release tool, fits perfectly. The shear screws were much easier than expected.

Put all back together with the new steering lock module (I didn't shear the new bolts) screws left over....great! Or so I thought, darn key wouldn't turn in either direction. Everything apart again.

I had mistakenly thought that a plastic part with a spring fell out and came from the steering lock assy. But it actually slides into for the key barrel itself. It's purpose isn't quite clear. I was running out of time at that point and was focused on reassembly. I sense may need to address this at a future date, as it appeared to show wear on the retaining clip.

With sliding piece in place I established the key would turn to the on position and more importantly to the off position and release the key. Reassembled the rest of the steering cowl etc. Reattached battery and in business.

Only issue now? Remote fob doesn't function. Central unlocking won't function with the key in driver's door, but will lock. Doors will unlock with key in ignition a pressing of the central locking button on driver's door.

I replaced fob battery as a matter of course. But can anyone shed light on how the fob and ignition switch interrelate?


An update to this episode. The remote issue back in October was minor, I'd not plugged a connector in properly.

However nearly 6 months after this, I started experiening the reverse of what started this thread happened. I started having a problem turning the car on. The key would turn to the point of disengaging the steering lock but no further. A jiggle of both key and steering wheel normally got me right. An then it didn't. Much to Uber's benefit.

Concerned it was the key barrel this time, I ordered yet another replacement lock assembly anyway. The prospect of a new key and that drama makes me nervous. This time not a 'knock off' from TradeMe but a Febi-Bilstein unit from Pelican (Sorry Harry's and Qualitat, but $127 to my door in 3 days....just saying). This came complete with one-time bolts too.

The part arrived on Monday and my wife asked me how it worked (I think she was feigning interest in a bid to show she cares). I of course showed her, completely forgetting Thomas's sage words. It was shortly after that I remembered and also found under the cardboard base of the box it all came in the ACHTUNG! warning. In that warning it also said it cannot be serviced and a replacement would need to be ordered.

Then the car battery died. Just to add to the mix.

Anyway, while it was a fiddle, I was able to successfully disassemble, retract lock and reassemble. It's a remarkable piece of over-engineering. It also allowed me to see how bad the TradeMe special actually was. At a quick glance it looks the part, complete with VW and Audi logos and part number on it. But after sweeping away the metal filings I could see that some of that over engineering wasn't even there. Where the should be a spring active pin, there was just a pin and where there was supposed to be a locking pin, the cavity for the pin wasn't even there. The saving grace is the fact the seller is offering a full refund.

Once I had the main assembly out, I removed the ignition switch cap from the opposite end from the key and was able to rotate the shaft to the position I could remove the actual key barrel. Half a teaspoon of alloy filings tipped out shortly after that.

Lessons learned? Sure. 1. Do the work first then show your wife how it should work on the faulty unit when she feigns interest and wants mansplaining. 2. Don't buy knock-offs from TardMe. 3. It still pays to shop around and bring your own bits in.