key stuck in ignition


Asked by js Mar 17, 2007 at 10:24 AM about the 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

can't get the key out of the ignition.  the car will be in park but the ignition switch won't turn back to the position to let the key out. the steering wheel won't lock either because you can't get the switch to the position to lock the wheel and get the key out. what could be causing this problem.  no previous problems with ignition. low miles on car

21 Answers


Did a little bit of research and found that there is a little sensor in the steering column that a few GM consumers have had problems with. Maybe a call to your dealer to see if they know what the issue is. Also I found this site. Not sure if it will help but I'm sure at this point anything will help. If you already got it out let me know how you did it!

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

I have a 1999 GP with intermittent similar problem. I dont know the cause, but Ive found that if you start the vehicle again, turn the wheel 3/4 to 1 full turn either direction, Then try again to remove the key. This usually works for me. Hope this helps!!

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

Look under the streering column beneath the key. There you will find a plastic plug, pop it out and use a straw to push the gold bar up while turning the key back. Your key should pop right out.

44 out of 44 people think this is helpful.

kenbob is exactly right. The straw trick works perfectly!

12 out of 12 people think this is helpful.

Also try leaving the key in the ignition in the on position for 10 minutes (turn off radio, heater, lights of course). Then try to turn it all the way off and eject it. Dealership said to do the 10 minute on, 10 seconds off, 10 minutes on, 10 seconds off, 10 minutes on, off..then it ejects. Must be sending a message to the computer, getting reset. The genesis for this problem is changing the steering column position up and down, then this problem started. I did not try raising\lowering the steering column. I will the next time to see if that helps (loose wire, crossed wires, yada yada...). Keep posting your victories ya' all

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Just bought a 1999 grand prix. a few days ago and the pervious owner gave me FOUR keys! I thought I was just using the wrong key and it was getting stuck until I saw Kenbob's answer...looked under the wheel and there was the little hole with marks where they were removing the key! Bastards! Didn't even tell me!

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

I found that at this late in the game I was not going to put $150 + in a new ignition. There is a plastic cover on the bottom of the column, Remove that the release is there. I just took a small piece of weed wacker line and pushed the button key comes out fine. The orange weed wacker line is a conversation piece now. So weigh the options bright orange weed wacker line $150.00 for a ten year old car that still runs fine. Hummmm!

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

Thanks for the Straw trick for removing a stuck key from a 97 pontiac grand am .It works like a charm and has saved me $200.00 for a starter ...i didn't want to put any more money in this older car its working great !!! thanks again !!!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2003 Pontiac and I use a chopstick in the tiny release hole. Works 100% of the time when needed

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
Barry Roberts

Thanx Mark that is the trick,little yellow button :)

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Also I have noticed you can use about any thing that's the right size to fit in that space ....I was using a small screwdriver that worked well . When the screwdriver was back in the garage I was in a bind and used a pen cap whala it also worked . If any one has tried anything else let the panel know ... I love saving Money I'm such a frugal Fart !!

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Thanks for the tip!! Worked like a charm and now I dont' have to miss work to take my car to the shop!!


Wow thanks a million. my key has been stuck for days. Took the plug out from under where key goes and used a drill bit, the bottom side of it and Bam, out came the key.


I've also used the same method for the past few years. I think I may have actually seen the answer on this board. Does anybody know if there is a legit fix for this, without going to the dealership? All my searching has led to only people having issues with cranking the vehicle, not turning the key to the off position.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2002 Pontiac grad Prix and can reach under the plastic and push the release button with the back of your finger no tool needed. Just feel around under there you'll find it.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Ok. The straw, screwdriver, dowel rod all work, BUT I fixed mine for about 10cents. My grandkids kept taking my dowel rod, I got a8mm screw with about 1inch of tread and had a flat end. (just in case someone tries to use a pointed end screw). Just screw it into the hole till it stops or you see the plastic bulge, the plunger will stay depressed. Problem solved

Roxy Austin-Sam

Omg. Thanks for the tips.I couldn't get my keys out. Was freaking out. I can't afford to fix this.


Glad I could help


Thanks to all for the Great advice, it truly helped me for a quick fix when I was unsure of a solution!!! I will be going with Ed's advice for a permanent fix. Thanks again!!!

Shalon Love

Thank u this helped me out alot works wonders


The way I fixed mine was you open up the console & get down to where the wiring harness goes into shifter check for connection of wires. Mine had the purple wire broken right there I fixed that wire & all is good. The button on column was the only way before I figured out problem. Hope this helps I dealt with that forever.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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