What do I do when key wont turn in the ignition switch?

Asked by Oct 11, 2013 at 08:48 AM about the 2013 Hyundai Sonata

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

This has happened 3 times in the year I have owned my 2013 Sonata. I keep trying, also lock and unlock doors, and eventually it turns again. There is no warning this is going to happen- no difficulty at other times.

24 Answers


is it always the same key ? if so, do you have another you can use for awhile ? still under warranty ? dealer would probably want to witness it happen.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

no, not same key, also happened once with husbands key. Yes, still under warranty, and you are right about them wanting to be able to witness it. thanks for your answer


Its the steering lock.. put the key in and turn the steering a bit (both sides) while turning the key and it should start. The steering gets locked when you remove the key and turn the steering.

26 of 26 people found this helpful.

+1 to answer above - do the steering wheel jiggle, finally figured this out today

9 of 9 people found this helpful.

common problem.... replacing the ignition lock cylinder (ILC) will usually not fix it permantly... my locksmith removed a broken plastic switch in the ILC area that keeps key from turning.. ILC WAS OK ... the I was instructed to use small plier to jurk the key to turn it ... it woked fo me so as to drive the car to the locksmith... call a locksmith that knows about this broken switch problem....

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

The steering wheel lock is a safety feature of our Élantra 2016. When you turn car off and steering wheel is not aligned then it locks. Put key in ignition and while turning key, press brake petal and turn steering wheel to the right ( all at same time ) and Walah it's unlocked! Abracadabra *

29 of 29 people found this helpful.

Hyundai keys wear down a lot faster than other manufacturers. I had the same problem, and it turns out my key was so worn down that parts of it were gone completely. Had my local dealership cut me a key for $13. When you try to turn the key again, turn the steering wheel hard at the same time to unlock the steering column (works best with 2 people). Worked like a charm for me. I'd even suggest getting a new key cut after 3-4 years even if you don't have a problem now to prevent one in the future.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

My Santa Fe will not let me take key out and it will not start the car. Just came from town, parked and the key will not turn to the point of taking the key out, it will turn to where the car should start but it will not start. Any ideas, anyone. We have tried turning the wheel and key at same time. Don't know what else to do. Have not ever heard of this.

11 of 11 people found this helpful.

@Debjeancag, if you can't take the key out then the car doesn't think it's in park. Turn the key to the point where it should start then shift into park again. You should be able to take the key out now.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I see it must be a common problem. It has to be the key and the lock becoming worn. I sprayed a little bit of lube in the lock. Now, when I try to start the car, I push the key all the way into the lock it seems to turn toward the start position. I can then start the car.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

My HYUNDAI SONATA 2015 and right now the key can't turn the engine on is like Is on a lock mole or something what can I do

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

It has happened 3 x on my 2010 sonata. Attempted to turn the steering wheel one way while turning the ignition and then the other way and neither worked. Steering wheel was straight. I activated the shift lock release and shifted to various gears and back and still ignition won't unlock. I tired locking and unlocking the car with no luck. Tried both keys. I haven't tried the keys upside down yet. Keys don't look worn but maybe. Of course my foot is on the brake as there is a lock switch on the brake too I believe.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Did you figure out what happened and why it did this


2010 sonata: As a last resort I followed some online advise tapping the end of the key with a hammer while in ignition. This worked. Then contact cleaner even tried wd40. But the problem comes back. Finally ii removed the ignition switch, not so difficult. There is a hole in the side of the switch that you need you use something L shaped to release the switch. So I used a Allen wrench to push in the hole while turning the key to the on position, or was it the accmposition, can't remember now. Replacing it was complicated because the key has a chip in it which means I would have to pop it back in, drive to the dealer, take it out pop in the new one and then get them to program the chip to vehicle, which I would be subject to their schedules. I needed the car so instead I took the switch apart. This is the tumblers part of the switch not the electrical connections. I did not have to take the electrical out although that would have been even easier. You don't have to take the side fuse cover and panel below the steering wheel off but it is so easy to do that it makes the job easier as you can see better to find the hole. When looking at the switch from the front, the hole is about 10 o'clock. I took the switch apart very carefully, on the kitchen table as you don't want to mix up any of the tumblers(I call them tumblers) and careful with the tiny springs. Have pen and paper ready to draw a picture of the switch labeled the left side and right side and which tumbler comes out of where. The tumblers each have a number on them from 1 to 5 which is your key combination. There was a lot of dirt inside so it worked great after I put it together.


2010 sonata cont.: there were 9 tumblers. Cleaning them up helps a lot but if the key or tumblers are worn it will not solve that. More picts to follow.


2010 sonata cont. after removing the dirt, I rubbed each one gently on a piece of 1000 grit (extra extra fine) sand paper to make sure there were no sharp edges. I considered taking the switch to a locksmith but I only found one that that auto switches and he was across town and this was not convenient. My thinking was if this doesn't work to figure out a next step plan. See next post


2010 sonata cont. back up plan. If I were to buy a replacement switch, how do I get around the chip in the key programming at least long enough to be able to drive the vehicle to get it to the dealer. There is a pickup coil at the front of the switch, you may have noticed it in one of my previous photos. It is removed with one screw. I wanted to know how close the key had to be to it so the vehicle would still start. I put the switch back in the vehicle without the pickup coil, let it dangle. I tried to start the vehicle but it would not, as I expected as the key was too far from the coil. Pict shows coil dangling. One key is in the vehicle I am moving my 2nd key closer to the coil until i can start it.


2010 sonata cont.: the chip (using the 2nd key) had to be almost touching the coil or having the key poking through the coil. Then I could start the vehicle with the first key. The pickup coil senses the programmed key and delivers the information to the cars computer. So I concluded that if I had to replace the switch, I could leave the pickup coil dangle and tape my old key (that was still programmed to the car) to the coil and use the new key in the ignition switch. This would allow me to drive the vehicle with the new ignition switch and unprogrammed key to the dealer to get programmed. Or tuck the coil up under the dash with the old key taped to it. Just a though. If doing this, check to see if this interferrs with other things that senses the keys presence. Such as, the car not locking if the key is in the vehicle, or the lights turning off etc, depending on what options you have. Btw, my steering has only locked once since cleaning the switch, so I had to tap it with a hammer. But it is much better. I may eventually have to replace he switch, but I have a plan to do it. I have not been able to find out if I can program a key myself for the sonata. An older vehicle I had, not Hyundai, you apparently could program a new key in the vehicle if you had both other keys. If anyone has info about this I am interested a knowing.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Thanks to this thread I just saved my mom from a towing fee, she slammed the key in hard and it worked. Thanks internet!

I had a similar problem, or so I thought. My key would not turn. The local dealer wanted $460 to install just the ILK. So I found one at a pic'a'part place and returned to install. It was then I noticed the actual switch was pushed out from the housing bottom. After removing it, I found the switch was broken, so I ordered one from NAPA, $15....but still, after installing all the parts, it would not work. Disassembled and found the mechanism from the ILK to the switch had shattered when I was trying to unlock the steering wheel. Now to my question...is it easier to remove one of the mechanisms from a junk car, or should I plan another attack?


I assume you are talking about the white plastic switch part that is broken. Removing the switch is easy enough so replacing it should be the same although I did not have to remove mine and I’m not a mechanic. I just learn as I go. Make sure to follow the proper steps like disconnecting the battery, having the key in the correct position, and pushing the release pin if you need to take out the ignition lock too. The removal instructions I followed were found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sY2SmBvy3ls It was quite helpful as well as ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUb5l13q7kg good luck.

The white plast "switch" was the $15 part from NAPA. And yes, it is easy to replace. As is the actual Ignition Mechanism. My problem is, the piece that runs between the two, what the steering lock actually locks into, broke while I was moving the steering wheel back and forth in an attempt to get the key to turn. I have all the broken pieces out, and was wondering if anyone has replaced this before...or should I just unbolt the complete steering lock assembly and install that...


I have never replaced that. In fact, I was initially trying to find that thinking I cold disable that bit had no luck. Be careful if you get inside the steering wheel or anywhere where there is an air bag. One of the reasons to disconnect the battery. If you learn anything about the steering lock, feel free to add it to the post. I would be interested in knowing it.

I will post pictures, and even give prices if I can. The dealership was nuts, $258 in labor to just replace the key switch. $460 for parts and labor. And.....they could not give me an appointment for 8 days. So far I have $36 wrapped up in this job. Plus whatever the cost for parts are tomorrow.

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