key stuck in ignition

Asked by 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

46 Answers

32,665

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. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_to_remove_a_stuck_key If you already got it out let me know how you did it!

19 of 19 people found this 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!!

9 of 9 people found this helpful.
710

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.

71 of 71 people found this helpful.

kenbob is exactly right. The straw trick works perfectly!

18 of 18 people found this helpful.
130

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

4 of 4 people found this helpful.
80

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!

8 of 8 people found this helpful.
75

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!

7 of 7 people found this helpful.
85

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 ..so its working great !!! thanks again !!!

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
130

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

8 of 8 people found this helpful.
20

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

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
85

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 !!

5 of 5 people found this helpful.
10

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

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
10

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.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
90

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.

9 of 9 people found this helpful.
30

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.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
110

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

8 of 8 people found this helpful.
20

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

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
110

Glad I could help

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
20

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!!!

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
10

Thank u this helped me out alot works wonders

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
50

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.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.
10

We are currently are trying to get our keys out and it's not working. :(

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
60

Well I have a 2004 Pontiac grand am and mine doesn't have a button. After about ten minutes I hear it click into park then I can release my key. Pain in the a$$

6 of 6 people found this helpful.
10

Thank you so much kenbob!! popped out the plug and the key cam right out of our 20021

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
20

Thanks irishman57. The orange weed wacker line worked great. I spent 30 minutes prior trying to remove the key with other peoples' suggestions. I even went around the block hoping it would free up wiring in my steering column. My 2000 SC Pontiac Grand Prix is giving me a heap of problems recently but this was such a relief. My plug is about the size of a dime and the orange weed wacker line went straight to the source and I could hear the click. Yay :)

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
20

Thanks kenbob, good to know that I can use a straw too. Now to get it fixed; I hope.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
10

I've been having trouble for a few weeks now with the ignition... turning the wheel helps at times but its happening more and more. Thanks so much for the tips. I popped the tab off and used a pen and the key came right out. Happy lady!! :-)

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
120

This video explains the fix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rHbrsvzxWc However, you don't need to buy the product. In my case, all wires were snapped except for one. GM MADE THEM TOO SHORT. Solder a bit of extra wire and fix the connections. 80k miles since I did this fix, and no problems.

12 of 12 people found this helpful.
40

I recently had a problem with the key not returning and the shifter not going into park 2003 Pontiac G/P. After taking the console apart a broken wire at the shifter connector inside the console took me about 30 minutes to repair. that still didn't resolve the problem but then I thought suppose that wire blew a fuse. Sure enough a 10 amp fuse was blown replaced that and everything is working fine. the small screw driver trick in the hole under the column did work and got me by until I could fix this problem.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.
30

Shooper has the ANSWER! "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." Ha ha - works perfectly -- Thank You.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
80

I've been dealing with this problem with both my current and previous 2000 grand prix gt's ... Being a hairstylist I usually have tail combs that usually help...I don't know of too many grand prix's that HAVEN'T had this problem eventually.... I found the release button fix on this site YEARS ago with my first car...just knew how to use the release this time around...awesome to see we've found the true cause to the wide spread issue! Does anyone know if it's been recalled considering the wires are too short? I'll check into this and make sure to share with u all!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
80

If anyone can't shift into park, there is a release for that too...next to the shifter on right side, there's a button u don't notice unless you're looking for it...push in with a pen...shud unlock the shifter....

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
10

Yes! Removing the plug underneath and using something like a straw to stick up there works perfect. Thank you, i am so so happy i found this thread.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
10

Pushing the button under the key hole works. What a relief!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
10

My 95 grand prix just did that yesterday and not sure where that plug is to pop my keys out anyone have an idea?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
110

if you look under the column just below the key you will find a small oval plug, just pull it out and use a small screwdriver, straw or 8 mm bolt to push the button that is there.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
40

I have a 2002 grand prix se and the solution for me was a wiring connection I found this video on youtube that explains it pretty well. I didn't us new connector and solder like he did though. I just used a crimp fitting adding about 3" of wire to the end and then with about 3/8" or so stripped out i removed the plastic clip on the back side of the plug, wedged it in from the back, replaced the plasic clip and plugged it back in. I tugged on it a little to make sure that it wasn't going to fall out right away. Took me less than 10 minutes to complete. Used a small flat screwdriver, a wire crimping tool, one crimp connection, and about 3" of old speaker wire. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rHbrsvzxWc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-2H20iOiUI

4 of 4 people found this helpful.
20

This isn't my case. I can't even get the key to release pushing the brass colored rod at the bottom of the steering column. Any ideas? All I can think of is that the lock cylinder shift interlock solenoid is bad. Or a blown fuse somewhere I can't find. I hear no audible clicks from the steering column no matter what I do. Help!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
10

Wow! Wish I had found this site earlier, What a wealth of information!!!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
10

Wow! Just had this issue, I had to disconnect the battery due to the fact that i didn't want my battery going dead over this issue!! Will be trying this tomorrow morning! Hopefully all goes good!! Thank you all for all the great information!! (:

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
20

I had to remove the solenoid. A replacement wouldn't be worth it so I left it out. Only problem is the anti-theft light blinks constantly but the car runs and I don't care. Too old to spend loads of money on.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
20

That straw thing worked perfect Kenbob

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
20

Worked great kenbob

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
1,285

I will add my two cents here I just took my console all apart on my 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP and it turns out all the wiring was correct the harnesses are okay couldn't see any visible damage so what I did is disconnect both harnesses that affect where the shift lever locks in where it sends a signal to the computer to show that you're in park. I believe the harnesses might have been loose inside or something but I taped them up with black electrical tape and it seems to work fine now I just fixed it so hopefully in the future will still be working fine so I think it was just the connectors inside the harnesses were a little bit too loose or something not making good contact so I tightened everything up with electrical tape wrapping it all the way around the harness good luck to you guys!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
10

Great advice! I used a Q-tip

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
1,285

My car is still going strong people no issues looks like that fix works just a little electrical tape wrapping up the electrical connections where the 2 harness's meet up and connect making sure the pin connectors inside the the harness plugs are locked tight in the harness where it connects with electrical tape is all it took for me good luck to you guys still runs strong after a month no more issues with the keys staying inside the ignition switch! Yay!!!

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

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