when I put my car in park it doesn't want to unlock the key in the ignition

Asked by Jul 28, 2013 at 09:01 AM about the 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GT

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 2002 gran prix gt with the 3.8.Sometimes when i put it in park it doesn't release the key in the ignition.I have to hit the release on the shifter several times until I hear it release the ignition.

10 Answers


2 answers from 6 years ago that may help you: Anonymous answered 6 years ago 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!! --------- lightGear answered 6 years ago 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!

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are you sure it isn't mashing the brake what makes it release your key? There is an interlock so you wont leave without your key~

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

The problem is most likely in the console. There is a switch that rides back and forth with the shifter. Over time the wires loosen up or break. When this happens the car doesn't "know" you've shifted into park so it won't release the key. Directly under the ignition lock on the column there's a small round plastic plug. Remove it. When the key gets stuck put a small screwdriver in the hole you've just uncovered and push up. This will release the key. One other thing you can do, if the wiring in the console is ok, spray some WD-40 into the ignition key hole and up into the hole in the column that you uncovered earlier. If the release solenoid is sticking, like my 2000 model's was, this may lube it up and get it working correctly again. That's what worked for me. HTH. -Jim

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You just may be right there @ Judge Roy....I had a 2000 and a 2005 Grand Prix and seems like I remember an interlock of some sort as a safety measure so that your key wouldn't get left behind...and that may have involved stepping on the brakes as you mentioned. But it's been years since I've owned either one, so not 100% certain on that.

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yes chop stick or soda straw at the column under the lock assembly...seems so perfect~

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i changed my head gaskets on my 2002 grand prix i did everything right and now it miss fireing it wont cach


Here's the solution to a stuck key issue. My friend couldn't turn her ignition completely to off position. Her car is a Nissan Cube with a "keyless" entry (although it does have a key if needed). So this is what happened to my friend. She parked her car, turned the engine off but couldn't turn the ignition completely off in order to lock the steering. She tried everything she could, moved the shifter back and forth, move the steering wheel, played with the parking brake, drove and parked again, nothing worked. She put the actual key in the ignition and almost could pull it out. She called me and I tired the same things and everything I found when I googled the problem. She called the dealer the next day and they said to check her shifter on her steering color as sometimes people, mostly women, put hair bands and other things around the shifter that eventually slide into the shifter and get stuck this preventing the shifter to actually go into park completely. Sure enough when she checked with a flashlight she retrieved over 5 hair bands. The rubber and type with a cloth coating. All of fine now. So even though I wasn't having any issues, I checked my car and found three rubber parts of an air fresheners I have hung on the shifter. Problem solved. Hope this helps.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Someone mentioned WD40. DON'T use WD40, use silicone spray. Spray the shift button on the shift lever while holding a rag underneath to catch drips. Push button in and release several times. Then shift a couple times till key will release. If that doesn't work, may need new shift lever. Button under steering wheel will release key as well by removing cover and pressing a long thin sturdy object into hole to release ignition to remove key. Again, DON'T use WD40.

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