My key wont turn in the ignition

Asked by Jan 09, 2013 at 07:19 PM about the 2007 Kia Optima EX

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have an 07' kia optima. I put the key in the ignition to find that it wont turn. I even tried the shift lock
to put it in neutral and it still wont turn. The brake is also locked and the steering wheel will not turn.
Does anyone know what could be wrong and how to fix it?

39 Answers


im first going to assume that this key works ok in the doors on this vehicle? if so then its probably not the key. which leaves a couple of possibilites. either the steering wheel is "locked" which makes it very difficult o turn the key unless the pressure is taken off the steering wheel. or a tumbler inside the ignition switch has been damaged and isnt dropping like its supposed to so you can turn the ignition. if its the steering wheel in a locked position it will move a little one way and not at all the other. put the key in the igintion and wiggle the steering wheel back and forth and the ignition should free up enought to turn the key and your back in business. if thats not it it will probably need an ignition switch which may be a little costly since you can free it up to release the old switch

39 of 39 people found this helpful.

I have a 2007 Kia optima that did the same thing. I had it towed twice and they could not duplicate the problem. Finally someone said the starter needed to be changed and that solved my problem.

12 of 12 people found this helpful.

My 2013 Optima has been doiing that all weekend. Every time I shut the car off I have to fight to get the key out, turn it on again, move steerng wheel etc. I just found a site that said to use WD-40 n the ignition. I did that and now it is working fine! I used the WD-40 and played with starting the car up then shutting it off and takign the key out. I has worked everytime since I did that.

16 of 16 people found this helpful.

My 2007 Key is stuck in the ignition, I could not get it out, it would turn on but it would not turn left for me to take it out, it stayed in the acc position until I disconnected the battery. The key came out but only when the battery was disconnect... Off to the dealer I go. :-(

42 of 42 people found this helpful.

My 2006 Optima has done this off and on for months. Once my battery even died because of this problem. I am so sick of this crap! What pisses me off is that with the magnitude of people complaining about the same issue... KIA KNOW ABOUT IT; YET HAS DONE NOTHING!! I will NEVER buy another KIA!!!!

15 of 15 people found this helpful.

I am having that same problem with my 2012 Optima. It is driving me nuts. The dealer said to jerk the wheel real hard to the right but that didn't help either. I will try graphite or WD-40 in the ignition.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Hold the brake in then take your right hand and pull the gear shift knob close to Park "P" until you hear a click, then take your left hand and push the key in and turn left. The key will come out.

10 of 10 people found this helpful.

I just had this happen this morning on my 2014 Optima that I'll have had one month tomorrow (with ~630 miles on it). What a shock to not have the key work! I tried several times, and then, I'm not completely sure what I did (I do remember yanking on the steering wheel) it freed up. Wow.

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

I have a2001 serento with a 6 speed the key got stuck in the ignition, went to dealer and he sold me a new ignition without bothering to tell me that the computer would need to be reprogramed for the new fob, also have check engine light on Code says manifold so its also not covered by the bogus warranty I will never !!!!!! Ever !!!!!!! buy another KIA wont even take it free !

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

sorry 2011 Sorrento what a POS Never again


My ignition switch jammed. Key would not turn. Tried the wheel wiggling but no luck. Car towed back to dealer today, and they are going to charge me $540 to fix the goddam thing. My 2008 Optima has only 28,000 miles on it but I was told the drive train warranty covers engine and transmission only, not ignition switch or steering parts. No more Kia cars for me, period.

8 of 8 people found this helpful.

I have a 2009 Kia Optimal and since yesterday I have not been able to turn my ignition. I did think about wd40 but I haven't tried it yet but why should I have to. I'm having it towed to the shop. Saturn just had a recall for the same problem. Kia needs a recall.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

If you purchased your Optima new in 2009 that means your 5-year bumper to bumper warranty will expire sometime this year. Hopefully you are still under warranty. Otherwise you will have to pay for the repair yourself. (Ignition switch/steering lock malfunctions are not covered by the Kia 10-year drive train warranty.) You should attempt to negotiate a low repair cost with your dealer by raising Hell with them.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

The second guy who answered this question about a year ago had it right. I have a 2011 KIA optima and couldn't get the her or if the ignition after shutting her down. It's the starter. Drive around the block and revved the rpms both in great and neutral. Then it came right out. Magic.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I had that too. All you need is some good oil for key hole and possibly a hammer to knock it just a tad. Otherwise this design you have to push slightly while initially turning the key.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Also push steering wheel against it's jam into the lock while turning the key.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

I just found myself with the same issue with my 2012 Sportage under 25k miles. This seems to be a problem with Kia. How do recalls start?

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

PB-50 OR WD40 .....Just had this happen. First time EVER and I have a 2006.5 Kia Optima with 165,000 miles on it. On my key I noticed a bluish type of sticky stuff (reminded me of gum). I used PB 50 Blaster to clean off the key and sprayed the PB 50 into the ignition. Worked like a charm. My key was in the off position and just wouldn't turn to start the car. I have not had any other problems with my Kia. I love my car. She has been through hell and back. Hope this helps!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

2013 Kia Sportage 4x4, I began having issues with the key not turning in the ignition. I noticed it happened much more frequently when the weather got hotter. Has anyone else noticed this? I was left stranded in 98 degree heat. I am currently waiting for Kia to get a loaner car in so I can have mine diagnosed and repaired. Thankfully, it's under warranty, or so they say. BTW did you know Kia doesn't do diagnostics on Saturday? I found out the hard way after driving 20+ miles to the nearest store on Saturday, per their service department's directions. I'm just SO happy with Kia right now. Can anyone say recall?!!!!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

######Answer, saw a demonstration on youtube that suggested that you place the key in the ignition if it is not turning, and give the key several good raps with a hammer and it will knock loose whatever is causing it to stick. I tried it and after four or five raps with the hammer it worked.#####

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Kudos to bburk ... 3 raps and I was able to turn the key and start my 2009 Kia Optima. Thanks for sharing the youtube info.####


No, Kudos to me and my above answer. A mallet is actually what I used too. Also the car is gone because for a 6 cylinder it was a weak E series transmission. Never use the manumatic when possible otherwise only when going real slow or nearly the same speed as the RPM is possible for the smoothest shift for say ice or steep down hill. Burning rubber just once from the dirt side road to the cement is probably what did it the most. With long screwdriver and sound source detection (ear against the butt) if there is a whine noise, it's your differential going out. Did your driver's side sun visor break yet for only $200? The car lasted 181,000 miles, put a new catalytic in and then the tranny went selling the car for less than the cost of a catalytic. Still a brand of disposable cars


Can someone please help, my 2009 kia optima key is stuck in the ignition and the gear wont go in park or reverse. Just drive and neutral.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

Sounds like the key is stuck in the middle. You going to have to pop out the cap and push the button inside with a key or screw driver next to the shifter to allow free movement of the shifter without electricity. The cap is flush with the plastic interior, use small screw driver to pop it out. Then when in park you should be able to remove the key. The key gets pushed in while turning right, pull a bit out while turning left. Hit with rubber mallet the underside to shake loose the jam from the key tumbler. Blast WD Oil or Tri-Flow oil before and after, clean with paper towels. You have to step on the brake to put the car in park to drive or drive to park, that's probably it lol


2015 kia forte here. happened to me twice, about 5 minutes ago actually, which led me here. Put the key in the ignition and jerk the wheel back and forth. And for all of you people commenting without a solution.... stop. And the guy saying to hit your key with a hammer is a moron. Do not do that.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

I could move my steering wheel and my transmission was in park but the key would not turn. Called the Kia dealer and he suggested that i try using a hair dry on the switch (at the time we had had a rapid freeze and it was -10 C. It appears that mositure and the freezing weather had worked together to stop the switch from engaging. no issues since!


I bought my new 2015 Optima in September, 2015. Way too often I can't start the car because the steering wheel is locked up. I have been told about putting the brake on and pulling the wheel as hard as I can, but most of the time I can't do it without getting a man, a neighbor or someone to pull the wheel while I worked with the key. If a neighbor hadn't helped me this morning, I would have missed work. I'm afraid if my teenage girls borrow the car, they will get stuck somewhere. This is a major problem Kia needs to take care of. No more Kia for me.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

2015 Kia Soul... Just happened to me this evening. Not the first time. After reading here, I put key in, foot on brake, grabbed steering wheel and started yanking it back & forth. Once I had some play in the steering wheel, I took on hand and held it all the way to the right and used other hand to turn key. It worked. Thanks for all your input....


I have a 2007 Kia Optima ex V6 with 135k on the odo. I was a Costco when my ignition switch decided to get jammed. Put key in but would not turn,just chime with the key in,nothing worked. While waiting for the tow I called to show up,I did some quick research on my smartphone and found similar issues with other Kia Optima owners. It seems that sometimes the tumblers get dry or dirty & one or more of the tumblers get stuck up or down. Most of the optima owners either used WD40 or something similar or a graphite lube for key holes.As I was being towed home, the driver & I both agreed that was most likely the problem. I went to my local parts store and bought a tube of Graphite Lube. I didn't want to spray a liquid in my ignition switch so I tried that instead. I squeezed some into the switch then some on the key. Pushed the key in & out several times and voila! It worked like a charm!! The switch "released" and the car started. For good measure,I added a bit more graphite lube and it's all good. Could' believe it worked but glad it did! My advice is try Graphite Lube 1st before the more costly alternatives,it only cost a couple of bucks at a parts store. As a side note, be sure to carefully clean the mass air flow sensor(Mafs) every time your replace your engine air filter-trust me,your optima will run like a new car!!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Hi I found my kia2008 the steering wheel gets locked while I'm in round about..the engine goes off..the steering wheel becomes hard..I need to put back in parking and research start to move again.I have disconnected battery few times.when the car gets slow near traffic or traffic lights it gets off.Any one suggest me.The dash boards shows key icomessages,battery in red.


I have a 2006 Kia Rio my key will not turn the ignition. Tried wiggling the steering wheel , making sure the car is in park and it will not do anything. Any suggestions this is frustrating?

11 of 11 people found this helpful.

I have a Sorento 2016 kia and the steering wheel was locked about 15 mins ago first thing I found your answers thank you all, when I went back to my car I thought if I put the parking brake on off (loose it) then give the car 2 or 3 pushes from the front then try to turn it on with the a foot on the brake and moving the steering wheel back and forth it'll work, and for my surprise it did work so 1. loose the parking brake 2. give the car few pushes from the front 3. foot on brake while moving the steering wheel back and forth 4. turn your car on And this will be the best easiest way to unlock your Kia's steering wheel!!!!!

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Help!! I have a 2014 kia optima and my key is stuck in the ignition. My gear button can shift out of gears without the button being pressed..what might the issue be


Hello, this just happened to me with my 2004 Kia Spectra. I tried the WD-40, and it started right up! Thanks for the information!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I have 2011 Kia Optima. Sometimes my car start problem. displays shows steering wheel lock, after few hours above this car start 1 chance.

What happen when you try to replace it yourself and the key wont go to ACC? what other way i can remove the old cylinder? I have a 2009 Kia Optima.

I just fixed my next door neighbor's car before I go on I am a certified Master Mechanic so you can do this but please Read ALL information first before proceeding. 1. First disconnect the battery cable from the battery, this is important so that the air bag does not get blown up if there is a short in the wiring harness be sure to have the steering wheel centered if possible and the wheels are pointed straight ahead. 2. Next pull the lower kick panel below the steering wheel if you do not know where or how to do this STOP HERE. after the knee kick panel is removed remove the plastic piece that holds the data link connector to the dash, next remove the one screw that holds the a/c and heat plenum and remove it, it just pulls straight out. Next remove the single bolt from the steering knuckle above the top U-joints. Next remove the 4 bolts that hold the steering wheel in place, there are two 12mm bolts facing straight up and two at a 45 degree angle once this is done be ready to grab the steering wheel so it doesn't fall down. Next disconnect all the electrical connectors from the steering wheel there are 5 of them with the harness disconnected pull the steering wheel forward being sure that it does not hang up on anything. Now that you have the steering wheel out put a piece of card board on the ground or on a table so you wont scratch the steering wheel assembly, Now look at the key lock assembly you will see two security bolts that holds the switch to the column using a pair of vice grips remove the two bolts and remove the switch once you are at this point if you are not a mechanic take the switch to a Lock smith and he will tear it apart and clean it and get it to work, now reinstall everything and reconnect the battery back up you switch will now work. I talked to the Lock smith and he has done quite a few of these and it's just cleaning and lubing that's needed. Hope this helps and for those who want to know about recalls here is how that works, if it is not safety related it will not be put on recall, next they wont put it on a recall until 100,000 people have complained about the problem when it is still under warranty. Hope this helps those out there that can use a wrench.

I like the "be ready to grab the steering wheel so it doesn't fall down" part LOL!

Thanks just trying to avoid headaches for those inexperienced in doing this or don't know how gravity works.

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