Can't Turn Key in the Ignition Switch OFTEN---


Asked by Jul 25, 2015 at 08:46 AM about the 2010 Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L Convertible

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I just purchased a 2010 Beetle a month ago. The car is adorable. I've always wanted to drive a Beetle but now I hate I!!! I sit in my smoldering car in 90 degree heat UNABLE to turn the key in the ignition. Yes, I have jiggled the steering wheel forcibly, turned the wheel gently, talked to the key and even begged it to turn! Still nothing happens-- except I keep sweating and hating the car. I hate VW as a company now. Does anyone out there know how to solve the problem before I just sell this frustrating but adorable car???

23 Answers


Have you tried going from Park to Neutral a few times to see if it's the shifter that's locking up the ignition?

9 people found this helpful.

I will try that as soon as I get into the car next-- in an hour or so. I'll post back if that did anything. Please stay tuned... I appreciate your speedy reply!!! :)

1 people found this helpful.

If key is able to come out of the ignition, I have found that sometimes if you just flip it over and reinsert it, that will do the trick sometimes. My truck key is like that.


Thanks for your speedy reply. Tried that also. Didn't work. Appreciate your trying to help!

1 people found this helpful.

your beetle is 5 years old- so you will have to do some repairs- don't hate that car just because it needs some fixin'- those are really nice cars, and if you like it, that counts for a lot- find a GOOD mechanic in a GOOD garage and have that ignition switch checked out- it could be a worn key, too- any used car has an unknown previous life, and hopefully, yours will be worth puttin' some money into- so many cars have NOTHING going for them, and people pour money into them anyway-

2 people found this helpful.

You purchased this a month ago? Did you purchase from a new car dealer? Was this supposed to be a certified used car? And, if so, it should have come with a warranty of some kind? Or, maybe you purchased it as is from a private party? Where did you purchase your car? I'm sorry to tell you, I had two VWs and they were maintenance nightmares. Yes, these cars are cute, but, you can't drive cute. Take your car to an independent garage that specializes in German cars or VWs. Good luck. It's all Asian cars for me now. .

5 people found this helpful.

By the way, if it was a certified car, it would have been on the outside edge of that distinction. Certified cars are no more than 5 years old and less than 80,000 miles unless it's a Porsche.

1 people found this helpful.

Thanks Mark! By the way, I believe that VW's are "maintenance nightmares" from this experience, a friend's personal experience, and postings online. My question to you is this--- WHY do so many people still swear by VW's and insist that they are wonderful cars to buy??? Yes, they are the CUTEST little car made. That is a fact, but as you said, "you can't drive cute". Correction-- you CAN drive "cute", but you will have lots of aggravation, and money spent because you insist on driving "cute"!!!


You're right, driving cute has a certain "cool " cachet. You know, I had a 1970 VW, 1977 VW Rabbit, and my wife had a 74 Super Beetle. So, I've had plenty of experience with Beetles. My father even had a 66 Beetle that through a rod and I should have learned from that because in 1974 my 70 VW Beetle through a rod at 62,000 miles. No more VWs for me ever. Why are they so popular? Well, they're cute and have a style all their own. I've got a friend who had a 99 VW New Beetle and they had nothing but problems. Back in 77 when I purchased my Rabbit new, I really wanted and considered the VW Beetle convertible, but, decided at the last minute to get the liquid cooled Rabbit instead. Car was fantastic for the first four years and then, it just started to fall apart. I did like the car and its peppy little engine though and kept the car for 11 years. Had lots to problems and got lucky in that a friend of mine was a VW mechanic who gave me a great deal on service. Without that I would have dumped the car. Now, after having all Asian cars and I think Toyota, Honda and Subaru are definitely the better ones, I wouldn't even consider a VW or German car. VWs really got ingrained in the public through the 60s and 70s, they were everywhere and the fact that year to year changes were so minor and they were less expensive and easier to fix than other cars established their reputation as a solid good car. Unfortunately, something happened along the way and they changed, quality went down and their long standing reputation as far as I'm concerned went south. When the "New Beetle " arrived, I would have thought that this would have been a turning point for them, but, they squandered the cutest car with terrible mechanical engineering flaws.

2 people found this helpful.
Best Answer Mark helpful

Thanks Mark! No more VW's for me EVER!!! I've learned my lesson the hard way. I appreciate your honest sharing... Have a great weekend. :-)


Sounds like you got a bunch of fanatics preaching to the chore. or how ever it goes. Hi i am a vw specialist and i know a many of your issues. The reason your key is not turning is because after a certain amount of time the lock pin starts to get loose and makes the ignitions hard to turn after its been put into lock position. My 2012 jetta has the same issue but because i bought mine under a vw dealership it is covered for replacement free under warranty. As for getting the lock to release a bit easier til its replaced just do what i do. If your car has rolled and put weight on the left or right of the steering lock. Find the sweet spot in the middle between hard points while holding the key forward lightly and it pops past the lock easy. Unfortunately the only fix is replacement of the ignition unit which requires all your keys to be recoded to the new ignition unit. This is a known and common issue with all audi's and vw cars and don't be surprised when i say this is a common issue with many other car types as well such as gm cars and ford even dodges will develop this issue. These issues only get worse with each new generation because the car company's want to make more for less which results in shoty parts and poor reliability. Out of all the cars out there tho every car has its own equal amount of frustration with repairs. Its all just luck on what you buy these days and how well its been treated before you bought the vehicle. The main reason for this happening tho is from the car applying weight on the steering lock while the car is parked. This is why the vw dealer always recommends you pull your emergency brake up every time you park this way the car will not imply its weight on your steering lock and cause it to do this after a period of time.

16 people found this helpful.

Look, I had a '98 New Beetle for a number of years- it was a stylish car in an age of look-alikes- the car seemed to be solid mechanically- and it was great to have this thing as a part of my life- but the important thing about this car was that I gave it to my daughter to go to college- and she was hit in it, rear ended at a light, and it saved her life- hit so hard that she was smashed into the SUV in front of her- the people in the SUV went to the hospital- the bumpers in the Beetle just popped back out, only the lights were smashed! I have never seen anything like it! After insurance fixed it (to reset the bumpers) she was hit again a year later, in the side, when a driver ran a red light- again, she emerged unscathed, but this time, the little red beetle was totaled- look, if you want to talk about worthless cars, talk about Audis, Saabs, or Dodge Pickups- these New Beetles are good cars-

7 people found this helpful.

So glad to hear that your daughter was fine!

1 people found this helpful.

I'm having the problem right now. 6-18- 2016 The steering wheel was not locked and the key wouldn't turn. In getting help they locked the wheel . I'm using a new Key because the key I got with my used 2010 Beetle broken due to trying to get it to turn. Im looking for help. 2013 or 14 I paid $ have that problem fixed. It's not fixed, I can't turn the wheel nor the key help. I missed an important engagement today due to not getting there. Help

2 people found this helpful.

you have to get the ignition unit replaced to fix the problem. Its a very common issue with all the vw's from 2010 and up. I have a 2012 jetta that already had the ignition replaced twice. In the mean time the best way to get the key to turn is put the key in the ignition and jiggle it while trying to turn it forward and rocking the steering wheel back and forth till it finds the sweet spot.

4 people found this helpful.

Thanks. Is that what they changed when I was charged $600? The ignition unit


depends ... where did you go to get the work done? vw would have replaced the ignition unit. if it was a joe blow garage god knows what they did


They death Jan, I did have it fixed at the dealership. But listen, I almost had good news. I jiggled and tried the key today. I got the car to turn on. Then thought now what? All i thought was to be sure the tires were straight. Turned it off. Tried to turn it back on, couldn't get the key to turn. Later I thought I should have backed into my parking space cause now I'm pulled in. The end

1 people found this helpful.

lol yea. Well i can tell you the dealership did not fix the car right if the key is still loose and won't turn then you have a right to take the car back to them with your reciet and complain directly to the service department manager. Tell him that you paid over 600$ for a useless fix that did nothing. tell him you will head right over to the news station and tell them exactly how vw handles their business if he refuses to do the work for free and properly this time before you head to see your lawyer to file a lawsuit against deceitful service or something along those lines. This usually will get them to hop on there feet and do something properly. i would also have them replace the entire ignition unit this time which includes the part the key goes into, The main ignition housing, and the ignition switch at the back. Be specific and if they don't replace the parts for free this time because of their screw up on their so called repair job then you will be forced to just take the car to your lawyer as proof that they ripped you off. You might even be able to get your money back if your firm enough with them and look genuinely angry which I'm sure you are:P. and i should know i had them look up my warrenty information a few weeks ago and they have payed for over 9000$ worth of repairs to my car in a single year i have owned it :P lemon this baby she was !! Any ways the main reason you can't get the key to turn is due to the looseness of the main key body. It no longer lines up with the safety switch that locks the steering wheel. This is why jiggling the steering wheel and key at the same time makes it easier to turn the key when it is in this kinda shape. I experienced this myself in my 2012 jetta till eventually it just got to be to much of a hassle every single day.

1 people found this helpful.

There is interlock between the ignition and transmission. If the locking mechanism is slightly misaligned then the kew will not turn. Try raising or lowering the steering wheel and telescoping it in or out (same lever to raise or lower steering wheel allows it to telescope). This will move the cable and locking mechanism. Also try pushing the button on the gear shifter while turning the key. Good Luck and let me know if this works

6 people found this helpful.

How about squirting a little graphite in there too loosen things up a little. That's all it took on mine.

I have come to Portugal with my Polo and whenever it is parked in the hot sun for a while it will not start, key won't budge and steering wheel locked too. So now I leave windows open a little and have reflective window covers and find shade (not always possible)! It is definitely the heat because when I leave all the doors open and come back after some time it will start! I had a TT before with endless technical door locking etc problems which nobody could resolve.


Spry some WD 40 inside the ignition switch, and then rest 30 seconds before trying again. Works like a charm.

Your Answer:


Looking for a Used Beetle in your area?

CarGurus has 7,284 nationwide Beetle listings starting at $1,288.


Volkswagen Beetle Experts

  • #1
  • #2
    Chris Billings
  • #3
View All

Find great deals from top-rated dealersTM


Related Models For Sale

Used MINI Cooper
263 Great Deals out of 10,251 listings starting at $1,595
Used Volkswagen Jetta
464 Great Deals out of 33,807 listings starting at $995
Used Jeep Wrangler
341 Great Deals out of 16,246 listings starting at $2,500
Used Ford Mustang
861 Great Deals out of 41,623 listings starting at $1,700
Used Honda Civic
784 Great Deals out of 59,305 listings starting at $850
Used Volkswagen Eos
30 Great Deals out of 468 listings starting at $1,900
Used Volkswagen Golf
86 Great Deals out of 3,141 listings starting at $2,100
Used BMW 3 Series
897 Great Deals out of 27,029 listings starting at $1,000
Used Volkswagen GTI
111 Great Deals out of 6,010 listings starting at $1,995
Used Honda Accord
1,075 Great Deals out of 70,203 listings starting at $1,400
Used Volkswagen Passat
695 Great Deals out of 15,258 listings starting at $1,000
Used Chevrolet Corvette
403 Great Deals out of 14,380 listings starting at $3,995
Used Chevrolet Camaro
719 Great Deals out of 23,854 listings starting at $2,600
Used Toyota Corolla
1,159 Great Deals out of 64,820 listings starting at $800
Used FIAT 500
83 Great Deals out of 2,308 listings starting at $2,900

Used Cars for Sale

2019 Volkswagen Beetle For Sale
9 Great Deals out of 3,565 listings starting at $14,995
2018 Volkswagen Beetle For Sale
35 Great Deals out of 482 listings starting at $12,566
2017 Volkswagen Beetle For Sale
12 Great Deals out of 292 listings starting at $9,975
2016 Volkswagen Beetle For Sale
19 Great Deals out of 342 listings starting at $8,250
2015 Volkswagen Beetle For Sale
9 Great Deals out of 280 listings starting at $7,195

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use. Content will be removed if CarGurus becomes aware that it violates our policies.