2012 jetta car won't turn off , help?


Asked by Sep 12, 2012 at 09:11 PM about the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SE

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My key won't turn the car off when it is running. I have a 2012 manual jetta. The steering wheel is not locked. Key
feels like its going to break off and I can't turn it. I switched to using my spare, it still gets stuck. Am I doing
something wrong?

42 Answers


May sound stupid but is there a button or lever used to turn the key back all the way to get the key out?

8 of 8 people found this helpful.

no, not that I see. I'll look again. Also may be relevant, may not but the key is really hot when I do get it out.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

your ignition switch is going out. Will need to be replaced. Be careful with the key, heat means electricity. Get this fixed asap.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

how to turn it off

34 of 34 people found this helpful.

Did you ever find out what it was? My Jetta is doing the same thing.

13 of 13 people found this helpful.

one day it just finally would not shut off. I needed the whole started replaced. So we had to stall it (thank god for stick shift) and then factory order a new starter to match the key. I thought this was stupid; it took over a week for a custom order. I figured, just give me a new key. Thankfully it was under warranty because it took so long. I ended dup trading in the Jetta and buying a Subaru. I'll stick with my Subi

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I also have a jetta 2012 manual and the key gets stuck all the time. Very hard to take it off the ignition

12 of 12 people found this helpful.

I squirted a little WD40 in the key hole. Not too much now. Give it a few on and off cycles and it should work well for a while. I had to repeat about 2yrs later. Saved me about $700. VW claims no fault on their side.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I have 2007 VW Rabbit and am having a similar problem. The key just won't turn into the off position, so I can't turn off the engine. I turns forward, but not back. I squirted some WD40 in there and it still won't budge. It's totally stuck no matter how hard i push it or jiggle it. tried turning the steering wheel, putting it into drive then back into park, nothing. wtf

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

Your ignition is going out. To turn your car off until you can get your ignition replaced, put a little pressure on the key as if you were trying to turn the car off and gently tap the end of the key with the handle of a screw driver or somethings similar. I just did this to a friend's car a few minutes ago that had been on for hours. It worked like a charm.

13 of 13 people found this helpful.

I have a 2011 TDI and it just begin to have the key stuck. I am not too sure but I seem to not work when I parked upward a little, like up hill. I decided to move my car to a flat parking space and I can remove the key again. It happened 3 times. Now I just park in the flat area. It seems like it had to do with something being off a little, and if it's parked upward, it puts something out of calibration.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

My wife's 2011 Jetta TDI has the same issue. Won't turn, to stop the engine. Dealer replaced the ignition switch for free said they knew about the issue but they weren't going to replace again on their dime. Going out again, this will be the 3rd ignition switch within 1-2 years. Hopefully VW will buy the car back due to the fuel issue. My wife waits a few minutes while it runs then she is finally able to turn off motor. Calling dealer tomorrow they better replace. Car has 35k miles.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

All right just messed with my wife's car. Sprayed a bit of WD40 on the key. You really should grease your key every once in while anyway IMO. Seems that there is play in the key and ignition sitting in its default position. I gently lifted up on the key towards ceiling of car (there's some play) and its turns everytime to off position. My guess is the ignition cylinder/switch has a problem part that is wearing out and creating play and not lining up when you want to turn back into the off position. Maybe its the key cause there play in that too idk. As with Jeep I now will never buy another VW.


Guess I'm in the club now ....having this problem car was stuck on for hours.Engine lock cylinder and housing unit needs to be replaced about $ 250 for parts and $507 for labor at dealer.Find a certified vw mechanic for a third of the cost on labor parts take a week as they are order by each cars vin #

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

For now try pulling up your emergency brake and holding the key between two fingers and turning it all the on position, let go ,and letting it spring back it worked for me ....p.s sell immediately...as many people that are having this issue it should be a recall on this ...

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

I did what CodeNameJesse said and it worked. I put a LITTLE pressure on the key, just like I would to turn it off. Then I used a small pair of needle nose pliers to tap the end of the key simultaneously. The key turned and the car shut off after about 1 1/2 minutes. Thanks man! I've been messing with it for over an hour.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Signed up just to say code name jessie your a genius. I was trying to get my keys out for a week now. Did what u said. Not even 1 min later it worked. I used a screwdriver handle and pushed the key deeper into the ignition while I turned the key with my other hand. I can't say thank you enough.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Same problem I have a 2012 Jetta going on my 3rd ignition was told by the dealer they are having a lot of problems with their ignitions but still no recall. I was told to spray graphite in the ignition. Haven't tried it yet but does anyone know how to turn the car off by pulling a fuse or something. Can't stop it by unhooking the battery and it's not a standard.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

My 2012 Jetta TDI is also having this issue and dealership said it would be $586 to fix. Workaround trick given above worked twice and then stopped for me, so if I want to drive I have to get fixed. Seems wrong that we are paying this kind of money for faulty park VW knows about.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

It's something common in jettas, im having the same problem in my 14 jetta and VW doesn't want to consider it a recall unless they get a lot of complaints, submit your complaint here https://www- odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

Thank you CodeNameJesse, your suggestion worked great on my 2011 Jetta, just applied a little bit of pressure towards the off position, bumped it a few times and it eventually switched off. I've had this car for a little over a year and has been nothing but problem after problem.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

thanks everyone I just filed a complaint with https://www- odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/ my car is 2013 Volkswagen jetta 37,000 miles and last night I couldn't get the car to turn off or get the key out. I had to drive to the dealer I was told 2 days ago by the service department that this is common and the trick is to turn the key backwards a couple times and keep trying....if there is a trick then this is a known defect. I am going to fight paying for this 1,000 miles out of warranty are they kidding. I will stand in front of the dealership with a sign do not buy a Volkswagen I am ready to scream. An ignition should last the life of the vehicle. my ford escape has 172,000 miles and never had an ignition issue.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

I own a 2012 jETTA tdi. I have been having this problem for over a year. I have tried WD40, Slick 50, straight graphite, you name it I have tried it... I assure you there is no fix other than getting a new ignition and key set from VW. Every VW owner that this happens to must fill out a complaint with NHTSA. In order for the complaint to be recognized by NHTSA; IT MUST BE WORDED EXACTLY THE SAME.FOR ALL COMPLAINTS Lets keep it simple and I promise you it will work Go to the link below and then fill in all your information, then just simply add the complaint below. In fact please just cut and paste the complaint below and lets get this moving.. ============================================== https://www- odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/ Key gets stuck in ignition when turning off the engine. ============================================== PLEASE PASS THIS INFORMATION ALONG.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

I have a 2013 jetta with 88k miles (I drive a lot for work) I just noticed my key has been sticking and the dealer told me the same thing; it was wearing and needs replaced at 600$ :(

I had the same problem and I watched a video that had me to put the car in gear down to S gear and then ram the gear stick back to park rapidly. This worked for 3 tries then had key stuck in ignition for 3 days had to pay to get removed. Yes this is a serious common problem

I have a 2004 VW jetta. I can take the key out, but the car wont shut off. The only way is if i pop the hood open. When i pop the hood open and turn the key in the off position, the engine, dash lights go out, the fan, and radio.

I have had the same issue with my 2013 Jetta. The ignition has been replaced once already, at my expense, now the replacement part is doing the same thing. Thanks for the info about where and how to lodge a complaint with the gov't. You are right. Enough of us have to complain in order fro the gov't to do a recall.

Same thing happened to me with VW Jetta 2014. This video helped me to ther the car off. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m87ZQawcrPc

Thanks for the info--I just filed a complaint. I have to have my 2013 Jetta's ignition replaced for the 3rd time. The first 2 times it was under warranty but now they're making me pay for it. Worst. Car. Ever.

As posed earlier WD40 was my method to fix the issue. Using the video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Bl3mdzLaYc I removed the lock cylinder and lightly used WD40 on both inside the assembly and also on the lock cylinder. I did not spray in the key hole. So I don't know if that will work. Now it works like new.

This is happening with my 2014 Jetta as of yesterday. It is a manual with 35,000 miles. I spoke with the service department at the dealership who confirmed there is no recall or covered fix. Luckily my warranty is good until I rollover 36,000 so I'll be there all day Saturday addressing the issue before I lose coverage. I tried for an hour after arriving home from work to jiggle and get the car to turn off and the key to release. Eventually I gave up, stalled the car, and used the tapping method mentioned in other posts to get the key to release. I hope all of you file complaints as I will to demand a recall. This is ridiculous.

2012 Jetta -- been happening on/off for a couple years. Banging on the end of the key fob (screwdriver handle, small crescent wrench) while turning it into the off position works. Spray some WD40 into the keyhole -- put the key back in, turn on/off, wipe off all the black crud that comes out on the key. It will eventually get easier to turn off.


I bought my 2014 Jetta used and have had it for about 7 months now. I noticed that it was sometimes difficult to get the key out of the ignition but never thought too much of it until I got home from work tonight and spent a good 10 minutes trying to turn the car off. After calling and finding out that the dealer nearby's service department was already closed, I used the method in the following YouTube video to get the key out. It actually worked like a charm and I'll be using WD40 on it tonight. Also submitting a complaint because I can't afford to replace the ignition. https://youtu.be/m87ZQawcrPc <-- unstick your key https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/ <- - file a complaint

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

In my friends 2012 Jetta se they have to make sure the steering wheel is straight and the wheels are straight before the key will move, so what I do when I drive it is get the wheels as straight as possible and wiggle the steering until the key moves

Well, similar issue to everyone else. 2012 Jetta SE. No problem inserting and starting car. Key won't come out. The tapping on the end with needle-nosed pliers while turning the key back finally worked for me and I was stuck without a vehicle over the July 4 holiday break. Hear back today that it is not covered under the extended warranty as it is not a mechanical failure. I was confused. They claimed since the "housing appeared in operational order" that the cylinder lock must have been dirtied by my keys. Yes. Although they say the keys I gave them look fine, it still isn't covered under warranty. Suffice to say I will not be a VW customer in the future. I asked my service rep if there was something I could do to avoid this issue in the future. She reluctantly said probably not, but to clean the key on occasion with a pipe cleaner down the laser cut. Seriously?! $400 gone a month after my last payment.


I also had this problem. Was told by my mechanic to spray graphite into the keyhole then tap on the end of the key with a screwdriver handle while turning the key and it does work. Still cost me $600 to have it replaced for the 3rd time in 4 years. Was told by the VW tech it is an ongoing problem and should have been recalled already. If there ever is one you can get a refund.


**Update to my previous answer** I believe I had posted a link to a YouTube video that showed a trick to getting the key to release. Mind you, I had tried for a full five minutes to get my key out and then my step-dad tried for another five minutes after me, so the key really was stuck. The video showed a guy that had a Jetta with a similar problem, and what he would do was to turn the key all the way back (like you would to start the car) and then quickly release. The centrivical force from the key bouncing back from that position was enough to get my stuck key to unstick. I put some WD40 on the key after that and used the "flicking" method every time I was done driving for a couple of weeks. Now my key comes out just fine and actually better than it did when I first got it. No mechanic needed, at least in my case.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

To every VW owner........ Please go back through these posts and try to get to the root of these issues... Wait, let me help you with that. Key is getting stuck in the ignition! I want to take this time to thank each and everyone of you for your quick fixes. However, I do truly want all of us to help each other and these posted fixed do just that. But does that help all of the other 400K VW owners that are having this issue that do not know about this post? Probably not. So here is my advise, go here: https://www- odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/ AND FILE A COMPLAINT! our complaint must be worded exactly the same for us to get a resolution.. so PLEASE use the following "Key gets stuck in ignition and I cannot turn off the engine." If we all do this we may be able to bring our car to the dealer and have this fixed for FREE each and every time this happens.!

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I agree with worthlessdog to report the issue but I also have a helpful hint. I have a 2014 Jetta with the same key trouble. I can work my key around a little and hold my tongue right and it will come out. However the first time it got stuck was not so fun and you know what I am talking about. Here is how to turn the car off with the key stuck: Find fuss box beside the battery. Pull out the green fuse closest to the rear of the box. It is a large fuse labeled 644 and I have added a pic to help locate. This will turn the car off however everything operated by the battery will still be on. This will drain your battery. Disconnect battery positive lead 10 mm wrench and then the car is totally off. Now you can continue to try and hold your tongue right until you get the key out. But at least the car is off. Sorry I don't have a solution but I hope this helps until we do.

2012 Beetle less than 13,000 manual transmission (it's like new) key stuck in the ignition. Filed a complaint as stated above.


call the NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and file a complain maybe we can get a recall

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