the key won't turn in the ignition

Asked by Aug 16, 2017 at 12:10 AM about the 2004 Chevrolet Malibu

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

the wheel is not locked

4 Answers


hello, it sounds like you hit the "9/10" defective ignition, tap it lightly with a ratchet and try to turn it, if you get it to turn DO NOT SHUT IT OFF, instead quickly get the steering coloum apart and use a needle to remove the ignitionit should be half a turn for the tumbler unlock position, you might need a "tech/mechanic" to disassemble the coloum


heres the thing, the tapping thing only works for so long. I've had to fix this very same issue before. You'll have to dissemble/remove the ignition coil cylinder (not steering column - that's like saying you have to take the entire steering wheel off/etc). There are youtube videos on this. might have to select another car but you'll get the idea. There are like 8 or so "keys" that drop in small slots. These keys collect dust and get stuck over time and do not drop into place overtime, preventing you from pushing the key in and turning the ignition on. I believe if you follow the instructions that come with the various keys, you can copy the settings/keys from the old cylinder (put them in the same order with the same "keys" and this should accept your old key in your new ignition coil cylinder, or if your key is a non programmable key, you can simply keep everything the same as it already is in the new key cylinder and throw the old key away. I have a old jeep grand Cherokee, no programmable key. I wasted over 2 hours trying to learn this and I didn't even need to program do the same exact key settings as the original cylinder, but I did it initially thinking I had to so I learned it. You can go to the autostore and they'll order you a new one.


so, i apologize for the confusion, but i had meant remove the ignition tumbler not the steering column, i replaced my ignition on my 2002 buick (same ignition as your's) with an older one that works, if the pictures load i have some pictures of what i meant, otherwise remove the plastic from around the steering colomn at the top and see if yo can turn the ignition "past the start position" ( unhook the battery for that) and use a needle or like to remove the ignition tumbler (its the cylinder that you were talking about),


oh forgot to say it, you can't remove the ignition tumbler if you can't turn the ignition, ( unless yo want to breaksome thing) , another trick is disassemble the ignition system (against the law) and turn the ignition box by hand its on the opisite side of the steering coloumn from the tumbler, the ignition box has three screws and its a white or black box and yes its square, please do know this if you try to drive it after starting it the wheel will lock, and if your unlucky you get stopped and told too prove ownership of the vehicle, so i suggest just stick to main steet and fix the ignition. or you know what, break the end of the tumbler and use a screwdriver and manually turn the tumbler, that should help you take the ignition tumbler out, careful though, the coloumn is aluminum.

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