key stuck

so last night my boyfriend and i went to the store an when we put it in park an turned off the car the key wouldn't come out of the ignition.. we made sure it was in park all the way an everything an still it remains stuck. my boyfriend said the shifter use to make this click sound when we would put it in park but now it dont he also said we dont have to step on the break to move it into gear please help me in what im to do i cant keep leaving my keys in the car unlocked
 

linneje

Well-Known Member
Generally if your key is stuck, assuming your battery is OK, it usually is the shift interlock causing the problem. You can get the key out without fixing this first as there is a button inside the steering column that you can manually press to remove the key. It is on the right side of the steering column. Some newer models have kind of a plastic plug, you can pry it out an the button will be exposed. Mine is 03, and I had to drill a hole to get a pen in the steering column and press the button.

If it is acutally the shift interlock, the culprit is a wire harness that attaches to the shifter (you cannot see it without removing the console in the center and getting the shift boot off. As you shift, the wires in this harness flex and eventually break. IIRC, there are five wires on this harness. The first controls the ability to remove the key from the ignitions. The second in order allows the shifter to move in and out of park (when you press the brake).

I had no idea - couldn't get my key out for about a year, until suddenly I couldn't shift out of park. Then I had to diagnose and found the two problems were in the same spot.
 

linneje

Well-Known Member

Above, an old thread with some links.
 
OP
colecole2020

colecole2020

Member
Generally if your key is stuck, assuming your battery is OK, it usually is the shift interlock causing the problem. You can get the key out without fixing this first as there is a button inside the steering column that you can manually press to remove the key. It is on the right side of the steering column. Some newer models have kind of a plastic plug, you can pry it out an the button will be exposed. Mine is 03, and I had to drill a hole to get a pen in the steering column and press the button.

If it is acutally the shift interlock, the culprit is a wire harness that attaches to the shifter (you cannot see it without removing the console in the center and getting the shift boot off. As you shift, the wires in this harness flex and eventually break. IIRC, there are five wires on this harness. The first controls the ability to remove the key from the ignitions. The second in order allows the shifter to move in and out of park (when you press the brake).

I had no idea - couldn't get my key out for about a year, until suddenly I couldn't shift out of park. Then I had to diagnose and found the two problems were in the same spot.
Thank you were going to try it now.... It worked so I'm going to buy that part a hope for the best
 
OP
colecole2020

colecole2020

Member
ok i changed the shift interlock an that didnt work everyone ive asked is stumped on why it wont release the key normally. its in park and all the doors unlock but the key just wont come out. i dont have to press the break to move my shifter into gear either plz someone help me this is so frustrating
 

christo829

Well-Known Member
When you press the brake pedal, you should hear a solenoid click for the one that's supposed to be locking the shift lever. Do you hear that? You should hear it without touching the shift lever. If you do hear that solenoid operate, then do you hear the other one click when you push in the shift button and try to shift the lever with the new solenoid you installed?

It still sounds like there's a problem in the interlock circuits. Did you check underhood fuse #25? If I recall correctly, that's the one that controls the interlocks, but I don't have the diagram handy at the moment.

Good Luck!

Chris
 
OP
colecole2020

colecole2020

Member
When you press the brake pedal, you should hear a solenoid click for the one that's supposed to be locking the shift lever. Do you hear that? You should hear it without touching the shift lever. If you do hear that solenoid operate, then do you hear the other one click when you push in the shift button and try to shift the lever with the new solenoid you installed?

It still sounds like there's a problem in the interlock circuits. Did you check underhood fuse #25? If I recall correctly, that's the one that controls the interlocks, but I don't have the diagram handy at the moment.

Good Luck!

Chris
i dont hear that clicking sound at all
 

christo829

Well-Known Member
Another question...do *all* of your brake lights work properly? Wondering if the problem might be in the brake pedal switch. Brake lights working/not working isn't definitive, since the switch has multiple contacts, but if they're *not*, that might help narrow down the problem a bit more.
 
OP
colecole2020

colecole2020

Member
Another question...do *all* of your brake lights work properly? Wondering if the problem might be in the brake pedal switch. Brake lights working/not working isn't definitive, since the switch has multiple contacts, but if they're *not*, that might help narrow down the problem a bit more.
yes all my lights work now when i go an turn the car off the battery light pops up then i push the button under the steering column and remove the key
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
If you're seeing the battery symbol on the dash, you're actually in 'accessory', rather than 'off'. That's how GM tells you you're in that mode -- by lighting that lamp. If true, it suggests that something is misaligned (I'd guess ignition switch or key cylinder, but let's see what the people who've been helping up to this point say).

The fact that you don't hear the interlock mechanisms clicking when the brake is depressed or the shifter lock engaged is also a problem (and most likely, related). You're able to start & drive the truck, so it's not preventing you from using it.

Next time you're on level ground, and not near anything, I wonder if it would be a good idea to see if you can get the shifter out of park, with the key out of the ignition, and if the vehicle will move, once you do?
There's some risk here, so don't just go out and do this (if something gets further misaligned, you may lose the ability to start the vehicle (unless you can move the shifter enough to make it think it's in Neutral, if you can't get it back in Park again). And certainly don't do this by yourself -- get the boyfriend to help. If you get the truck moving and can't get back in to stop it, that's a bad situation. 💥

You have a workaround for the time being, with the emergency key release on the column that @linneje pointed you to. Do you find that you can turn the key back a tiny bit further once you press that emergency release button?
 
OP
colecole2020

colecole2020

Member
We will try that 2mrw an yes I it does that's the only way for me to get my key out my boyfriend said he think when he went to put it in park that he didn't step on the break to shift it. I don't know if that helps shine some light on things
 

TJBaker57

Well-Known Member
If you're seeing the battery symbol on the dash, you're actually in 'accessory', rather than 'off'.

I concur.

I actually have bench tested an ignition switch and the battery light in the dash indicates that terminals E and F of the ignition switch are closed. In this 'in between' switch location the battery light and the PRND321 should be lit and the key will not come out because the lock solenoid is not released.

Turning the switch a little more toward start closes ignition switch terminals B and A. This is the Accessory position. At this point the windshield wipers will work. So that's a way to maybe figure out where the switch is at. If the key won't come out and the windshield wipers do not work then the ingnition switch is very likely the trouble. Maybe a tooth on the switch broke or something like that?
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
. If the key won't come out and the windshield wipers do not work then the ingnition switch is very likely the trouble. Maybe a tooth on the switch broke or something like that?
Makes sense - but - we told her to go after the IGN switch first - and she reported back that she did replace it, but still had the issue.
Assuming the replacement wasn't itself faulty (possible, but very unlikely,) that's a bit screwy.

On edit: Disregard the above. We advised / she replaced the shift interlock, not the ign switch. That was logical. Now I think it's time to look at that switch, as you mentioned. My bad.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Or maybe it's off a tooth?
 

Blckshdw

Moderator
The ignition switch has a bunch of little teeth, that match up with the key cylinder. When replacing the switch, you take the new one, line it up with the old one, and make sure the teeth are aligned in the same position. It's possible that your old switch was out of position by a tooth, so when you replaced it with the new one, the new one was set to be 1 tooth off as well.

As a test, you can slip the switch out of the steering column, and adjust it 1 tooth forward, then reinstall and test with the key. Make sure it starts properly, so you know you didn't turn it too far. Hopefully when you turn the key all the way back, it comes out without needing to press the button. :twocents:
 
OP
colecole2020

colecole2020

Member
im not sure if it did ill probably have to check it myself unsure on where it is but ill do my research thank all of you for helping me i know well get to the bottom of this issue soon enough.
 
OP
colecole2020

colecole2020

Member
If you're seeing the battery symbol on the dash, you're actually in 'accessory', rather than 'off'. That's how GM tells you you're in that mode -- by lighting that lamp. If true, it suggests that something is misaligned (I'd guess ignition switch or key cylinder, but let's see what the people who've been helping up to this point say).

The fact that you don't hear the interlock mechanisms clicking when the brake is depressed or the shifter lock engaged is also a problem (and most likely, related). You're able to start & drive the truck, so it's not preventing you from using it.

Next time you're on level ground, and not near anything, I wonder if it would be a good idea to see if you can get the shifter out of park, with the key out of the ignition, and if the vehicle will move, once you do?
There's some risk here, so don't just go out and do this (if something gets further misaligned, you may lose the ability to start the vehicle (unless you can move the shifter enough to make it think it's in Neutral, if you can't get it back in Park again). And certainly don't do this by yourself -- get the boyfriend to help. If you get the truck moving and can't get back in to stop it, that's a bad situation. 💥

You have a workaround for the time being, with the emergency key release on the column that @linneje pointed you to. Do you find that you can turn the key back a tiny bit further once you press that emergency release button?
it did move with the key out of the ignition scarey also i dont know if there connected to the same problem but my car let me drive with the e brake on
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
t did move with the key out of the ignition scarey also i dont know if there connected to the same problem but my car let me drive with the e brake on

Two things here... (and they're not related... )

The simple one first -- you can drive with the e-brake on (on most cars, not just ours). On our trucks, it's a purely mechanical connection, and controlled by a steel cable. There's a sensor wired to it, which gives the 'Brake' message on the dash, just as a reminder to disengage it. There's also a warning chime, if you drive for more than a few feet with it engaged.
But -- there are no interlocks, or anything like that to keep you from using the e-brake in any gear except 'Park', etc. In fact, the fact that you *can* use it in any gear is a safety feature.

Now for the one that's a little more guesswork...
If you can remove the key from the ignition, and the vehicle can still be moved... your key cylinder may be worn. I think your mileage might be a little on the low side, compared to when this usually shows up (years of using the same key, with metal <> metal contact, eventually wears the teeth on both cylinder and key.) If it gets bad enough, you can remove the key with the engine running; or in any gear... all sorts of neat things (not!)

Question: Can you see significant wear on the ignition key? If so, this may be part of your issue. If you want to post a pic for us to evaluate, go right ahead. Also -- do you have a spare key (not to use... just, do you have more than the one?)

I'll save what the fix for that is, until we hear back from you, as I don't want to send you on a wild goose chase... and the fix is kinda a PITA, depending on whether $$$ or convenience is important. Well... maybe not so much. Let's see what you've got as far as wear, first.
 

TJBaker57

Well-Known Member
FWIW,,, likely not much but here it is anyway!!

I have the luxury of having some spare parts around to use in research. Among these are a key, cylinder, and lock assembly. As I learn how these things work I make little videos since in a month or less I will likely forget what I learned!!

So here is the first related to lock & key assembly...

 

Online statistics

Members online
6
Guests online
608
Total visitors
614

Forum statistics

Threads
21,213
Messages
608,424
Members
14,905
Latest member
Essa89

Secure Browsing

Top Bottom