If you get the wrong key stuck in your ignition…

Today a charming lady called me because she was locked out of her car.  After making quick work of opening the 2003 Saab, I returned to my own car to get back home before my better half.  In my haste, I inserted my motorcycle key into the ignition.  It felt like the first tooth might have cleared two wafers.

It was interesting being the 1% of people who could remove the key without actually getting any additional tools.  A lockpick was all that was necessary for manipulating the stuck wafers out of the way and getting the motorcycle key out.  It made me think what would happen to somebody else though.

For people without lockpicks or a firm understanding of how locks work, getting your key out will be more difficult.  The first step is of course to wiggle and pull the key lightly.  If you pull too hard you could bend the wafers and damage the lock.

The second step is to find something really thin made of metal, like a hacksaw blade.  You have to stick it in alongside the stuck key, right down the middle.  Then, you move it up and down and try to visualize what it is getting stuck on.  If you feel something that won’t move easily, try pushing slightly harder.  Hopefully it is the wafer that is sticking.

Of course, this whole process has an added level of complexity if you have successfully turned the ignition partially with the wrong key.  Then you have to torque it back into the position for taking the key out before performing the above steps.  You can also possibly remove the entire ignition if you have turned the key and more easily manipulate the inner workings of the ignition, assuming it is the type where the wafers are visible.  Don’t bend it too hard or you will shear off the key!  The best way to accomplish this is with some vicegrips and grip as close as possible to where the key comes into contact with the keyway.

Of course, if you mess anything up this was just friendly advice and I am not to be held liable for your own dumb self.  Call a pro if you can’t get it!

Published by

Bjørn Madsen

I am the Seattle locksmith you've been looking for. High Quality work at a reasonable price delivered in a timely fashion.