View Full Version : Emergency: can't start, key stuck in ignition

03-03-2010, 11:10 PM
I just went out to move my car, I park in front of the dumpster and I have to move before tomorrow morning or I get fined.

I used the remote unlock and noticed nothing happened. It made a weak click sound. So I figured the battery must be dead...though I don't know why/how.

By the way, I'm in Massachusetts and its pretty cold out.

So I try to start the key... some weak noises and the yellow light on the console flashes.

I get my neighbor out to give me a jump start. We let the car sit for awhile and I try to start it. Nothing happens, no sounds, no lights. And my key will NOT come out of the ignition. It is stuck on "Acc" and won't come out. AND I can't put the car in neutral and push it out of the way, the shifter won't move either.

I need some help fast... is there a button override or something I can do? What are my options?

03-03-2010, 11:52 PM
I read in another thread there is a lever for releasing the key if it is stuck, I can't find this lever.

03-04-2010, 12:35 AM
Lower/bottom steerng column cover. There will be a small removable cover. Once this is out up in the hole is where you get to the lever to release things.

03-04-2010, 12:56 AM
oh my freaking god.... I just went out to see if I could get the key out.. and all my doors are locked. I specifically left them unlocked so I could get back in.

It looks like the wonderful security system decided to come to life and lock my doors?

The Kaiser
03-04-2010, 06:15 AM
Hope you have AAA or a backup key....

Hey, once you have broken into your car, check gear shifter and make sure it's fully engaged in Park if your car is Automatic. Your key should come out then. If you still can't get your car started, there is an emergency release button for the gear shifter....

Look for a piece of plastic that looks like a round circle just above the park indicator. Pop off the plastic cap and insert a small thin flat blade screwdriver into the slot, this should allow you to move the gear shifter into neutral and enable you to move your car.

Hope this helps.

2006 ion2
03-04-2010, 08:51 AM
you might not have waited long enough when you jumped it, so passlock locked your ignition. not sure how it locked your doors on you, unless you bumped the lock button on a door or remote. if you have onstar, now is the time to use it. not to pick, but don't park illegally, and you won't have this problem be so urgent to fix. if you don't have a backup key, you can go to a GM or saturn dealership with your vin and have them cut a key for you. this will be your cheapest option.

06-23-2010, 07:59 AM
Hey, d_rock. Got the exact same problem today. Remote didn't work. Key went in -> car doesn't start -> key can't come out (doesn't go back past ACC).

How did you solve it?

06-23-2010, 02:00 PM
Hey, d_rock. Got the exact same problem today. Remote didn't work. Key went in -> car doesn't start -> key can't come out (doesn't go back past ACC).

How did you solve it?

Hey man, I wish I had a great solution for you, I never figured out exactly what to do, but I can tell you what ended up working for me.

I let the car sit for another few hours, my first attempt at jump starting didn't work.

After a few hours I tried again, with a different donor car (campus police dropped by to help, they were great) and got it to start, key turned and all.

EDIT: I did use the manual key release button first, though, so do that as soon as you can, check the other posts for directions, it's under a round removable cover on the steering wheel column

06-23-2010, 02:35 PM
Thanks man.

Removed the key already, as per the owner's manual. Will get some cables tonight and try to jump the ION off my 93 SL2... yeah...

Was it just that, a dead battery? Or did you end up doing other repairs after?

06-23-2010, 02:54 PM
Thanks man.

Removed the key already, as per the owner's manual. Will get some cables tonight and try to jump the ION off my 93 SL2... yeah...

Was it just that, a dead battery? Or did you end up doing other repairs after?

As far as I can tell, it was just a dead battery... maybe symptoms of the lock cylinder going as well. I didn't do any repairs after that.

Also, this was during winter and it was very cold outside, which supposedly can be a problem for the Ion. Luckily it only happened that one time and it's been fine since.

06-27-2010, 01:13 PM
Not an Emergency... but I think this is probably the closest thread to what I just experienced last hour. Key wasn't "stuck" in ACC. Key was removed and vehicle was left unattended for 2 days.

I lent my ION to my Dad Friday (I borrowed his truck). Didn't try and move/use the ION since Dad returned it on Friday. Battery was completely dead when I attempted to enter/start the vehicle. It would seem he was able to remove the key while still in ACC mode (Key position "jumped" out at me when I attempted to turn/start. Shifter was in Park.) As the vehicle had a completely drained battery I couldn't start or "return" to OFF position. No key was in ignition when I installed Battery Charger... but IP and warning bell were alerting me that it was still in ACC mode (No Key).

My attempt to insert key and cycle the ignition (without starting) allowed me to return to OFF. I'm kind of concerned if this is going to be a future problem or is just a "fluke". My Dad claims he didn't notice any problems when he parked and pulled the key on Friday.

As an unrelated aside I've noticed my Trunk's "Manual" key entry is messed up. Unable to unlock/open the trunk via key (won't turn). Going to have to research if anyone has performed a DIY remove/replace inspection and cleaning of the trunk's tumblers. A rare need I know but was useful back when I had the Valet Lockout problem and when wanting to install a battery charger/jumper cables directly to the battery compartment. One would think something that is virtually never used wouldn't cause issues. (Tried both my "used" and "new" keys neither work)

12-30-2017, 11:39 AM
Good Morning Everyone - I know this is an old thread but hoping there might be some pointers.

I am having the same issue as above (dead battery, key stuck in ignition, won't turn to off, etc).

I got my spare key, and opened the trunk - wanted to make sure it would open. I did not have time that day to take care of it so I shut the trunk. I went out this morning, and the spare key will not turn in the trunk tumbler now. It is about 15 degrees here with snow flurries.

Is it possible the trunk is frozen? Or is this a larger issue? Is it worth using the method above to get the key out of the ignition to open the trunk?

Thanks in advance.

12-30-2017, 12:34 PM
Trunk lock cylinder is most likely frozen. Heat applied to the key already inserted into the lock cylinder can warm it up or lock cylinder lube sprayed into the opening. Graphite is a liquid when applied and the solvent dries out to leave graphite as a dry lube. (pencil lead). The ignition cylinder not releasing the key may be either an electrical or mechanical problem. With automatics, the shift lever must be in Park position - a mechanical or electrical connection allows the ignition lock cylinder to turn all the way to OFF to remove the key. In very cold temps, sometime the shift lever is sluggish and needs some jiggling to allow the ignition switch/lock cylinder to turn OFF. Try moving the shift lever thru all the positions then into Park with an extra push and see if the ignitions switch will turn off. In the meantime,either get a battery boost, recharge the battery or remove it to bring to a store for testing/replacement.

If boosting for a start, use the Remote Start Terminal next to the engine fuse box. It's labeled. No need jumper from the trunk battery.

12-31-2017, 10:51 AM
As an update, I was able to get the key to turn the trunk cylinder this morning. Roughly the same temp as yesterday, but it worked so I'm not complaining.

I think the battery is completely frozen though from sitting in the cold. Going to throw a new one in today.