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JosephN79 12-30-2016 12:22 AM

Key stuck after radio install
I don't know if the radio has anything to do with it, but I just installed a new radio. I had it on acc so I could set everything up and make sure it works before I put the console back together

My battery died, enough to where I can't start my car but not too much to where my radio and some lights were still on

I couldn't get my key to turn to off. So I jumped it and it starts fine, but I still can't get it out of acc.

Not sure if it's something with the radio or what. I tied the wire that goes to the brake for videos when stopped into my ref ground, so maybe that's causing trouble?

Otherwise I wired everything else up with a harness, no cutting or anything

Any suggestions? I've heard of a lever or button but don't see one to release the key


JosephN79 12-30-2016 12:57 AM

Re: Key stuck after radio install
I was gonna take the stereo out and see if that worked, but after taking the window switch panel out and unscrewing the cubby hole, I looked at all the guts around the shifter and pressed the shifter button a few times and everything seemed to be moving. All the clicks were heard in the ignition and under shifter. After doing that, my key turned and came out

I don't know if that did anything or maybe the battery dying while the key was in ACc caused it to be stuck and eventually it came out because I've been sitting here with it running for about 15 min while checking stuff out? I'm confused, but it works again.

One thing, since I've had this (2012), I can pull out my key when ignition is in any position. So maybe my ign is going bad? Maybe a tumbler got stuck, not allowing it to turn?

I feel it has something to do with battery dying, but not sure why. Prob nothing to do with radio other than I let it die while screwing with all the bells and whistles on this thing. Either way I feel like a bonehead and welcome any criticism. ;)


fdryer 12-30-2016 07:53 AM

Re: Key stuck after radio install
If I'm not mistaken, the ignition key won't be released unless the shift lever is in Park position.

Removing the ignition key at anytime after turning the ignition switch may either a worn lock cylinder or key. Tried your unused spare key? A new one made by GM using the VIN may not be removable to show a worn key and not a worn lock cylinder.

JosephN79 12-30-2016 08:50 AM

Re: Key stuck after radio install
I'll have to do that. The key does look worn. Do you think this had anything to do with battery dying while key was already in acc position? Like some security thing?

deca5423 12-30-2016 08:57 AM

Re: Key stuck after radio install
You probably locked the ignition by accidentally turning the steering wheel when installing the radio. I feel like it's an incredibly stupid nuisance feature if you accidentally do it, especially when you do not know it exists. Refer to this link:


If this doesn't work then pull the cover off the top of steering column and lightly tap the cylinder lock housing with hammer while turning the key.

If you can pull the key out of the ignition in the on position then the lock cylinder recall hasn't been done on your car. You will want to get it done ASAP because soon the key won't be able to unlock the cylinder which is required to replace it without drilling it out.

fdryer 12-30-2016 02:52 PM

Re: Key stuck after radio install
[QUOTE=JosephN79;2227472]I'll have to do that. The key does look worn. Do you think this had anything to do with battery dying while key was already in acc position? Like some security thing?[/QUOTE]
Either your car battery is 12 yrs old (not likely) or its a second battery. Good batteries shouldn't discharge if ignition is in ACCessory position unless headlights are on. Everything but the EFI system is powered for use; power windows, power mirrors, HVAC controls, etc.. Pushing on the brake pedal turns on rear brake lights at anytime. The security light is either on, blinking or flashing. With door open, the dome light is on, key chime dings and the door ajar indicator would be on (signal from bcm). If the battery is a few years old, either have it tested by any auto store selling car batteries or recharge it at home if you have a charger. Driving about an hour can fully recharge a dead battery.

JosephN79 12-30-2016 06:51 PM

Re: Key stuck after radio install
My lights were on, I had my shifter in a position to work around the console. I think they only turn off when I'm in park, then I can turn them off manually but not the parking lights. I had stereo on too messing with it. I killed my battery. I sat in drive with it running for 15/20 minutes. I bought the battery a couple years ago, replacing the original one.

Just wasn't sure why the key was stuck or wouldn't turn back. I'm gonna look into ignitions. I saw a lot of threads about ions having a problem/recall

fdryer 12-30-2016 07:22 PM

Re: Key stuck after radio install
Headlights on for a few hours is one way to kill a battery. Its always suggested to disconnect power, either battery disconnect or in certain situations, a fuse powering the circuit that's being worked on. Once battery voltage drops below around 10 volts, strange electrical and electronic events can occur. The ignition key not being released may be one of them. As long as this isn't recurring with battery charged, charging while driving, you can probably ignore this one time event. Consider what you did and look back. Did this ever occur before during ownership? And does it reoccur after this project? If not, as days turn into weeks without this reoccurring, this is probably due to battery voltage dropping well below operating range of electronics.

JosephN79 12-30-2016 07:39 PM

Re: Key stuck after radio install
It's never don't this before. Once it turned all the way off after running in the driveway for about 20 min, I took it for a half hour drive while I listened to the new radio. I came home, the key cycles fine and I haven't had trouble since.

I was looking up cylinder lock replacements on YouTube, specifically for a 2007 vue. It looked do-able. Where I place the new tumblers in same order as the old cylinder...

I have new keys I had cut with my orig key that was already 8 years old when I got it. I'm gonna try to see how they do. Other than the orig key coming out regardless of position, it works fine.

However, sometimes when I turn the car off and pull the key out, the outermost "slot" isn't always all the way to off. In that case i put the tip of the key in just enough to turn it that last 1/8" and I feel it pop into place. If that makes any sense. I should mention it takes no pressure to do this, I kind of just "help" it along..

I understand deca talking about the wheel lock too. That is a pita when it happens but this wasn't the case here.


fdryer 12-30-2016 09:11 PM

Re: Key stuck after radio install
Its been repeated many times on these forums to never make new keys from old ones. The best is to have GM make them based on car VIN to eliminate copying used keys. A fas as lock cylinders go, brass tumblers are the mainstay of most locks used everywhere for reliability and long term use regardless of whether or not lube is used. Brass tumblers are less prone to the wide temperature range our vehicles suffer, from subzero Arctic weather, desert high heat/low humidity and jungle heat/high humidity. Ignition lock cylinders have an added feature to prevent key removal in automatics unless the shift lever is placed in Park position. Either an electro mechanical setup is used to coordinate shift lever movement with the lock cylinder position with a gate to prevent key removal or some other way is used. The same design is incorporated in the brake xmission shift lock to prevent shifting into gear unless the brake pedal is pressed. Safety designs to prevent inadvertent engine down while driving whether from poor quality control of lock cylinders or allowing a vehicle to move without the brake pedal pressed when shifting out of Park position. Key removal is restricted until shifting into Park and turning the key all the way to OFF before removal is allowed.

Since retaining the key occurred during battery drain with headlights on while replacing the radio, and not occurring since, this doesn't seem to be a lock cylinder problem. Your choice.

deca5423 12-31-2016 09:43 AM

Re: Key stuck after radio install
He does have a lock cylinder problem, though. You are not supposed to be able to pull the key out unless it is in the off position. I'm surprised he hasn't gotten the notifications in the mail. GM keeps sending them to me because mine completely went years before the recall and I already replace it myself.


JosephN79 12-31-2016 12:29 PM

Re: Key stuck after radio install
I didn't know the dealer can make a key based on your vin.. Ill def go have that done. I thought maybe the key came out because its worn.

I haven't had any trouble with the key not turning since the other night.

If the key coming out any time is all that happens I'm fine with it, because it hasn't caused any bad situations, but maybe a new key will make a difference in that...always good to have a copy

Thanks Dryer, you're always helpful. You too, Deca.

The new stereo works great, btw :)

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