Ignition key problem - won't turn - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
1st Generation (1995.52004) 1st generation Tacoma information and discussion.

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#1 Old 05-15-2007, 10:37 PM
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Ignition key problem - won't turn

Hello -

Every once in awhile when I insert the ignition key into the dash it will not turn. Not even a jiggle.

It happens very rarely. I'll keep working it and all of a sudden it will work as if nothing was wrong. I have a feeling this happens when the steering column locks,

My wife left me a message at work today in tears because she was late for an appt and couldn't get the key to turn. By the time I got back to her the problem had self healed.

I suspected it might be my locking steering wheel theory. W



hen I got home I turned the wheel until it locked and, sure enough, I couldn't turn the key. I firmly "reefed" the wheel left and right and after two tries got the key to turn.

Any recommendations? I do lubricate the key with silicon spray every so often, but I don't think this is the problem.

While I've got you here - on occaision my parking brake will every once in a while become stuck so I can't turn the handle and get it to release. What I've been able to do so far is manage to pull it one more notch towards me and then it will release. I worry one time I won't have the extra notch back to work with. Any suggestions?

Hey! Thanks for your time and thanks in advance for your recommendations! Really enjoying the truck!!
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#2 Old 05-15-2007, 10:49 PM
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I have the same problem. I don't think it's associated with the steering wheel lock; the wheel is dead center when I park in the garage, and it still happens. I figure something is wearing out, but I don't know what.

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#3 Old 05-15-2007, 11:37 PM
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My dad gets the same problem with his '97 mini. As it turns out, the duplicate key from the locksmith works better than the original Toyota one.

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#4 Old 05-16-2007, 07:51 PM
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most cases it will be the steering lock doing that, especially if you are turning the wheel at the same time that you kill the engine since the wheels will kick back after they lose power. just jiggle the wheel back and forth a bit and it should unlock the tumbler. also i would recommend using liquid graphite in the ignition instead of silicone spray as the graphite will eventually dry and lubricate the tumbler that way.
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#5 Old 05-17-2007, 05:16 AM
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Mine did a similar thing, but mine got progessivly worse, I tried lubing it and it helped for a while. Luckily for me I had it in the shop for something else when it finally stopped working. Had to replace the ignition. $300+ later I was rolling again.

1996 Tacoma V6 4X4 Ext Cab, 1999 Corolla VE
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#6 Old 05-17-2007, 02:17 PM
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Had the same problem. It was getting progressively worse. The culprit was the worn out ignition key. New key from a dealer for $5 solved the problem. My truck had 110k miles.
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#7 Old 05-17-2007, 08:31 PM
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I just had the same exact thing happen to me and it ended up being the igniton lock. Mine started out as yours did and I tried using graphite and a different key and I thought that was it until one morning I went out and it would not turn no matter how much I wiggled and jiggled. Had to tow it in to the dealership where they put me in a new switch and gave me 2 new keys. I think it was a little shy of $300 but it hasn't gave me a lick of trouble since. Knock on wood. Hope this helps you.
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#8 Old 05-17-2007, 09:06 PM
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Thanks all. I was afraid it might be the ignition cylinder... I've got keys that were cut by the dealer from the VIN, so the key probably isn't the problem.

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#9 Old 05-18-2007, 06:57 AM
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tumbler

if you really want to get after cleaning and lubricating you can remove the plastic cover that goes around the keyhole and the clock and turn the key to acc look for a pinhole and press it with a dental pick (toothpick will do) and pull gently on the key the whole tumbler assembly will come out. clean the tumbler and apply lots of graphite and clean and lube inside too! see if you can locate the lock pin and clean and lube it try press and relaease the lock pin while cleaning and lubing. This should help and along with a new key may fix it entirely.

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#10 Old 05-18-2007, 06:59 AM
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Added Note

DO NOT REMOVE THE KEY! WHILE CLEANING!
if the little pieces fall out they are a bear to put back in even if you keep them in order.

THE BLACK PEARL
recent mods: one eyed jack-in-the-box ball
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#11 Old 05-20-2007, 06:32 PM
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I've had this problem on the Previa for years. The problem is a preload on the little pin that locks the steering wheel. This can happen regardless of whether the vehicle shifts a little after the lock is engaged, too (I almost always use the parking brake).

The easy test is to try turning the steering wheel just a hair when the ignition lock sticks. If it is the steering lock, it will free the ignition switch easily. If the ignition switch is the problem, moving the wheel won't make a difference.

It's a pretty minor problem IMO. Like I said, I've lived with it for years 'cause I'm too lazy to take off the cover and put some lube on the lock. Definitely don't want to try forcing the ignition switch tho'; like previous poster said it'll cost you several hundred bucks to fix if you break it.

C

1991 Previa DX 2WD, 140K
1997 Tacoma Std Cab 2WD, 100K
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#12 Old 07-16-2011, 02:18 PM
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Siena Key problems

We had the same issue with our 1999 Toyota Sienna both of our key's wouldnt work but the Valet key would work so we went to 2 dealers and they told me that the key's are $150 for 2 key's so we said forget it.
A friend of mine is a parts guy so he told me a trick about the toyota key's there is a magnetic strip inside the key that allows the computer to recognize your key so I went to the dealer and had them make 2 new key's without the chip inside. When You try and start the car with out the chip key it will turn over but wont start but if you put the old key body next to the new key while trying to start it she starts right up you can even remove the old key from the ignition area, so I cut off my old key and epoxyed the old body of the key to the side of the new keys I also wrapped them with electrical tape they both work as good as new. Thanks Parts guy. You saved me $150. let me know if this helped you.
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#13 Old 07-20-2011, 06:10 PM
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Here are a couple tricks that worked with my 99 Corolla:

1. Try pumping the brakes really fast about five or six times, then turn the key in while moving the steering wheel back and forth.

2. Put the key in the ignition and then whack it into the lock. Not really hard, but firmly. This sometimes will knock the ignition back into place.
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#14 Old 08-03-2011, 06:03 PM
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At 80k miles, my lock had to be changed out for 300. The dealer says it,s not uncommon.
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#15 Old 08-05-2011, 08:07 AM
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I had the same issue with my '02 at 93,000 miles, Bad tumbler in the ignition. Dealer said that this was caused by having too many keys on the same ring as the ignition
key that put a strain on the ignition . A new assembly at the stealer was $119. I replaced myself and saved a bundle.( $300 dealer cost less my cost $119 = $181 a big savings for less than 1/2 hours work.
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