Why Is My Volkswagen Key Stuck in Ignition? All To Know

Running a foreign Volkswagen car demands certain skill levels, of course. But do you know that even just starting the vehicle can also be challenging sometimes? 

Indeed, many drivers have complained about their Volkswagen key stuck in ignition, forcing them to spend hours struggling without fruitful results!

Our guide will discuss reasons and solutions for a key stuck in Volkswagen ignition. Let’s head in.

Why Is Your Volkswagen Key Stuck in Ignition? 

volkswagen key stuck in ignition
The Causes For Volkswagen Key Stuck in Ignition

Wonder why my key is stuck in the ignition and won’t start

The most likely offenders behind VW key stuck in ignition are damaged or dirty keys, locked steering wheels, dead batteries, improperly set parking gears, broken ignition cylinders, or maybe the manufacturer recalls.

The Parking Gear Is Not Set

A rule of thumb for automatic transmission Volks is always to set the transmission gear to park before removing your key from its ignition.

Otherwise, any other gear type – like neutral or drive – will push the key even further into its slot!

How about manual transmission models, then? In that case, ensure your gear shifter is placed at “Neutral.” All other gear types are unacceptable!

Also, for vehicle models with digital screens (to show the gear setting) confirm the big “P” is well-highlighted.

Failure to abide by all these rules – or have the gears parked all through – will inevitably result in a VW Jetta key stuck in ignition!

The Steering Wheel Locks

Steering wheel locks are automatic, instantly activating when you turn your car off while moving them around.

Such designs are meant to prevent the wheel from turning and keep the key from pulling out of the ignition!

More specifically, the ignition cylinders and steering wheels will lock simultaneously, trapping the Volks key at its spot.

Debris on The Key

Many people like opening packages and boxes with car keys. As the keys slide through the stubborn box tapes, some tape pieces might stick tightly to those keys accidentally in the process! 

And once you place your key into its ignition hole without getting rid of those tapes, the key will understandably struggle to connect to the cylinder pins. Boom! It got stuck! 

Dead Battery

Regardless of which Volks model you choose, their ignition systems rely on battery power for proper functioning.

When those batteries are dead, the ignition systems will lock up automatically, not allowing you to get your key out! 

Damaged or Worn Key

Frequent car usage takes a toll on your car keys; every time you turn them in the hole, their materials will wear down little by little and eventually break.

Worse, cracks or bent forms are a high possibility due to poor maintenance (most drivers tend to toss the keys on desks or into pockets when they are not in use!).

Hence, pulling your Volks keys out of their ignition will be much tougher.

Broken Ignition Cylinders

Observe the car closely. Does it suffer from defective, almost-failing lock cylinders? If that’s the case, no wonder your key stubbornly stays inside the ignition! 

Why, though? That’s because each ignition lock contains rows of pins (all spring-loaded) to match the key shape perfectly when inserted.

Once the pins stop aligning, there will be a major size mismatch between them and the key, preventing you from pulling the key or slotting it into the hole! 

Manufacturer TSB or Recalls

Though not a common case, you should still not cross it out of the consideration list!

Due to manufacturing errors in the ignition cylinders, some particular cars’ models and release years are subjected to TSB (technical service bulletins) or recall.

To confirm whether your car is affected, navigate to the NHTSA website (Nation Highways Traffic Safety Administrators) and enter its VIN number.

And while at it, you can also check other car parts for recalls, too – not just the key ignition! 

How to Pull Out A Key Stuck in Ignition VW Jetta 

my key is stuck in the ignition and won't start
Pull Out A Key Stuck in Ignition VW Jetta

A key stuck in VW Jetta can no longer bother you if you attempt at least one of these techniques. Check out! 

Jiggle The Key

Worn ignition cylinders bind the key and keep it from reaching outward. All you need is to jiggle the key several times. Do so very lightly, though, unless you want to break the key! 

Clean The Debris

Build-ups of debris and grime clogged the vehicle’s cylinders. You can clean them off using compressed air sprays or light oil squirts.

One great trick is to fish a small straw connected to a can before inserting it into the cylinder.

Some cleaning/spraying options that will work well are WD40, adhesive removers, and rubbing alcohol.

Unlock Your Steering Wheel

Some VW steering columns will lock automatically if you turn them in certain directions too far – and that process also locks the key into its cylinder.

Remedy this issue by returning your ignition to “On”; the wheel will be set free right after that, releasing its hold on your VW key.

Does it fail to work? Check to see whether the batteries are dead. If yes, simply recharge them and switch your ignition back to “On” again. 

Shake The Gear Selector

Like most other brands, VW does not allow drivers to retrieve keys when the transmissions are not parked firmly.

Experts recommend shaking the gear selectors in those cases (again, only do that very slightly), and your key will pull out after a few minutes.

Extra: What If The Key Breaks Off?

vw key stuck in ignition
What Happen When Key Breaks Off

Oh no! The worst-case scenario has occurred. How are you supposed to remove them? Consider one of these special tools, which you can find in almost every local store and even at your home: 

  • Ignition Key Extractor. Professional locksmiths use them often, too, and buying them yourself is much cheaper than contacting locksmiths.
  • Jigsaw Blade. Insert the blade and turn so that its notches can grab your key. After that, pull the key out slowly.
  • Needle Pliers/Tweezers. Use them if parts of the keys still stick out. Otherwise, they do not work well with keys too deep inside the ignition.

FAQs – Time to Answer Questions!

What Is The Cost of Replacements for VW Key Ignition? 

Expect to pay from $335 to $366. More specifically, labor services charge $119-151, while car parts are $216.

When Replacing Ignition Switches, Do I Also Need A New VW Key?

Yes. Each ignition system arrives with a different key type, which must be synchronized for smooth operation.


Bryan’s staff hopes you no longer have any confusion or bafflement about the Volkswagen key stuck in ignition. All reasons and corresponding solutions are provided, each with its respective strength.

Assess which method suits you and your situation best!

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