Honda Civic key stuck in ignition: possible causes and smart fixes

If your Honda Civic is not using the keyless push button start system, chances are yours is the key ignite. Key ignition system is common among old Civic models. So it’s no news they are faced with a stuck key ignition. Usually, you could use your Civic all through its lifetime and not face this issue. However, while not a common problem, it can happen.

So if you’re here, chances are you have your Honda Civic key stuck in ignition. Yes, there are multiple reasons of it, and possibly ways to remove the stuck key from ignition are not also few. For more insight, you can watch out for solutions to the same issue in other Honda cars.

how to get a key out of the ignition honda civic

Why does my key get stuck in ignition Honda Civic?

If your key is locked in the ignition of your Honda Civic, you may be wondering why it happens. Old Honda Civic models feature a key ignition start system that only allows you to start and stop your car with a key.

While not common, it’s no news that owners of such models may have their keys locked in ignition. If you are affected by this, here are possible reasons your key is stuck in Honda Civic ignition.

Parking lock engaged due to improper parking

Most cars with automatic transmissions have a safety feature called locked parking. The lock parking helps prevent your vehicle from rolling away when your gear is not in park or lock. Generally, to remove your key from your ignition, the key must be set properly to park.

However, drivers, when in haste, forget to put it in park. While others, who actually put their gear in Park, don’t take it to the correct mark. Because the car is not set correctly to Park, the lock parking assumes you’re not ready to park. Hence, activates and locks in your key.

Understand that when your car is in park, you can activate the parking brake, ensuring your vehicle doesn’t roll off. Here, you can also remove your key effortlessly. This also means that when your vehicle is not in park, your parking brake will not be activated. Consequently, your car may roll off.

To totally avoid such situations, the park lock traps in the key. You can’t claim to have parked your car when your key is still stuck in the ignition. To park correctly means properly setting it to park. With the lock parking feature, drivers will never forget to park properly.

The steering wheel is locked

A locked steering wheel is another common reason you have your key stuck in ignition Honda Civic. It’s normal that before shutting your engine, your wheels should have stopped moving. Evident enough that you’re no longer driving – ready to park the car. However, some drivers do otherwise, leading to the activation of some safety features.

Many recent cars have safety features that help lock the steering wheels if you turn off your engine with your wheels still moving. Here, the vehicle assumes that something has malfunctioned. Because ideally, who will want to shut their engines while still driving? To totally avoid steering wheel locking, ensure you have properly stopped your car.

That is, neither the steering wheels nor your wheels should be moving when turning off your engine. Otherwise, your steering will lock up, invariably trapping the key too. This issue is also rampant in other Hondas like the Accord, Pilot, etc. So a key stuck in ignition Honda Pilot may also be attributed to a locked steering wheel.

Wrong key

Using a key not designated for your Honda Civic can cause it to become stuck. You could have mistakenly swapped the key used for another vehicle of the same model or used a key cut similar to the current one. In both cases, if you forcibly use them, they may get stuck inside the ignition.

This can happen with any model and year of vehicle. So if you think your 2015 or 2017 Honda Civic stuck in ignition results from using the wrong key, you might be correct. However, be sure using the wrong key is the cause, as this would also suggest what steps you need to take to remove the key.

Faulty ignition lock cylinder

While not a common cause of Honda Civic keys getting stuck in ignition, it is possible. The ignition lock cylinder, just like other components, may become faulty over time due to constant use. Forcefully pushing in the wrong key can also damage the cylinder since that key is not built to fit into that ignition cylinder.

In the case of a damaged ignition cylinder, one can’t turn key in ignition Honda Civic at all. So if you’re having issues turning the key at all, a possible culprit will be the ignition cylinder.

Safety switch malfunction due to age or low battery

Several car components get power from the engine, which is powered by the battery. One of such components is the lock mechanism (safety switch). This safety switch helps lock your key in the ignition when not in park. By and large, the safety switch, while keeping the key locked in the ignition, will also allow you to move the key to different positions.

If, however, the car does not supply enough power to this switch due to a low battery, you will be unable to remove your key because the key won’t even move at all. If you can’t move the key, you obviously can’t take it to park, which allows you to remove it. In other cases, the switch itself might be faulty.

Ignition switch issues, whether due to low battery or failing switch, will result in your Honda Civic key stuck in accessory or On position. When the key is in ACC or On, this switch ensures the key stays locked in is quite normal. So if, for example, the switch malfunctions when the key is in accessory, your Honda key will be stuck in accessory and vice versa.

This can be tricky to diagnose if you are not an expert. Why? Ignition switch problems are similar to ignition lock cylinder problems. In both situations, your Honda Civic key won’t turn in ignition at all. So if you misdiagnose and change the ignition lock, the faulty switch will cause the key to get stuck again in no time.

Faulty key

If the key is bent, rusted or worn out, it can be seized up in the ignition, especially if you forcibly try pulling it out. Note that pulling out keys with force could damage the ignition hole and ignition lock cylinder. To avoid such situations, it’s best you replace damaged keys on time.

Note: if you own Honda Accord and your key is stuck in the ignition, it may require a slightly different approach to fix.

How do you get a stuck key out of a Honda Civic?

If your key is stuck in your Honda Civic ignition, you can easily remove it with the proper knowledge. So here, we’ve highlighted how to get a key out of the ignition Honda Civic. However, be sure you know the cause, as each solution detailed here is advisable for a certain situation while may prove to be peculiar to other situations.

Park properly by putting your gear in park

If your key is stuck in Honda ignition, check to see if it’s in the correct mark. If you’re sure it’s not in the park position, you need to turn it to park. But you need to take it to a different setting first – like the ON or ACC position – before returning it to park.

With your key in lock or park, you should be able to remove it. So can I use this method to remove my 2006 Honda Civic key stuck in ignition? Yes, you can. But it will work only if not putting your gear correctly in park is why the key is stuck.

Unlock the steering wheel

By unlocking the steering wheel, you should be able to remove a stuck Honda key. But this is if your key was stuck due to the steering locking out. To unlock the steering wheel, here is what to do.

Press down the brake pedal and move your steering wheel as much as possible while twisting the key in your ignition between the AC and ON positions. After a few attempts, the steering wheels will be unlocked, allowing you to move the key freely. With the key moving freely, move it to park and remove the key.

Charge your battery so your switch can engage properly

Your safety switch can malfunction due to several reasons. It could be dirt stuck underneath or not getting enough power to function due to a low battery. Charge if the batteries are low so that the switch can function correctly.

In case of dirt, try disengaging the switch by pushing the key slightly towards the steering column. This should loosen the switch allowing you to move the key to park and eventually remove it

Contact a locksmith or dealer

If you use the wrong key, it will likely damage the ignition lock cylinder. In other cases, the lock cylinder may become faulty on its own. However, so long as the ignition lock cylinder is the issue, it will almost be impossible to remove the key yourself.

And other suggestions made here may not even work if and when your Honda civic key won’t turn in ignition at all. In that case, your ignition lock cylinder will need to be replaced. That’s when you need to contact a locksmith or dealer to replace the ignition cylinder and remove the key.

Frequently Asked Questions—FAQs

Q: Why can’t I get my key out of the ignition Honda Civic?

If you can’t get your key out of your ignition, you likely didn’t park correctly, forcing the locked parking feature to activate. Proper parking means putting your gear in park; this way, the parking brake can activate and prevent the car from rolling. Failure to put the car in park will force the locked parking feature to lock your key in to avoid the vehicle rolling.

Another common reason your key is stuck in the ignition is a locked steering wheel. Your steering wheel will lock if you turn off the engine with your wheel still moving. So long as the steering wheel is locked, your key will remain in the ignition. Your key could also be stuck due to using a wrong or damaged key, or your safety switch or ignition lock cylinder is faulty.

Q: How much does it cost to get a key out of your car?

Removing a stuck key from your ignition can cost nothing and can also range around $50-$300 depending on the reason your key became stuck. If your key got stuck due to locked steering wheels, improper parking, or even using a damaged key, you might not spend anything.

Unlocking your steering wheel, setting your gear correctly to park, and even jiggling the keys could remove it from the ignition. If your key got stuck due to a damaged ignition lock cylinder, you might spend up to $50-$300.

It is impossible to remove a stuck key when the ignition lock cylinder is faulty, as the key won’t even turn at all. So you will need the services of a locksmith or dealer to not only replace the cylinder but also remove the key.

Q: How to get a key out of the ignition Honda Civic

How do you get a stuck key out of a honda ignition? There are several ways you can remove a stuck key from your Honda Civic, depending on why your key was stuck in the first place. If the lock parking feature activates and locks in your key, you probably didn’t park well. Just change your gear to a different setting, then return it correctly to park; you should be able to take out the key now.

If the steering wheel locks, trapping your key, all you need to do is unlock the steering. To unlock the steering wheel, step on the brake pedal and turn your steering wheel while turning the key. If it was stuck due to using a damaged key, all you need is to jiggle the key a bit. This will allow the pins in the cylinder to lose grasp of the key. Turn it to Park and remove it.

If, however, your key was stuck due to using the wrong key or your ignition cylinder is bad, you may not be able to remove it. Here, the key won’t even turn in the ignition to allow you to use the methods above. So you will need the services of a locksmith or a dealer. These methods can also come in handy if your Honda Accord ignition key is stuck.

Final Words

Honda Civic key stuck in ignition is most likely due to improper parking, causing the lock park to activate and trapping your key. It could also be due to a locked steering wheel caused by wheels moving while shutting off the engine. Your key could even be stuck in your Honda Civic if you use the wrong key or the key is bad. The most serious is a faulty ignition lock cylinder.

So how do you get a stuck key out of a honda ignition? Put your gear in Park if it is not set correctly. Try unlocking the steering wheel, and jiggle the key in case you used a damaged key. If you have used the wrong key or the ignition lock is bad, visit a locksmith or dealer. These methods will work for any Honda Civic so long you handle it based on the cause of the key being stuck.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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