Honda CRV Key Stuck In Ignition: Causes & Fixes

Several factors can cause car keys to get stuck in the ignition. Some of these are prevalent in all cars, while some are car-specific issues. For instance, the reasons for a Subaru key stuck in ignition could be different from why a Honda accord key stuck in ignition. With that in mind, this article will discuss the reasons and how to fix a Honda CRV key stuck-in ignition issue.

But first, you need to understand that issues like a key won’t come out of ignition; Honda CRV is not common. You can run the vehicle throughout its lifespan without experiencing this issue. Plus, even if you have this issue, do not go straight to the lock cylinder first just because someone suggested that. You have to start with the most common possible fix.

honda crv key stuck in ignition

Why does my key get stuck in the ignition Honda CRV?

Like Honda civic key stuck in ignition, several factors can cause your Honda CRV key to get stuck in the ignition. Knowing why your Honda CRV is stuck in the ignition is half solved. Here, we’ll outline the probable causes of the problem. This list is in no specific order.

Low battery

Car batteries play more significant roles in cars than we can imagine. Most motorists think the car battery only provides power to start the car. While that is true to an extent, your car battery does much more than that.

If your car battery is low, it may not provide the proper electric flow needed to engage the safety mechanism in the ignition housing. Since there’s not enough current to tell the mechanism when the car is in park and lock position, the mechanism will think otherwise, leaving the key stuck in the ignition.

If this is the leading cause, the only solution would be to jump the battery with a jumper cable and recharge or replace the battery.

Wrong key

You may have mistakenly put the wrong key into the ignition if you have two similar keys. This doesn’t happen all the time, but it can be the root cause. Crosscheck if you have the right key in the ignition.

Steering lock

Newer model Honda CRVs feature a steering lock. This system locks the steering wheel whenever you park your vehicle and it wants to roll. The system will detect when a parked vehicle is rolling. The mechanism can also lock the key when you want to switch off a moving car.

This feature mainly activates when a car is parked on a hill and wants to roll to oncoming vehicles. Once this mechanism activates, it’ll lock the steering and stick the key in the ignition.

Parking lock

All automatic Honda CRV from feature a parking lock that prevents you from removing the key from the ignition unless the vehicle is in the park position. So, if your 2000 or 2007 Honda CRV key is stuck in the ignition, check the gear position and ensure the gear is in the park.

The key is stuck in the ignition when not in the park is the manufacturer’s way of telling you to put the car in park before getting out of the car.

Even if the dashboard shows the gear selector is in the park, crosscheck the selector by shifting the gear from the park to the last gear. It could be the selector is stuck between the reverse and park. 

Ignition lock cylinder

The Honda CRV Ignition cylinder does not last the life of the vehicle. It can fail over time. And when it does, it’ll stick the key in the ignition. A faulty ignition lock cylinder is a common reason why the key is stuck in Honda Civic ignition and other car models.

Although it is less common than lousy ignition keys, your keys can become faulty in several ways. Keys can become bad by getting rust, bent, worn, or accumulating debris.

Bent key

Your car key can bend over time under regular use. This is common with cheap duplicate keys. If this is the leading cause, you’ll have to get a new key. Throw away the bent one and duplicate the spare.

Rusted key

Keys can rust even without you knowing it. The rust must not be that big; it just has to be enough to keep it from moving freely. But once something starts coming, it’ll likely come back.

Dirt or debris

Keys are meant for locking and unlocking doors. If you use the ignition key for cleaning, scratching, or opening something, debris may stick to it. This can cause your 2001 Honda CRV key to be stuck in ignition. This can happen to any car, make and model.

Worn Key

Usually, keys wear under regular use. If the wear increases, they’ll start causing issues in the ignition lock. Sometimes, the key won’t go into the ignition; other times, it’ll get stuck.

If your key is stuck in the ignition, or your Honda HRV key is stuck in ignition, it could be the key is worn. The feasible solution here will be to replace the key.

Hair elastic stuck in the shifter mechanism

This issue is most prevalent in old Honda CRVs. There’s a huge hole in the steering column. Suppose your wife or daughter mistakenly drops elastic hair bands used in making ponytails and all that. In that case, it may find its way into the gear selector housing and tangle the solenoid that controls the key release mechanism.

This has a unique symptom. If this is the culprit on a 1998 to 2001 model, the 2001 Honda CRV key will stuck in ignition. You can only remove the key when you disconnect the battery terminal. This hair elastic stuck is rare and mostly happens in ladies’ cars.

Faulty transmission range switch (TRS)

The range switch, also called the neutral safety switch, is located at the tail of your Honda CRV transmission and screwed in with two 10mm bolts. It tells the car computer the position you want the car to be in, whether you want to be in the park, reverse, Neutral, or drive.

If the switch becomes faulty, it may send a false signal to the PCM, the car computer. When this happens, the computer may think the car is not in the park, even when you leave the gear selector in the park position.

Having explained the probable reasons your key won’t come out of the ignition Honda CRV, you may be wondering how do you get a stuck key out of the Honda ignition. I’ll address that in the subsequent sections.

honda crv key won't come out of ignition

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

Since there are multiple reasons your Honda key could get stuck in the ignition, let’s see how to fix a 2008 Honda CRV stuck in ignition and other CRV models.

Disconnect the battery

Sometimes, disconnecting your negative battery terminal will make the release switch allow you to remove the stuck key. However, the car must be in the park and in a lock position before disconnecting the car battery. If not, the key may not come out even after disconnecting the battery terminal.

Recharge low battery

If your key is stuck in the ignition and the Honda CRV refuses to start, chances are you have a low battery. Check the battery level and ensure the battery is still working correctly. If not, you can replace or recharge the battery with a trickle charger or any other battery charger. If a low or dead battery is the culprit, recharging or replacing the battery is all you need to fix the underlying problem.

Wiggle the steering wheel

As explained earlier, if the steering wheel is locked, you can’t remove the key until you unlock it. To unlock it, wiggle the steering back and forth and see if that rectifies the issue. You may have to try this several times before the wheel will unlock.

If you have two Honda CRV cars, you may have put the Honda CRV wrong key in ignition. Wiggling the steering can also help you remove the wrong key from the ignition. In all you do, do not wiggle the steering with force. Do it gently to avoid causing damage to the steering system.

Put the gear selector in park

Check the dashboard and ensure the vehicle is in the park. If the dashboard is not showing the gear position, try shifting the gear selector. You likely have issues with the selector if it shows in any other position. But don’t conclude yet. Try wiggling the selector back and forth from the park to any other position. If it enters park, gently remove the key.

Even if the dashboard shows the vehicle is in park position, there are chances the selector is not fully in park. Try shifting it from park to other gear positions and return it to park. When in park, try shifting it a bit further and see if that will address the underlying issues.

Replace the ignition lock cylinder

The ignition lock cylinder can become faulty over time. When it does, it’ll manifest in several ways. It can prevent the key from going into the ignition; the key is stuck in the ignition, or the key not turning.

If any of these happens repeatedly, you likely have a lousy lock cylinder that needs replacement. Unfortunately, this is not a DIYer task. So, you may have to contact a mechanic to replace the lock cylinder.

Replace bad keys

Keys can damage in several ways. If your key is worn, bent, or rusted, the only solution may be to replace the key. But before that, examine the actual problem.

If the key is rusted or has debris on it, clean it thoroughly after removing it. But how do you remove it from the ignition? You’ll have to spray compressed air into the ignition. After that, spray in WD40 and wiggle the steering. This should be able to release the key.

If the key is bent or worn, the only best solution is to replace it after removing it from the ignition.

Replace faulty transmission range switch (TRS)

A faulty TRS is another probable cause of a stuck key in the Honda CRV ignition. If none of the above solutions could fix the underlying issues, have a mechanic inspect the transmission range switch and replace it if faulty.

However, if you have a Honda CRV service manual, you can follow the instructions on how to test a range switch and replace it as needed.

Inspect the gear selector housing

As I explained earlier, it could be that elastic stuff has made its way into the shifter housing since there’s a huge gap there. Loosen the shifter housing and see if there’s anything coiled on the shifter solenoid. If there is, uncoil it and remove the key.

Is there any difference between Ignition Key Honda CRV and other Honda Models?

All Honda cars have some differences from each other. Regarding the ignition key, Honda CRV and other Honda car models also have slight differences since these cars do not have the same design. However, the ignition key on Honda CRV may be the same as some Honda models.

Final Words

A Honda CRV key stuck in ignition can be caused by several issues. If your Honda CRV key is stuck in the ignition, the culprit could be a bent, worn, or rusted key, locked steering wheel, wrong key, low battery, car not in park, car not in the lock position, faulty transmission range switch, or issues with the shifter solenoid.

There are also different ways of fixing the issue since several factors can be the root cause. You can fix the underlying issue by recharging the battery, wiggling the steering wheel, putting the gear selector in park, returning the key to the lock position, replacing the lousy transmission range switch, and fixing issues with the shifter solenoid.

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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