Town & Country

Key May Not Start Car or Release From Ignition on Chrysler Town & Country

Problem Description and Possible Solution

Intermittently, the key may not start the car or release from the ignition. If it is excessively worn, replace the key. If the new key doesn't work, replacing the lock cylinder including tumblers should correct this concern.

Problem Data
RepairPal Verified
Average mileage: 93,173 (1,000–233,541)
17 model years affected: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, more2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
238 people reported this problem
Viewing 1 - 20 of 137 comments
Hello, today I was trying to start up my car. Unfortunatelly, nothing has happened although I was trying 5 times. Then, after 6 trials the engine started normally. Please, advise me what should I do or what needs to be fixed.
I also have the same problem. The key won't turn, and the van won't start. The doors open, the horn works but the van won't start, and you can't move the shifter.
The problem I had this morning is the key went into the ignition and I turned the key but NOTHING happened. I turned the key back to the original position and discovered the key would not release. I had to be at work today so I just left the car in the garage and will need to deal with this later. I am not happy since the car is barely a year old. What happened to using a plain, old key? They worked for decades! I have no idea of how this will get solved but I guess I'll be trying to figure this out when I get out of work.
Key sometimes will not come out of the ignition; and of late, my wife can't start the 2010 T&C touring van, which has happened several times lately and yesterday, she was stuck in the heat, while I was 30-miles away and she tried so hard to 'turn it over' being stranded and a piece of plastic broke off the key part that inserts. She then, after it already wouldn't start, got a "Bad Key" ignition. This morning, we had to get a new key! which cost $209.00 at Titusville Chrysler, whom had no problem charging us that amount of money for a flippin' key, like any respectable THIEF would. Outrageous! Then, they said without smirking, "no, this vehicle isn't under a key recall..." Remind me to NEVER by another Chrysler product, please!
Key fob won't release from ignition switch. Repeatedly cranking the car back on and off will all the key to be removed. Will work fine for days, then won't release several times in a row. Sometimes released after one restart and shift into drive and back to park, sometimes it takes 8-12 tries.

Purchased the car used two months ago, problem showed up within a week. Have spoken to dealership, but they don't have a definitive answer, and after reading of these occurrences online, have learned to live with it.

Would like a solution, as it's very possible to be stranded with key totally stuck in vehicle.
Started since I got the car back yesterday after the AC system has been fixed. Turned the key, nothing happened. Tried several times, car finally started, got back home. And since, it's a nightmare to turn the car on. Turn the key, nothing happens, no noise, nothing displays. With door open, the mileage shows up, and inserting the key does generate the alarm. But when turning the key to power the car, nothing.
I spend 15 minutes today trying to start up the car to be able to finally power up it once, and unfortunately the garages are all closed until Tuesday now...
In addition to my previous report: Got the 08'Town&Country at the Chrysler dealership, pretty easy for them to reproduce the issue. They claimed they had to change the ignition module (the "WIN") as well as a new key. Costed me almost $700. Made the works, and contacted Chrysler to ask for at least a part of the cost reimbursed, since it's obviously a design issue (they had recalls on later models for that?).
They refused to help. I dumped the car, sick of all the issues I had, and I went to buy a Toyota.
Now I advise anyone no to ever buy a Chrysler, really poor quality cars. I can't believe how much money I poured in this minivan during my 5 years of ownership... Save your money, dump your Chrysler now.
Ignition key wont turn over the engine. Sometimes it take several attempts. It is worse in cold starts. Other times it works for a week or so.
Key won't release from ignition. This happened & looked in manual & it said to turn wheel slightly to left if tires were facing that way (or right). That helped 1 time. Then it happened more often, but putting it in reverse helped once. Then nothing worked. Went to dealership, they jammed around with the key & it worked fine for 15 min. Now it's back again. Very unsafe! If I have an errand to run, I either have to leave the car running (with the window down) or have someone with me at all times.
Key wouldn't release intermittently, but starting and shifting in and out of gears would usually release the key. Now the key ill not turn at all, so no chance to start or shift gears. Car is totally worthless, if key won't turn. I am not sure if they can even tow it, since it can't be put into neutral to move it.
Key wouldn't start the car. Don't recall the details but we had to replace the ignition cylinder to fix.
key stuck. ignition locked. tow driver jiggled key and tapped with hammer and it released. told it was a common problem
Key will not release from ignition when in park. So far, we have just restarted the van, took it out of park, put it in drive, then back in park. Usually releases it.
The key gets stuck in the ignition - will not release; Vehicle is in park and have tried moving the steering wheel right and left and moving the shifter (to ensure the vehicle is in park) - nothing works. Sometimes we wait and hear a noise and it releases the remainder of the time we have to unplug the battery terminal to reset the computer and the key releases immediately. We have spent over 600.00+ having the ignition module replaced and the key reprogrammed. Issue still remains and if we leave the key in the ignition the battery dies overnight. VERY frustrating and have no resolution. It happens EVERY day!!
Car would not start. Had it towed. Paid $312 for a new key, it had to be reprogrammed. I have no spare, so if this key is lost or damaged, I will have to pay again!!! I have the lifetime maximum care warranty plan and it is not covered!!!! I am so pissed!!!
Same issue I have been reading about. Tried to start van but nothing happened. Had to try a few times before van started.
Since I bought my car I have been having the same issue over and over. The key gets stuck in the ignition and won't come out. I called the dealer and took it in and they Sid it was fine. It took me over 45 minutes this morning to get it out. It's very frustrating and want this problem solved.
Intermittantly won't release key or turn ignition.
Golling Chrysler blew me off after one year of replacing key 7 times I went to another dealer that replaced computer system. Haven't need a new key in about 3 months but phob still doesn't open, start or lock car regularly. They won't replace car for full value. Will never buy another Chrysler. Golling lied on service reports. Chrysler care said they will gladly continue to fix car wont replace car. Whole system shut down with my daughter inside car she could not get out. Key phob wouldn't work and interior door locks wouldn't work. Very scarey.
2011 Dodge Durango bought new from dealer
I bought a certified pre-owned 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT. Thankfully, I purchased the MAXCARE warranty. Two weeks after purchase, I had the key problem. After putting the car into park (level ground, wheels straight, registered as PARK on the display) - I could not turn the key to the OFF position or remove it. I had to restart the car, shift out of PARK, then shift back into PARK - Sometimes I had to pull forward or reverse before shifting back into PARK before the key would finally turn to the OFF position & release. I took it to the dealer who "Shaved" the keyfob to allow it to release & tried to charge me the $150 deductible for my MAXCARE dedutible. After much complaint, that fee was waived. The problem left for about 3 months, then recurred. Same song & dance to get the key out - sometimes had to restart the car 15 times. Took it back it to the dealer. This time they said there was a problem with a plate in the gearshift. They made a repair to "the plate" & charged me the $150 deductible (which I paid). The keyfob worked for 10 months. It recurred after 10 months, but intermittently, so we played around for about 2 months, then it happened almost every time we tried to turn the car off. (So now I've had this car for 15 months & mileage is now 78,400). I made an appointment to take the car in again. The night before my appointment, I went to start the car, and NOTHING HAPPENED. The keyfob turned all the way to start, but no noise, no click, nothing. We thought the battery died (it was the same battery that was in the car when we purchased it - no idea how old it was & the weather had been extremely cold all winter), so we replaced it. We tried starting, and still nothing. Called the dealer to say we might not make the appointment the next day & the guy told us to put it in Neutral & try to start it. I got in, put my foot on the brake, turned the key ON, and tried to shift to Neutral - the gearshift would not budge! I had to have the car towed (thankfully, the tow driver showed me how to do the gearshift override to put it into Neutral). While we had it in Neutral - I did try to start it again, but no luck. The dealer checked the car, and concluded it needed a new Wireless Ignition system & that should fix my original problem, as well as the "not starting" problem. They installed it & the system was covered by the MAXCARE warranty (yay! I only needed to pay the $150 deductible). There was a snag though, the new WIN technology was not compatible with my keyfobs (they couldn't communicate with the new module), and keyfobs are considered "wearable" items and as such, are not covered by the MAXCARE warranty - so I'd have to purchase 2 new FOBS (if I wanted 2) for the mere price of $250 each!!!! (To me, that's like putting new locks on someone's home, locking the doors, and charging them $500 for keys - the ignition won't work without keys, so they should be included - I didn't lose my fobs or damage them, there was no "wear" issue - it's not my fault Chrysler's technology isn't compatible with other versions of itself, and I shouldn't have to pay for their design flaw - in my humble opinion). After much arguing with the dealership, and Chrysler, the MAXCARE warranty service agreed to pay for only one fob - I'd have to pay for a second one. I went to pick up my car yesterday, with the new WIN & new fob. I was assured this fix would really, and finally, take care of the problem (of not being able to turn the key to the OFF position & remove it) I made sure I could start the car & turn it off before I left. Last night (only 3 hours after picking up the car), the problem started up again!!! Today, I called to complain and have been dealing with the problem EVERY TIME I TRY TO TURN OFF THE CAR! I have an appointment for Monday morning. The dealership says they will try to make it right for me & get me another fob, at no cost. This will be the 4th time in to be serviced for the SAME problem (3 different un-effective fixes later). I called Chrysler & told them of my problem & all the similar complaints I've seen online. They would not acknowledge it is a relatively common problem, nor do they know of any definitive fix for it. I do not have high hopes for a fix - although I plan to pester them for one until this warranty expires (if they don't do it on Monday). I will avoid any vehicle with a FOB in the future (which will be any Chrysler or Dodge), and I will warn all friends not to purchase from Chrysler because of this issue.