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Key won't turn in ignition

(2005 Dodge Durango)
in Lakewood, OH on July 10, 2009
reccently, when I put key in ignition, i have to push in ignition a bit while turning, in order for car to start. Now, today the key won't turn in ignition and steering wheel is locked. Can not start vehicle, or unlock sterring wheel that is turned 180 degrees but tires do not appear turned. PLEASE HELP!!
i tried to move wheel while trying to turn key.
don't know if i need locksmith or dealership,or if this is easy fix with my handy neighbor, oe what.
Displaying 22 answers & 15 comments
Popular Answer
on April 14, 2010
I talked to a locksmith here in Michigan and he was familiar with this problem with Chrysler products. He said he had re-engineered the locking sytem and could fix it for me for about $50 in 30 minutes.
Three dealers I talked to said they had never heard of this problem and it was over $100 just to start to look at it.
Temporary solution that seems to work is to put a key in the ignition (not the fob one) and tap it with a hammer.
I can do the fob key by using my fist but it hurts.
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on August 08, 2010
Man, Thanks.....I can't believe the hammer worked. Will I always have to do this?
on October 07, 2010
I too was sceptical, got out one of my spare keys (one without chip), gave it a couple of taps, and sure enough, off she went....

I'll talk the my dealership next time I bring her in for service (mine is a 2003 Durango SLT that periodically has this issue), but the hammer trick does work like a charm.
on January 01, 2011
I just tried the hammer trick and it worked! I'm going to try dry graphite next. The battery bracket on the inside of these keys are very fragile ^so I am going to have to find a permanent solution soon.
on January 21, 2011
I have a 2001 Durango ,this happens all of the time. Does anyone know of a recall if not there should be. I was stuck at the grocery store read your blog - Thanks a bunch it really did work.
on January 23, 2011
I just did the hammer thing and it worked after nothing else did! Thank you so much! It was looking to be a bad day and my husband and none of his friends could figure it out. SO it looked really cool when I went out there with a hammer and started it! LOL!
on January 26, 2011
hammer thing works but if i take the keys out and try to start it it will not turn key
on January 31, 2011
This has happened to us several times in the last few months and while being standed before work I had to result to the hammer trick and it works!!! THANKS
on February 13, 2011
Last night when I saw the hammer tapping suggestion I was a huge skeptic. Woke up this morning and Voila, hit the key with a screwdriver a couple of times and it started. Huge Thank You.
on February 22, 2011
Sweeeet....i have the insurance guy out here right now documenting a claim for a ton of damage a raccoon did to the inside of my car when it locked up & the key wouldnt turn. Its never happened before so I was completly lost as to what to do. How could I prove my nav/radio/cd player/dvd screen was trashed if I cant turn the key?? So while my husband fought with it (no offense, typical men) I researched answers online (typical woman...yes were smarter lol) & VOILA this tapping it with something worked perfectly! I tapped the fob key, and i did it with the end of a screwdriver quite lightly which worked perfectly. However my question now is how do you FIX it? Tapping it is all good but I dont want to do it every time so whats next? Im gonna try the graphite thing and hope it works but if not what do you do????? Man I love my HEMI on my Durango Limited but overall the interior is chinzy cheap & the rest doesnt seem very well made. I mean mine only has 22,000 miles on it & its already having issues??? I think this might be the last Dodge I buy.....goin back to my Chevy Suburbans
on September 16, 2009
What did you end up having to do to fix this? Was it the ignition switch assembly that failed?
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on October 05, 2009
I have the same problem periodically. I was told by my tow truck driver son-in-law that this happens because of a child safety mechanism in the steering wheel. He said that I need to make sure that my wheels are straight when I turn off the car and that the steering wheel is straight up. So far, since the last time it happened, I've been doing this but am afraid that I will have problems again and will be stranded. Have you received any answers as to why you have this problem and what can be done about it?
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on March 02, 2010
Hi there. I had the same problem. Take your old keys an have a new set of keys cut.
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on July 26, 2012
OMG my husband had the same problem , I looked it up on the internet,ended up here !!! So I said to him while he was complaining did you put the key in and hit it with a hammer?......and showed him all these replys. Off he went with his hammer AND IT WORKED thanks a bunch guys you rock!!!
on November 06, 2011
wow, that's crazy. We have a 2006 Dodge Durango and had this same problem. Tried what was suggested and it worked! Gonna try the graphite thing and see if it works. It was totally random, no warning, drove it and came home, went out to leave again 5 minutes later and it was locked, key wouldn't turn at all. Hammer trick worked like a charm but I will admit I had to do it several times before I was brave enough to hit it hard enough :)
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on January 31, 2015
Hammer saved my butt the other day, so I tap the key in the ignition with the hammer and my Dodge Durango started right up,
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on November 23, 2015
The Hammer rules again. My BFF and I thought the hammer answer was a joke. Guess what? It's REAL and it WORKS.
on July 26, 2010
I had this problem just my steering wheel could turn hardly but my key did not turn at all in ignition. I tried many cases like WD-40 and pushing the car from the back but No one worked. Finally, I bought graphite lube and put graphite powder on key and then put key in ignition. Then I used dust remover (that I bought from walmart) to push graphite compeletely in ignition. After 5minutes it worked! Now after 5day I have had no problem and key can easily turn in ignition.
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on October 29, 2011
Thank God for the internet! I have a 2006 Dodge Durango and used a rubber mallet, tapping the battery powered fob three times and the key finally turned. I threw the mallet in the back storage bin and will just take it with me from now on.
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on December 10, 2012
Unbelievable...stuck in the parking lot after my daughters school concert because I could not turn the ignition. Browsed on my smart phone and found this thread Tapping the end of the key does work. I did not have a hammer but did have a wrench. Started with little taps and I got a little harder until I felt the key give. This has to be a defect somehow...any permanent solutions out there.
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on November 07, 2010
key won't unlock steering
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on March 16, 2013
I have a 2001 Dodge Durango and the key sometimes will not turn in the ignition. I have been lucky the few times and was able to wiggle the steering wheel and have it work. This time (last night) nothing worked. I tried looking up how to change the ignition switch and unless you can actually turn the key you can not remove the part. I found this page and told my husband not to look (yes I am a girl!!) I tapped the key with the hammer a couple of times, nothing, I tapped just a bit harder and sure enough THIS DOES IN FACT work!!! I turned off the truck and it was stuck again. I tapped again with the hammer and it worked AGAIN!! Best part I was able to remove the ignition lock cylinder, I also tried once I had this cylinder removed with the key in it to turn it, it turned freely a coulple times then locked again so I know this is the part that is the problem,while holding this part with the key in it in my hand I hit it with the hammer and it worked again!. Something is wrong inside this little part, my suggestion is to replace it once you are able to free it up or always carry a hammer with you in your truck. Thanks so much for this tip it saved me hundreds at the dealership and I just wanted to give my experience to help someone else.
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on March 27, 2013
I don't have a dodge Durango but I've been searching online for days because my 2006 mazdaspeed 6 is doing the same thing. At first I thought it was my steering column lock I ripped apart my entire steering column and grinded down the cast iron lock the holds the steering wheel locked when you shut the car off. But then my ignition still wouldn't budge. Tomorrow I'm going to try to tap it with a hammer and hopefully this works for me cause my car is far from home and I miss my baby! For a permanent fix, replace the ignition housing or lock assembly like stated from that person above. The only problem is for my car that ignition is $1100 and I don't have that kind of money for an ignition so I'm taking the cheap route and by passing my RFID in the ignition and installing a push button start for $150. May put it somewhere clever too like switch on my windshield wipers and my car starts lol! Or push radio station preset 1 and my car starts. Ill post again and give a 100% answer for the People who have been struggling with this like me. Im stopping At a locksmith on the way to my car to see what they say. i know tapping your ignition wont be good for it everytime and will definitely damage the key and/or the inside of the ignition cylinder. so people Dont just assume that will keep working for you. save up and replace your Ignition with a non-Dodge or chrysler ignition. You're welcome! That'll be $150 and I except PayPal hahaha
on February 11, 2013
The key tumbler is where this issue resides. Hitting the key is NOT the answer, as you can damage the key tumbler. If it is on it's way out and you do this and you are able to start the car this time, it may be your last. If you are gentle with the key and firm with the steering wheel, you can turn the wheel and get the tumbler to engage. It's a test in patience, but it can be done. Our experience has been when the car was parked on a hill (down) with the wheel turned into the curb. The weight of the car was on the turned in tire (someone forgot to engage the Emergency Brake first, before putting the car in Park) and this made it very difficult to get the wheel to turn at all, but with time and patience we were able to do it.
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on December 04, 2016
You guys, whoever says it is the position of the steering wheel is definitely steering you in the wrong direction. It has absolutely NOTHING do to with the steering wheel.

It is a tumbler inside the lock that sticking. Locksmith "re-engineered" the lock? lol duh, all you have to do is lap the piece down with lapping paper. They held the tolerance too close in the casting of the cylinder lock and the pieces interfere.

The reason the hammer works is because your key pushes the tumbler up when you put the key in, and it sticks. When you tap it with something metallic, you send a shock wave through the lock which vibrates the tumbler lose and it moves into position onto your key.

Hitting it with your fist is not usually not going to work because you need a sharp quick impact, not a soft squishy fleshy one.

It is actually better to hit it with the back side of a butter knife rather than a hammer. Most people are going to damage something if they think they are supposed to hammer the crap out of it.

I used my flashlight. Took it out. dissembled the lock and fixed the crappy quality control issue from Chrysler, and now it will never happen ever again.
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on January 02, 2013
I cannot believe it! After having a mechanic look at my stranded car in the gargage and his solution was have it towed to the dealer, I decided to google the problem. I read abou hitting the key while in the ignition with hammer and thought, at ths point, what do I have to lose. I attempted it a few soft hits and it did not work. Out of frustration, I hit it a few more times more aggressively, and sure enough, IT WORKED ! ! ! From now on I will make certain that I travel with a hammer. :)
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on November 12, 2014
Hammer WORKS!!! :)It is the key lock cylinder going bad and yes tapping it with a hammer does work Thanks to who ever posted that tid bit of heavenly knowledge :) I had the dam thing out a few weeks ago and got it to work again and was stupid enough to put it back in and now it has malfunctioned again permanently.Could not get it to turn that little 1/4 turn it takes to get it out so I could replace it I tapped it lightly but firmly one time with a 24 ounce framing hammer and BAM!! it turned !! :) called triple A and cancled the locksmith who wanted 150.00 to look at it and now am off to the parts store to get a new one for under 50.00 dollars will let you know how much it ends up being and how it all works out. real handy tip . this blog / thread was a real blessing . Update well it was not under fifty dollars but a bargain considering the alternitives 67.84 and ten minutes all done new keys and no problem. I will listen to my angels closer next time and just replace stuff like this instead of trying to eek out there last little bit of uselessness ;)as far as the tires a concerned ya gotta get that key to turn 1st well it's been 5 years since the question hopefully they solved the issue by now.
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on October 09, 2013
Yo, that hammer trick works like a charm. Tap the key with a hammer while in the ignition, then simply turn it. vroom vroom baby:)
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on November 12, 2014
Now pull that dam cylinder out and replace it while you have the chance the hammer thing won't work forever the cylinder is worn out for under fifty bucks you can get a new one and replace it yourself in about ten minutes.
on February 03, 2014
did anyone ever answer why the original post stated "steering wheel that is turned 180 degrees but tires do not appear turned" along with the key not turning? It appears that everyone else has a ignition cyclinder issue nothing to do with the 180 degrees.

I'm very interested as my 2002 durango now has this issue and just unlocking the ignition cyclinder would not rotate the steering wheel back 180 degrees?
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on June 20, 2015
You don't really need a hammer! Tapping with a screwdriver on the key fob works. After getting the vehicle home, put some liquid graphite on one side of the key, and insert it into the ignition. Repeat this on the other side of the key, and do it a couple of times. You may have to tap it again at this point to get it to turn. Works perfectly after lubricating it in this manner.
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on April 08, 2017
wondering how the dust clean / graphite was working for u ? the local mechanic just rolled his eyes when i described the problem when i brought the car to him aka expensive

i do not have a car vacuum nor graphite, but i do have WD-40 which helped with a locked 'shifter' problem - getting the column shifter out of PARK
hi - i am from toronto, canada so my registration info is funny - 2003 dodge durango 4.7 liter, 2wd/4wd, automatic tranny - i had an issue with the key as described here and the 'banging' solution worked for me - thnx ! [i don't have a hammer but use the WD-40 can]

i tried it and the solution works with all 3 keys i have, 2 w/ FOB, 1 w/o

i need to do 'banging' each time i start the vehicle
i can start the vehicle now WITHOUT the 'banging' BUT cannot get turn signals nor windows to work -

10 apr 2017
bought a can of air at walmart and tried it - didn't help
still require 'banging' to turn over AND get all electrical to work

any long term answers ?
on October 29, 2016
Same issue on my wife's 2004 Durango 5.7 Hemi. She has 2 speeds Stop and Git-T-Up.
Just smack and turn with the palm of the hand and starts up. I don't recall seeing a hammer in the options when we were purchasing it, but could be a money maker. 2 years going on, and it is on my list of things to repair, as STALLS when it rains, and HVAC does not work well (no leaks). Other wise been a good vehicle.
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on April 03, 2017
We have a 2002 Dodge Durango and I too was told $100 to investigate the issue on top of what it would take to resolve it. The hammer trick worked! Thanks so much!
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on October 16, 2015
I inserted the key at ignition and I did two firm hit with two fingers .. I feel the key goes down and it works.

But what is the final solution , can some body tell me .. Thanks a lot
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on June 16, 2016
I am seriously dumbfounded at the moment, I have a 2005 Dodge Durango that this has never happened too, sure enough it happened, I Googled theprob, came across the answer to a temp fix as Hammer. My husband argued that it wouldn't work, only after he gave up and went inside, I thought screw it, Im gonna try the hammer....And sure a S**t,It worked. I had a bit of fun teasing the Mr, that I got my car to start(without telling him how of course).
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on January 31, 2018
We have a 2005 and this just happened to my wife with twin babies in the car. Sure enough, she tried the rubber mallet trick and it worked first time. With this being a common problem you would think Dodge would take notice. Class action.... would get there attention.
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