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My Honda Civic Key Is Stuck In The Ignition – What To Do?

The steering wheel of Honda cars locks when the car is turned off to ensure that only the vehicle's owner can move it. But this steering wheel lock sometimes causes the key to get stuck in the ignition. What should you do if this happens? We asked the technical experts, and this is what we gathered.

If your Honda Civic key sticks in the ignition, first check to confirm that the vehicle is in park or neutral. Next, wiggle the steering wheel while trying to move the key to a different position. Finally, rotate the key to the off position and remove it from the ignition.

This article will discuss why you cannot get a key out of the Honda Civic ignition and further explore what you can do about it. We will also tackle related topics such as how you can open a Honda Civic without a key and how to replace a Honda Civic ignition switch.

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A guy hand holding on steering wheel and removing key on ignition, My Honda Civic Key Is Stuck In The Ignition - What To Do?

Why Can't I Get My Key Out Of The Honda Civic Ignition?

Car keys act as a security device by enabling you to lock or unlock the doors. They are also used to start the car in models that have not adopted the keyless push-button start system.

It can be nerve-racking when the key doesn't come out of your Honda Civic ignition. Although automobile theft has reduced over the last few decades, it is still a vital concern for car owners worldwide.

You want to avoid enabling theft by removing the key and closing all doors and windows when you park your car.

Why Your Honda Civic Key May Stick In The Ignition

Woman hand put key into the ignition and starts the car engine

Parking Lock

The key may lodge in the ignition if you fail to park the car properly. The parking lock is a preventative measure to keep your vehicle from rolling off if you forget to put it in park.

Steering Wheel Lock

Sometimes the steering wheel lock can cause the key to jam in the ignition. This lock is the most common cause of keys jamming in the ignition. You can activate the lock by moving the steering wheel while you try to turn off the car, thus trapping the key.

The steering wheel lock mechanism is a great anti-theft measure in the Honda Civic. But it can be quite an inconvenience when it results in a stuck key.

Faulty Key

If the key is worn or damaged from repeated use, it can get stuck in the ignition. If you suspect that the key is damaged, avoid yanking or forcefully pulling it out since this can ruin the ignition. 

Damaged Ignition Lock Cylinder

You may have difficulty removing the Honda civic key from the ignition if the lock cylinder is defective. However, this is not a common cause. It is best if a professional mechanic diagnoses the ignition and replaces it if needed.

Freeing The Honda Civic Key 

Woman starting car

It is often easy to remove a key that is stuck in the Civic's ignition. 

  1. Set the car to neutral or park. When you put your vehicle in park, the transmission output does not turn, thus cutting off power to the wheels. This setting allows the car's programming to release the key since there is a minimal chance the car will roll.
  2. If the key does not budge, hold the steering wheel with one hand and the key with the other.
  3. Move the steering wheel rhythmically from left to right with the left hand. Use the right hand to turn the key to a different position. You can add a lubricant to ease the key's movement in the cylinder. 
  4. Rotate the key in a counterclockwise direction to set it in the off position, then remove the key.

If the above steps do not work, contact your mechanic for further troubleshooting. You may need to change your keys or replace the ignition lock cylinder.

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How To Open A Honda Civic Without A Key

2020 Honda Civic Sedan

Most people delay replacing the key fob battery until it dies on them. But there are also times when you can accidentally lock the key fob in the car. If this happens, you need to look for alternative ways to open the vehicle.

While it is recommended that you keep your spare key in a safe place that you or a loved one can easily access, some people still store this key in the vehicle's glove compartment. Moreover, some used cars do not come with spare keys.

You may wonder how you can open your Honda Civic without a key.

Use A Slim Jim

You can make a slim jim out of a long, thin, and sturdy object. Typically, a metal ruler or a narrow strip of metal banding can work very well. You can also use a straightened coat hanger. But the hanger works best if the car window is slightly open.

If you use a ruler, create a hook on one end of the slim jim by cutting a half-inch deep nook into one end. Alternatively, mold a fastener that can slip around the door latch on the straightened hanger.

Use a wooden stick to create a large enough gap between the window and the rubber seal. Next, slide the slim jim in the space you created, targetting the area around the door's lock. Ensure that the stick's thickness is appropriate to avoid damaging the window or the weather stripping.

Slide the movable joint of the locking mechanism into the slim jim's hook, then lift it gently. You may need to attempt this several times before you can open the door successfully. For this reason, reshape the curve if necessary. 

Call A Locksmith

Mechanic holding lockpicker to open car door

A professional locksmith can help you safely open your Honda Civic, as they have access to the right tools required for your car's specific lock. In addition, they will leverage their experience tackling different car lock situations to resolve the issue promptly.

A certified locksmith is insured, meaning that they bear the burden for any damage to your car. Thus, you need not fret about incurring extra repair costs. 

The locksmith can also help you get a spare key if you need one. Besides, it is more affordable to get replacement keys from a locksmith than from your car's dealership.

Call 911

It is best to call 911 or the fire department if a child or pet is trapped inside the car. While a locksmith has the technical know-how to open the car door with the least resistance, they might take longer than the police or fire department would.

Many police officers carry a sturdy inflatable airbag they can use to open the door and access the lock.

Break A Window

Broken left side window of a car

Although it is possible to open your Honda Civic by breaking a window, this method is quite costly, as you will have to replace the window afterward. Therefore, only break a window if you have exhausted all the other alternatives.

Avoid smashing small windows if you must break a window to enter your car. They are more expensive to purchase and more complicated to install.

How To Replace A Honda Civic Ignition Switch

Replacing the ignition switch is a fairly straightforward process that you can execute with easily accessible hand tools. But it is wise to consult your vehicle's manual before you begin and refer to it repeatedly throughout the process.

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Disconnect the car battery to cut off the current flow. Use a wrench to unfasten the nut that secures the cable on the negative terminal first. Next, slide the wire off, ensuring that it doesn't come into contact with the terminals. But you can let the cable on the positive terminal stay put.
  2. Use a screwdriver to loosen the three screws that hold the plastic trim around the steering wheel in place.
  3. Pull down the lever under the steering column. This will allow you to pry around the two halves of the plastic trim and separate them.
  4. Loosen the screws that hold the ignition switch. If you have difficulty accessing one of the screws, you may need to use a drill bit and a crescent wrench to access it. You can also reach it with an adapter on a drill.
  5. Pull out the ignition switch, then take the plug out. 
  6. Install the new ignition switch. Then, working in reverse order, tighten the screws and secure the plastic trim around the steering wheel. Remember to adjust the lever and move the steering wheel to a comfortable level.
  7. Reconnect the battery, then test the new switch.

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You can also follow this visual guide:

Wrapping Up

Generally, the Honda Civic key jams in the ignition because of the steering lock or the parking lock. Putting the car in park may disable the lock, enabling you to withdraw the key. If this does not help, wiggle the steering wheel while trying to pull out the key gently.

You may be curious about these topics as well:

Honda Civic Makes Loud Noise When Accelerating – What's Wrong? 

How Close Does Key Fob Need To Be To Start Car?