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My Hyundai Sonata Key Is Stuck In The Ignition – What To Do?

Are you having trouble getting your car key out of your Hyundai Sonata, and do you want to know what you can do to get it out? You’ve come to the right place, for we have researched this question, and we have the answer for you.

One of the most common reasons why the car key of your Hyundai Sonata gets stuck is when you turn off the engine without putting your car into the “Park” gear. This can also happen with a manual transmission when you turn off the engine without placing your car into "Neutral."

To get your key out of the ignition, follow the steps below:

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  1. Start your car.
  2. Place your car in “Park” or “P” gear.
  3. Turn off your car.
  4. Remove your Hyundai Sonata car key.

However, other situations can also cause your car key to get stuck inside the ignition. Learn about these other situations—and what to do when they happen—in the succeeding sections. Read on!

Hyundai Sonata parked outside a Hyundai Dealership, My Hyundai Sonata Key Is Stuck In The Ignition - What To Do?


Car Key Getting Stuck When Car Is Not In “Park”

Always set your transmission to the “Park” gear before you turn off your engine. There are cases when you think you’ve placed your car in the “Park” gear, but you have not pushed the gear far enough into the “Park” position.

Backside of a Hyundai Sonata

This is where a digital display on your gauge cluster that shows which gear your Sonata is on becomes useful. If you don’t see the “P” displayed on the gauge cluster, then your Sonata is not yet in “Park” gear.

This is a common feature in all vehicles with an automatic transmission—not only in Hyundai Sonata.

When the car is in any gear except “Park,” a lock prevents you from accidentally removing the key from the ignition. If you can’t get your key out of the ignition, that is a reminder that you should place your car in “P” before you leave your car.

Placing your car in “P” prevents it from rolling away, although it is still better if you engage your parking brakes before you leave your car.

How the steering lock can prevent you from getting your car key out of the ignition?

There is a lock on your steering wheel that activates when someone tries to move the steering wheel while there is no key inside the ignition. This makes it harder to steal your car by simply rolling it down the street and steering it away from your house.

The bad news is that if your key is still in the ignition when the steering lock activates, then you will not be able to get your key out. The ignition cylinder will lock itself at the same time that the steering wheel locks.

To disable both locks, turn your car on slowly while moving the steering wheel around. Once your engine starts, the lock on your steering wheel should release, and with it the ignition cylinder lock. This should release your key, and you will be able to get it out after you turn off the engine.

Old Steering Wheel Lock

In older models of Sonata, there is a lock on the steering wheel that you need to press before you can get your car key out of the ignition. This button can be in a location where it is not easy to spot, but it is always very close to the ignition.

Dirt On You Key Can Get It Stuck Inside The Ignition

A red colored Hyundai Sonata at a Hyunda car show

The car key serves many purposes to the modern driver—letter opener, box tape cutter, or package opener. Your car key may be effective in getting your Amazon package open, but doing so can leave dirt or debris on your car key that can cause it to get stuck inside the ignition.

Making sure that your car key is clean before inserting it into the ignition will prevent this issue from happening. Applying some graphite lubricant on your key if it feels sticky can also prevent it from getting stuck inside the ignition.

Graphite lubricant can be a dry lubricant that you can safely use on your car key.

If your car key is already stuck inside the ignition and your car is in “Park,” and you didn’t get your steering wheel locked, then spraying a little penetrating oil can help lubricate your car key enough to get it out of the ignition. Once you get your car key out, clean it immediately.

Stubborn adhesive stains on your car key can be cleaned with rubbing alcohol and a clean cloth.

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Can a dead car battery prevent me from getting my car key out of the ignition?

The ignition system is dependent on the car battery. If your battery dies (because the alternator may not be charging it), then your ignition system will lock up. Once the ignition system is in this state, you will not be able to get your car key out of the ignition.

Use a jumper cable to start your car if you have two cars at home and the other one has a good battery.

Alternatively, you can use a car battery charger if you have one. Charge your car battery for an hour, and then try to get your car key out of the ignition once your car battery has sufficient charge. Otherwise, the only remaining solution is to replace your dead battery with a new one.

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Car Key Has Visible Wear Or Damage

Any damage to the car key can prevent you from getting it out of the ignition.

Damage to the car key, like dents, can cause the car key to latch to the inside of the ignition. This will make it difficult to get your car key out.

A bent car key will also make it hard to get out of the ignition.

Get a replacement for your car key once you notice damage or any signs of wear. Never wait until you can no longer get it out of the ignition or until it can no longer start your car before you get a replacement.

Damage On The Ignition Cylinder

The ignition cylinder or the ignition lock cylinder is a mechanical component of the ignition system that prevents anyone without the car key from using your Hyundai Sonata.

Unfortunately, just like the other components of your car, the ignition cylinder can also fail. A failing ignition cylinder can lock your key inside and prevent you from getting it out.

If the failing point of your ignition cylinder is one of the spring-loaded pins inside (the pins are out of alignment or bent), then it can prevent you from getting your car key out. It can even prevent you from getting your car key inside.

Replacing the ignition cylinder is the best solution to this problem.

What to do when the car key breaks inside the ignition?

Black Hyundai Sonata

This problem can happen when you apply too much force on your key once it gets stuck inside your ignition.

It is important to remember that you should not push the broken key further into the ignition. This will only make it harder to get the broken car key out.

Once you get the broken key out of the ignition, have it replaced and make a duplicate of it.

Using A Key Extractor

Although it is highly unlikely that you have a key extractor inside your garage, a key extractor is an ideal tool to remove the broken key inside the ignition.

Key extractors often come in a set. They are thin pieces of metal with different styles of hooks that you can use to pull broken keys from inside locks.

Follow these simple steps to get the broken car key from the ignition using a key extractor:

  1. Get the smallest pick-style key extractor from the set.
  2. Carefully insert the key extractor into the top or bottom of the ignition where the grooves of the car key are located.
  3. Once you’ve inserted the key extractor, hook it into one of the grooves of the car key.
  4. Carefully pull the broken key out with the key extractor.
  5. Repeat Steps 2 to Step 4 until you have pulled the car key out of the ignition. You do not need to pull the broken key completely out. You can use nose pliers to pull the rest of the key once you’ve pulled part of the car key out.

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Using A Jigsaw Blade

A jigsaw blade is thin and narrow, and it can be used as a key extractor. You can follow the steps for using a key extractor to remove the broken part of your car key using a jigsaw blade.

Get The Services Of A Locksmith

If none of the methods above worked, the only option left is to enlist the services of a locksmith.


Hyundai Sonata parked outside a Hyundai Dealership

Some safety features of your Hyundai Sonata might get your car key stuck inside the ignition. Knowing what to do in this situation is important so that you do not panic and apply too much force to your car key.

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