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

Did you recently find your Mercedes key stuck inside the ignition, and do you want to know what you can do to fix the problem? You’ve come to the right place, for we have researched this question, and we have the answer for you.

The most common cause of a Mercedes key that you can’t get out of the ignition is when you do not fully rotate it counterclockwise. Additionally, older models have a key-release button close to the ignition keyhole that you need to push after rotating it clockwise.

Here are other possible causes of getting your key stuck in the ignition:

  • The car is not set in the right gear
  • Brake problem
  • Steering wheel lock
  • Dirt on the key
  • Worn key or damage to the key
  • Dead battery
  • Failing ignition cylinder

Learn about the other possible causes of getting your Mercedes keys stuck in the ignition in the succeeding sections. We even have solutions to these other causes that you could try. Read on!

Two chrome-plated ignition keys, locked on a key ring, inside a Mercedes Benz C Class engine ignition switch, My Mercedes Key Is Stuck In The Ignition - What To Do?

Why is my Mercedes key stuck in the ignition?

Your Mercedes will hold on to your car key if you do not place your car in the right gear.

Setting your gear to park position before pulling your car key out of the ignition is a requirement for cars with automatic transmission. In some models, your Mercedes will not let you get your car key unless your gear is set in the park position and you are no longer stepping on the brakes.

Your transmission should be in a neutral position if you have a manual transmission.

Loose Shifter To Ignition Lock Cable

Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz C Class 180 Kompressor Key and Original Silver Mercedes-Benz Key Chain

Older Mercedes models will sometimes have the problem where the key will still get stuck in the ignition even though the car is already in the park position. This is due to a loose cable connecting the locking mechanism inside the ignition assembly and the shifter.

When you place your Mercedes gear to park, your shifter pulls a cable that goes to the ignition. This cable pulls an aluminum or stainless-steel clip into the ignition assembly, and the ignition will release the car key. Unfortunately, this cable will become loose over time with the normal use of your Mercedes.

There is a nut on the shifter end of the cable that you can tighten. This will eliminate the slack of the cable.

Putting your Mercedes to park position will move this cable by a sixteenth of an inch or so. Thus, if the cable is loose, it will not be able to affect the necessary mechanism in the ignition to release your car key.

Keep in mind that it is also not good if this cable is too tight. Setting the cable too tight will prevent the ignition assembly from keeping your car key in place, and this can lead to other problems.

Loose Brake To Ignition Lock Cable

In some Mercedes models, there is another cable that is connected to the ignition lock that goes to the braking system. This cable tells the ignition system that you are no longer stepping on the brakes so that the ignition will release the car key.

Some models connect this to the brake lights at the back using an electronic switch instead of a mechanical one. It can come loose if you’ve done some work on your brake lights. The electronic switch can also become worn and needs replacement.

Bring your Mercedes to a professional mechanic to fix this issue for you.

Steering Wheel Lock And Ignition Key Lock

Closeup on female hands driving Mercedes Benz car luxury transportation lifestyle. Mercedes Benz SL550 convertible on the road

The steering wheel of your Mercedes and the ignition are mechanically connected. There is a pin that will slide into place when someone tries to turn the steering wheel while your car is off. This pin will prevent your steering wheel from turning.

In some cases, an ignition lock will also slide into place once the steering wheel locks itself. This ignition lock can prevent you from getting your key out while the steering wheel is in lock mode.

Locking your steering wheel when your Mercedes is off is a security feature. It prevents thieves from pushing your car away and navigating it with the steering wheel because the steering wheel will lock when they try to move while your car is off.

Releasing The Steering Wheel Lock

When you try to release the steering wheel lock, you need to remember to never move the steering wheel with too much force. Never shake the steering wheel.

Shaking the steering wheel or moving it with too much force can damage or bend the locking pin. The damage to the locking pin can prevent it from sliding out to unlock your steering wheel. This can also lock your car key until you somehow unlock your steering wheel.

To release the steering wheel, move it in one direction while applying light force on the ignition key to turn your car on. If it doesn’t work in one direction, try the opposite direction with the same steady light force.

The steering wheel and the ignition will unlock at the same time. Once your Mercedes is on, turn it off and pull the key out of the ignition.

How a dirty car key can get stuck inside the ignition?

Dirt and debris on your car key can make it difficult to get it out of the ignition. This situation is like placing cardboard between your front door and the doorway. You will be able to close the door because of the momentum and the weight of your front door, but the cardboard will make it difficult to open it.

Dirt on your car key can be as simple as lint and string from your pocket. Adhesive can also cause your key to hold on to dirt and make it difficult to pull out of the ignition.

Spray a penetrating lubricant like WD-40 into the keyhole and let it soak for a few minutes. Gently pull the key out once it is loose enough. Clean your key and spray some more lubricant into the ignition to make it easier to pull out your car key next time.

Clean your key regularly with alcohol and/or an adhesive remover to prevent the problem from happening again.

Free All Rust Eater deep penetrating oil is available on Amazon. Check it out through this link.

Can damage to my car key cause it to get stuck in the ignition?

Mercedes-Benz key fob on wood surface

Car key damage can create a situation similar to dirt on your key. Bent areas or dents can cause those parts to rub hard inside the ignition or latch on the tumblers or grooves inside.

It is a good practice to replace your car keys once you notice the first signs of wear. Never wait for your key to stop working or to get stuck in your ignition before you go to your dealer for a duplicate of your car keys.

If your keys ever get stuck and this is the cause, penetrating oil can help them slide out. However, you should replace the key at the soonest possible time.

If you always put off replacing your damaged key, you could end up damaging your ignition cylinder or cause it to wear more rapidly. Either way, that is going to be another problem.

What can damage car keys?

Natural wearing through use is the most common source of damage to your car keys. Simply putting your keys into the ignition and pulling it out will wear it down. So, it is important to replace it at the first sign of wear.

Using your car keys as a prying tool or a screwdriver will also damage it.

Why does a dead battery lock my car key in the ignition?

An African-American man taking a car battery out of a truck

If your car battery can no longer hold a charge or your alternator is starting to fail, your car battery may not have enough charge to release your car key once you get to your destination.

Newer models rely on signals from sensors in your Mercedes to tell the computer that it is ok to release the key. Without a battery charge, this communication will not happen.

Use a car battery charger to charge your car battery so that it will have enough charge to release your car keys. Alternatively, you can use a portable jump starter if you’re not at home and find yourself in this situation.

Replace your car battery right away and have a mechanic check your alternator. A failing car battery or alternator will cause you more problems than just a car key that will not come out of the ignition.

This NOCO lithium jump starter box could help get your car battery started. Check it out at Amazon through this link.

Failing Ignition Cylinder

The same wear and tear that affects your car keys will also affect your ignition cylinder. If your ignition cylinder is starting to fail, it may no longer be able to release the lock that keeps your car key inside.

Have a mechanic check your ignition cylinder once you bring your car key for replacement. If it is showing signs of wear, replace it before you experience problems.


Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is a front-engine, front or four wheel drive five-door subcompact luxury crossover SUV automobile unveiled by manufacturer Mercedes-Benz.

There are several reasons why your car key is stuck in your ignition. Start checking the simple causes before moving to the more complicated ones.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might find the articles below equally enjoyable to read:

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