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Subaru Forester Key Stuck In Ignition – What To Do?

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Although it is not a common occurrence, your Subaru Forester key may get stuck in the ignition. Are you wondering how you can resolve this? Fortunately, it is relatively easy to free the key. We talked to the experts, and this is what they shared. 

If your Subaru Forester key is stuck in the ignition, do the following sequentially to loosen it. Do not try to force the key out of the ignition, as this may create bigger problems.

  1. Check your battery's voltage.
  2. Wiggle the steering wheel.
  3. Push the shifter towards 'park' while gently turning the key.
  4. Lubricate the key.
  5. Call a Subaru Forester professional.

You may be wondering why your Subaru Forester key got stuck in the ignition. Keep reading as we will discuss possible causes and further elaborate on ways to address this. We will also elaborate on bad ignition switch symptoms and how much it would cost to replace the ignition switch.

Subaru Forester e-Boxer outdoors on dirt road during sunny summer day, Subaru Forester Key Stuck In Ignition - What To Do?

Troubleshooting A Subaru Forester Key Stuck In Ignition

A wooden Subaru keychain hangs in the ignition. Selective focus.

You probably intend to drive away as soon as you put your Subaru Forester's key in the ignition. However, you may fail to achieve your objective if the key gets stuck in the ignition. These are the common reasons why the key might jam and how you can resolve the issue.

Why A Subaru Forester Key Jams In Ignition

Parking Lock

If your Subaru Forester is fitted with automatic transmission, the key may jam in the ignition if the vehicle is still in gear. The key fails to come off as a protective measure to ensure that you put your car in 'park' before leaving the driver's seat.

Your car would easily roll off if you just left without setting it in 'park.' 

Steering Lock

The steering lock is a reliable anti-theft feature installed in most vehicles. You can activate the steering lock on hills or if you use the steering wheel to support yourself when you enter the car. This steering lock keeps you from removing the key from the ignition switch.

Bad Key

Repeated use, especially of a duplicate key, can cause it to bend, making it difficult to remove the key from the ignition. In addition, keys can also wear out from normal use, making it difficult to get them past the ignition lock. Thus, the keys get stuck in the ignition system.

Dirt such as food particles and other debris can also make it easy for keys to get stuck in the ignition system. Furthermore, a rusted key can easily get stuck in the ignition since it doesn't move as easily.

Low Battery Voltage

Your Subaru Forester requires sufficient voltage to disengage the safety mechanisms required to free your key. The key can remain stuck in the ignition lock when the battery voltage is insufficient.

Defective Ignition Lock Cylinder

A faulty ignition lock cylinder can cause a key to jam in the ignition. But this is not a common cause for keys to lodge in the ignition. It is reasonable to investigate this as a last resort.

Freeing A Subaru Forester Key Stuck In Ignition

A 2012 Subaru Forester 2.5x on a rocky stretch of the Oregon coast.

Rather than attempting to forcefully dislodge the key from the ignition lock, execute these activities in chronological order.

1. Check The Battery's Voltage

Examine whether the battery is charged since low voltage can bar the ignition lock mechanism from working well. You can use a voltmeter to measure the battery's voltage.

Ensure that you connect the positive and negative voltmeter leads to the battery's positive and negative terminals, respectively. Cleaning the battery's terminals enables you to get an accurate reading.

Check out the AstroAI multimeter  Amazon.

2. Wiggle The Steering Wheel

Gently wiggle the steering wheel while delicately trying to remove the key from the lock ignition. The small rapid movements on the steering wheel can relieve the pressure causing a bind in the steering lock, thus freeing the key.

3. Push The Shifter Towards Park 

Move the shifter towards 'park' while carefully trying to detach the key. This action ensures that your Forester is still not in gear mode. In addition, it helps you assess whether the park lock mechanism is defective. 

4. Lubricate The Key

Add a small quantity of lubricant to ease the key's movement within the ignition lock. Gently move the key to evenly spread the lubricant within the lock, making it easier to pull it out. Don't apply excessive force to avoid breaking the key inside the ignition lock cylinder.

If you manage to remove the key and discover that it is damaged, dispose of it to avoid a repeat problem. You can make another copy of the key from the good key. If you do not have a duplicate key, you can ask the Subaru manufacturers to cut a new OEM key for your Forester.

Check out the WD-40 water-resistant silicone lubricant on Amazon.

5. Call A Subaru Forester Expert

If none of the methods above resolve the issue, consult a professional to address the problem. The expert is well equipped to replace a damaged ignition lock cylinder or remove the key with as minimal damage to your car as possible. 

What Are The Signs Of A Faulty Subaru Forester Ignition Switch?

Engine start key hole open for security system of car and repair

Typically, the ignition switch is located behind the lock cylinder. It activates the starter, and kick starts the fuel pump and ignition system, and powers your car's accessories such as windows and radios.

A failing Subaru Forester ignition switch is a cause for concern as it can easily incapacitate your car, making it unable to run. This is what you should look out for:

The Vehicle Stalls On The Road

When the ignition switch is faulty, it turns off power to the ignition or shuts down the fuel pump. Thus, the engine fails to run, causing the vehicle to stall.

The Car Starts And Then Stops

If your Forester starts then stops, this could indicate that the ignition switch is defective. The car starts since the fuel pump receives power when you engage the starter. However, the ignition fails to receive power when the key is in 'run' mode.

Sometimes the car may fail to start if the damaged ignition switch fails to power the fuel pump or ignition switch. 

No Power In The Accessories

The ignition switch links the power circuits in your car. For this reason, a damaged ignition switch may result in electrical problems such as the radio does not work. The sunroof, power windows, and other accessories may also fail to work.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Subaru Forester Ignition Switch?

close up hand of technician during repair key or switch engine start of sedan car

Your car's ignition switch is expected to last the entire period of your car's useful life. But the fragility of its wires can make it break down from time to time, thus requiring replacement.

Generally, it will cost $130 to $480 to buy a new ignition switch and pay for labor charges for its installation. The ignition switch typically costs $70 to $300, while labor costs will range from $60 to $180.

It is important to promptly replace the ignition switch as soon as it becomes faulty to avoid further problems down the road that may result in costly repair charges. Failing to take immediate action may eventually result in towing the car if it stalls or fails to start when on the road.

Ensure that you schedule an appointment with a certified mechanic whose specialty is keys and ignition systems, as they are better qualified to diagnose and replace the ignition switch.

Buy an ignition switch that is compatible with your vehicle's make and model. Furthermore, although buying genuine parts or Original Manufacturer's Parts (OEM) requires a higher initial investment, you benefit more from the part's long-term service. 

Your mechanic can also advise you on which replacement parts are best for your automobile, depending on your budget and the complexity of the ignition switch. Some models have security systems linked to the ignition assembly, necessitating further programming to re-code the key.

Closing Remarks

The girl starts the car by inserting the ignition key into the lock. Dashboard

If your Subaru Forester's key is stuck in the ignition, avoid applying undue pressure while trying to force it out since this may cause the key to break while inside the ignition. We hope the information provided in this article will guide you on a suitable approach to freeing the key.

Take note of the indicators that your car's ignition switch may be failing and address the issue on time. Prompt response will reduce the stress and frustration that would otherwise result if the switch failed completely.

You may be curious about these topics:

What's The Best Engine Oil For A Subaru Forester? 

Can You Put Chains On A Subaru Forester?