BMW Key Stuck In Ignition – Here’s How to Get It Out

BMW Key Stuck In Ignition – Here’s How to Get It Out

If you’re a BMW owner, you know how important it is to have a fully functioning ignition system.

However, sometimes the unexpected can happen, and you find yourself with a key stuck in the ignition.

This can be a frustrating and inconvenient experience, but don’t worry – in this article, we’ll explore some effective strategies for safely removing a stuck key from the ignition of your BMW.

Whether you’re dealing with a 2008 BMW key stuck in the ignition or any other model year, the tips and techniques we’ll cover can help you get back on the road in no time.

BMW Key Stuck In Ignition - Here's How to Get It Out


Causes of a BMW Key Stuck in Ignition

A BMW key stuck in the ignition can be frustrating and inconvenient, but understanding the underlying causes can help you address the issue more effectively.

1. Worn or damaged ignition cylinderOver time, the ignition cylinder can become worn or damaged, preventing the key from turning or becoming stuck.
2. Dirty or damaged keyA dirty or damaged key can prevent it from working properly and cause it to become stuck in the ignition.
3. Steering wheel lockThe steering wheel lock can cause the key to become stuck if it’s not positioned correctly or engaged properly.
4. A dead battery or faulty electrical systemIf the battery is dead or the electrical system is faulty, the key may get stuck in the ignition or not turn at all.

It’s important to note that these are just some possible causes, and other issues can also contribute to a stuck key.

Troubleshooting Tips for BMW Key Stuck In Ignition

Dealing with a stuck key in the ignition can be a frustrating situation, but fortunately, it’s often fixable with a few simple steps.

Whether you’re in a hurry to get somewhere or just need to get your vehicle back on the road, these troubleshooting tips can help you to solve the problem quickly and avoid unnecessary expenses.

1. Lubricate the Key and Lock  Cylinder:

If the key is stuck in the ignition of a BMW, one of the troubleshooting tips is to lubricate the key and the lock cylinder.

This is because the lock cylinder can become dry and corroded over time, making it difficult for the key to turn.

Here are the steps to lubricate the key and lock cylinder:

  1. Obtain a graphite lock lubricant: This type of lubricant is specifically designed for use on locks and is available at most hardware stores.
  2. Apply the lubricant: Squeeze a small amount of the graphite lubricant onto the key and into the lock cylinder. Use the key to work the lubricant into the cylinder by turning it back and forth several times.
  3. Turn the key: After applying the lubricant, try turning the key to see if it will now turn in the ignition. If it does, repeat the lubrication process several times to ensure that the lock cylinder is thoroughly lubricated.

Graphite lubricant is preferred over other types of lubricants because it is dry and does not attract dust and debris, which can cause further issues with the lock cylinder.

It is important to note that over-lubricating the lock cylinder can also cause issues, as an excess lubricant can attract dirt and debris and lead to further problems.

2. Replace the Damaged Ignition Cylinder:

Dealing with a worn or damaged ignition cylinder can be a frustrating experience, but there are a few simple steps you can take to fix the problem.

  • Try wiggling the key gently while turning it in the ignition.
  • Spray a small amount of lubricant into the keyhole and onto the key to help free up any stuck components.
  • If the key still won’t turn, it may be necessary to replace the ignition cylinder.

3. Check the Ignition Switch:

If you have tried turning the steering wheel and lubricating the key and lock cylinder but the key is still stuck in the ignition of your BMW X1, it is possible that there is a problem with the ignition switch.
Here are some steps to check the ignition switch:
Steps Descriptions
Check the battery Make sure the battery is fully charged and properly connected. A weak or dead battery can cause problems with the ignition switch.
Check for electrical issues If the battery is fine, check for any other electrical issues that may be affecting the ignition switch. Check the fuses and wiring to ensure there are no loose connections or damage.
Try wiggling the key Sometimes the key may be stuck due to a loose connection between the key and the ignition switch. Try gently wiggling the key while turning it to see if it will turn.
Check the ignition switch connections Locate the ignition switch under the dashboard and check the connections. Make sure they are tight and secure. If they are loose, tighten them.
Test the ignition switch Use a multimeter to test the ignition switch. Turn the key to the “on” position and test the voltage between the positive and negative terminals of the switch. The voltage should be between 12 and 14 volts. If it is lower, the switch may be faulty.

4. Check the Battery: 

If you’re experiencing a key stuck in the ignition of your BMW, one of the first things to check is the battery.
Here’s what you should do:
  1. Turn off all electrical components: Before checking the battery, make sure all electrical components of the car are turned off, including the headlights, radio, and air conditioning.
  2. Locate the battery: The battery is usually located in the engine bay, but it can also be found in the trunk in some BMW models. Consult your owner’s manual if you’re unsure where to find it.
  3. Check the connections: Make sure the battery terminals are clean and tight. If there is any corrosion or buildup on the terminals, use a wire brush to clean them.
  4. Test the battery: Use a voltmeter or a multimeter to test the battery. A fully charged battery should have a voltage of around 12.6 volts. If the voltage is below 12 volts, the battery may be weak or dead.
  5. Charge or replace the battery: If the battery is weak or dead, you’ll need to charge or replace it. If the battery is simply weak, you can try jump-starting the car to get it started. If the battery is dead, you’ll need to replace it with a new one.

By checking the battery and ensuring it’s in good condition, you can eliminate one possible cause of a key stuck in the ignition.

DIY Solutions for BMW Key Stuck in Ignition

A BMW key stuck in the ignition is not an uncommon issue.

The good news is it’s usually something that can be fixed without having to go to a mechanic or buy any expensive parts.

Possible CauseDIY Solution
Lubrication of internal componentsUse a dry lubricant, such as graphite powder or silicone spray, to lubricate the internal components of the ignition cylinder. This can help to free up any stuck or sticky parts that may be preventing the key from turning. Avoid using oil-based lubricants, as they can attract dirt and debris, making the problem worse.
Faulty wires or connectionsCheck the wiring and connections to the ignition switch and the starter motor. Look for any loose or corroded connections and tighten or clean them as necessary. If you find any damaged wires or connections, you may need to replace them or have a professional mechanic do so.
Ignition switch replacementIf none of the above DIY solutions work, you may need to replace the entire ignition switch. This is a more involved process that may require special tools, so it’s best to consult a repair manual or a professional mechanic for guidance.
Key replacementIf the key is severely damaged or worn out, it may need to be replaced. You can usually get a replacement key from your BMW dealership or a certified locksmith.

A little bit of patience and elbow grease will likely do the trick!

Professional Repair Services 

If you’ve tried all the possible solutions for removing a stuck BMW key from the ignition and still can’t get it out, it’s time to seek professional repair services.

  • A professional mechanic or locksmith with BMW experience can accurately diagnose the issue and provide a tailored solution.
  • They possess the necessary tools and expertise to safely remove the stuck key without damaging the ignition system.
  • Professional repair services not only remove the stuck key but also address underlying issues that may have caused it.
  • These services can inspect and repair the ignition cylinder, replace worn-out internal parts, adjust spring tension, or fix electrical issues that prevent key turning or removal.

While professional repair services may come with a cost, it’s often the most effective and safest solution for a stuck BMW key in the ignition.

It’s important to choose a reputable and trustworthy repair service to ensure quality workmanship and avoid any further complications.

Preventative Measures

As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

This adage applies to many aspects of life, including car ignitions and keys.

Here are a few more preventative measures you can take to help avoid a stuck key in your BMW’s ignition:

  1. Grease the ignition: Using a small amount of dielectric grease on the key before inserting it into the ignition can help to prevent corrosion and keep the key turning smoothly.
  2. Avoid harsh environments: If you regularly drive in harsh environments, such as dusty roads or extreme temperatures, take extra care to protect your key and ignition system from damage. Consider using a protective cover for the key and cleaning the ignition regularly to prevent the buildup of dirt and debris.
  3. Regular maintenance: Stay up-to-date on your BMW’s maintenance schedule, including oil changes and tune-ups, to help ensure that all components of your vehicle are working properly. This can help prevent any underlying issues that could lead to a stuck key in the ignition.
  4. Replace worn keys: If you notice that your key is becoming worn or damaged, consider replacing it before it becomes a bigger problem. A damaged or worn key can cause the lock cylinder to become damaged as well, leading to a stuck key situation.

By taking these preventative measures, you can help keep your BMW’s ignition system in good condition and reduce the likelihood of a stuck key in the future.


It’s a frustrating experience when you try to start your car, only to find that the key is stuck in the ignition.

But don’t panic! With an understanding of what causes this problem and some simple DIY solutions, it doesn’t have to be a major issue.

After careful diagnosis and troubleshooting by our team at Car Ignition Experts, we were able to identify the underlying cause: worn-out springs inside the lock cylinder mechanism.

References & Official Resources: 

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