7 Reasons Why Your Car Key May Not Be Working

At some point, almost everyone experiences problems with their car keys. Whether it’s a worn-out key, a damaged key fob, or a dead battery, issues with car keys can cause frustration and inconvenience.

In this article, we will explore the most common reasons why your car key may not be working and how to fix them.

car key

1. The Key Is Worn Out

A worn-out key is a common reason why a car key may not be working. Over time, keys can become worn down from repeated use, causing them to lose their shape and fit poorly in the lock cylinder. Here are some reasons why a worn-out key may be causing issues with your car:

  • Misaligned cuts: Each key has a unique pattern of cuts on its blade that match the pins inside the lock cylinder. If these cuts become worn or misaligned, the key may not be able to turn the cylinder and start the engine.
  • Corrosion or dirt buildup: Dirt and debris can accumulate in the keyway over time, making it difficult for the key to turn in the lock. Corrosion can also build up on the key or inside the lock, causing friction that makes it hard to turn the key.
  • Bent or cracked key: Keys can become bent or cracked from being dropped, stepped on, or simply from being worn down over time. A bent or cracked key can prevent it from fitting properly in the lock cylinder, making it impossible to turn.

If you suspect that a worn-out key is causing issues with your car, it’s important to get a new key cut as soon as possible. In some cases, a locksmith may be able to repair a worn key, but in many cases, a replacement key will be necessary to ensure the reliable operation of your vehicle. Regular maintenance of your car keys, such as keeping them clean and storing them in a safe place, can help prevent issues with worn-out keys in the future.

2. The Key Fob Is Damaged

Over time, the key fob used in your car may become damaged due to factors such as accidental dropping or exposure to moisture. The extent of the damage could either be apparent, such as a cracked or broken casing or button, or internal, such as a damaged circuit board. If your key fob sustains damage, you may need to have it either repaired or replaced. 

A damaged key fob may fail to work correctly, leading to inconvenience or security issues. It is advisable to get it checked as soon as possible by an expert locksmith who can either repair the key fob or provide you with a replacement key fob for seamless functioning of your car.

3. The Battery Is Dead

In case your car key fob is battery-operated, it is likely to stop working if the battery dies down. This can happen if the battery is old or if the key fob has been unused for an extended period. 

To address this concern, it is necessary to replace the battery in the key fob. In such instances, you can obtain a new battery for your key fob, either from an automotive supply store or a professional locksmith

Replacing the battery in the key fob is a relatively straightforward process, and with the help of an expert, you can quickly resolve this issue. It is crucial to keep your key fob battery charged and replace the battery on time to avoid any inconvenience or security issues while using your car.

4. The Ignition Is Damaged

When your key fails to turn in the ignition, it could indicate damage to the ignition switch. This damage could be the result of multiple factors, such as regular wear and tear, a damaged key, or an electrical malfunction. If your ignition system has sustained damage, you will probably need to have it repaired or replaced. 

An expert locksmith can diagnose the issue with your ignition switch and repair or replace the damaged components accordingly. Ignition issues can be caused by various factors, and it is advisable to address the issue immediately to avoid getting stranded. Regular maintenance and servicing of your car’s ignition switch can prevent issues and ensure that it continues to function correctly.

5. The Car Battery Is Dead

A dead car battery can cause your key to malfunction, which can occur due to an aging battery or an issue with the charging system. To resolve the problem, you will need to replace the battery or get the charging system inspected. 

You can seek assistance from an expert mechanic or an automotive technician to determine the root cause of the problem and suggest a suitable remedy. Keeping your car’s battery in good condition and monitoring its charge level regularly can prevent this issue from occurring and ensure that your key operates correctly at all times.

6. The Lock Is Frozen

In cold weather, the lock on your car door may become frozen. This can cause the key to not turn in the lock or to get stuck. To fix this issue, you can use a de-icer or a hair dryer to melt the ice. Alternatively, you can try using a lock lubricant to prevent the lock from freezing in the future.

7. The Key Is Dirty

If your key is dirty, it may not work properly. Dirt and debris can accumulate on the key and prevent it from turning in the lock or the ignition. To fix this issue, you can clean the key with a soft cloth and a cleaning solution.


In conclusion, a malfunctioning car key can be a significant inconvenience, and it is essential to identify the cause of the problem and resolve it promptly. In this article, we have explored the seven common reasons why your car key may not be working correctly, ranging from a worn-out key to a damaged ignition switch, and highlighted the necessary steps to fix each issue. 

Keeping your car key and its associated components in good condition, performing regular maintenance and servicing, and seeking expert help when needed can ensure that your car key works correctly and prevent any inconvenience or security issues. 

We hope that this article has provided valuable insights to help you troubleshoot and address any car key issues effectively.

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