Author Topic: Car key won't work on one door?  (Read 39201 times)

Villanelle

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Car key won't work on one door?
« on: November 25, 2014, 01:44:51 PM »
Gah!  My car key goes into the lock on my driver's side door, but won't turn at all.  It works fine in the trunk and passenger side, but all of a sudden, the driver's door won't open.

I am not especially handy, so this may be a stupid question.  But I'm assuming this just means the lock as somehow worn out.  Is that something I can replace on my own (keep in mind, not super handy)?  If so, how would I go about that.  There's a language barrier (and my menu German won't get me very far), so dealing with the dealership might be difficult, but I can go and play charades if necessary, or have a German friend write something up for me before I go. 

I should mention that my car is very low tech and does not have power locks or an alarm, if that makes a difference. 

mikep

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Re: Car key won't work on one door?
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2014, 02:09:00 PM »
This worked for me one time.  Spray some lubricant into the lock.  WD-40 works.  PB Blaster is the best, in my opinion.  I don't know what is available in Germany, though.  Spray a bit onto the lock, and then insert and remove the key a few times.  You may need to wait ~15 minutes before it works. 

jda1984

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Re: Car key won't work on one door?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2014, 02:10:04 PM »
I had a similar problem with an ignition lock cylinder about 10 years ago.  The key worked in the doors/trunk, but won't turn (it would go in) the ignition lock.  One of the tumblers had come out somehow.  I ended up replacing the entire steering column (~$60 at a junk yard, vs. $100 for just a new lock cylinder from the auto parts store) and that was actually easier than fixing the lock.  It meant I had to have two keys, 1 for the doors, 1 for the ignition.

It sounds like something similar has happened to you.  Is it cold where you are now?  Could the driver's side lock just be frozen?  If it's not frozen, it sounds like a job that is better handled by a locksmith based on your statement that you aren't too handy.

Villanelle

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Re: Car key won't work on one door?
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2014, 02:32:55 PM »
I had a similar problem with an ignition lock cylinder about 10 years ago.  The key worked in the doors/trunk, but won't turn (it would go in) the ignition lock.  One of the tumblers had come out somehow.  I ended up replacing the entire steering column (~$60 at a junk yard, vs. $100 for just a new lock cylinder from the auto parts store) and that was actually easier than fixing the lock.  It meant I had to have two keys, 1 for the doors, 1 for the ignition.

It sounds like something similar has happened to you.  Is it cold where you are now?  Could the driver's side lock just be frozen?  If it's not frozen, it sounds like a job that is better handled by a locksmith based on your statement that you aren't too handy.

It's cold but not freezing, even at night (by a few degrees). 

I'll try WD-40, but it doesn't feel like it's a rust kind of issue.  It almost feels like I put the wrong key in.  It doesn't even feel like it wants to turn, if that makes sense. 


bigalsmith101

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Re: Car key won't work on one door?
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2014, 04:23:35 PM »
I'll try WD-40, but it doesn't feel like it's a rust kind of issue.  It almost feels like I put the wrong key in.  It doesn't even feel like it wants to turn, if that makes sense.

Dude. Step by step. How old is your car? What make and model is it?

I highly recommend the lubricant step. You put the key in and it won't turn, right? Like, "What the hell, my locks broken! My key must be damaged."

NOPE. This is the door that gets opened the most on your car. It's got gunk build up in it. It's dirty, and needs to be cleaned out.

Get the best lubricant you can find that won't evaporate. WD-40 is a good test, but will not leave a layer of lubricant behind when it evaporates, so it's not a permanent solution. Use the spray hose and get that lock completely saturated. Insert and remove your key several times. Spray again. Insert key and turn lock. I'm betting that it's going to turn.

I used a graphite spray lubricant on all 5 locks (4 doors/trunk) on my car when I was experiencing the same issue. Problem solved.

Go try it and report back.

Carless

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Re: Car key won't work on one door?
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2014, 08:26:55 PM »
I had this exact same problem in my Honda fit.  It turned out to be a burr on one of the key plates inside the tumbler (no idea how this happened).  Obviously lubricant isn't going to fix that.  I was selling the car at the time (see my username) and didn't want to pay $100 for a new tumbler + $100 labour +$100 for rekeying the lock so you don't have two keys for the same car.  I got the parts, and changed the tumbler myself, which was a bit nerve-wracking since I had never done anything of the sort.  Fortunately there were instructions on the internet.  I was extremely lucky, when I started swapping plates to rekey the new lock to work with the old key (all the little plates inside the tumbler have numbers on them) I had a duplicate of several including the one with the burr.  It was hair raising making sure all of them were in the right order, and of course everything is spring loaded, so if you lose your grip...sproing!  Hope you can find all the bits :)  In the end though it worked flawlessly.  I probably could have just found that tiny burr and ground it off, but I'm still impressed with myself for fixing it.  Took hours to figure out how to get the tumbler out of the car.  I'm sure the garage has some sort of fancy special tool for that.

Good luck!