Help! Ignition switch won't turn!
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  1. #1
    Neutral
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Boise, Idaho
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    Help! Ignition switch won't turn!

    I have a 99 GLS wagon. The ignition switch locked up today and won't allow the key to turn and unlock the steering wheel and start the car. I've tried different keys, moving the wheel while trying to turn the key, etc, but no luck. Has anyone else had this problem?

    Of course, the car is at my kids school parking lot, so I need to get it towed to the dealer and get it looked at Monday. I hope to avoid all that expense if it's something simple.

    Any help greatly appreciated.

    Tom

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  3. #2
    Lisa Simpson
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    Aug 2001
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    Ddf, Germany
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    15,044
    Your ignition lock could have broken.

  4. #3
    Neutral
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    Dec 2003
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    Stoneham, MA--Bone stock 2003 GLS blue/silver..Now Phatbox equiped!:), Valentine One/K40 laser jammr
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    This happened to our lexus

    The guy at the dealer took a flat punch, and put it on the ignitian cylinder and tapped a few times. There were just a few poics out of alignment

    It got us home from NY and we had the cylinder replaced when we got back

    may be worth a try

  5. #4
    Neutral
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    Sep 2003
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    McDonough, Georgia
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    i know it sounds stupid, but did you try flipping the key over? i had the same thing happen to me one time and my dumb ass tried for a while to get the car to start, then the previous owner., my boss flipped the key over and started it right up. just a suggestion.

  6. #5
    PassatWorld Staff
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    Mahtomedi MN USA
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    The key to my 01 did the same thing about half a dozen times when I first got it... I was at the 'one more time, and it's going back' stage, and it never did it again.

    It was a matter if pushing it in, pulling it out (both very slightly), juggling it to get it to turn. At first it was a huge PITA, and took 8-10 tries (loading the key differently), and got easier and easier until... no problem at all.

    Hopefully you hav the same thing.

  7. #6
    3rd Gear
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    Aug 2001
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    Stockbridge GA
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    I had my entire ignition switch replaced last month on my 99. They do fail.

  8. #7
    2nd Gear
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    Nov 2002
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    North Lauderdale Fl USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by danteshors
    I had my entire ignition switch replaced last month on my 99. They do fail.
    how much was that ?

  9. #8
    4th Gear
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    Campbellsville KY US
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    Have you tried any type of lubricant in there? I had the same thing happen in my old Jetta, and a shot of graphite fixed it right up.

  10. #9
    4th Gear
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    Oct 2004
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    Encinitas CA
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    I am having a similar problem with the ignition lock on my 1996 A4 (automatic, old school double-sided tooth profile key design).

    Symptoms:
    1) Key is often very difficult to insert or remove.
    2) When key goes in easily, lock will not turn at all.
    3) When key is tough to push in, lock will turn only with higher-than-normal torque applied to key.
    4) Replacement lock cylinder exhibits exactly the same behavior, indicating a problem in the steering column and/or transmission latching mechanism itself.
    5) I have the steering wheel and most trim off, for easy access to the cylinder which houses the lock cylinder at one end and the electrical switch at the other. I currently have the ignition cylinder removed, as well, and I can press-and-turn the internals fairly easily by using a screwdriver instead of the lock cylinder.

    Suggestions sought! The Bentley manual is silent on this, beyond replacing either the lock cylinder (easy, provided one can turn it to the run position) or the electrical switch (not at all likely to be the source of the problem).

  11. #10
    4th Gear
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    Holy heck! +10 Internet points for digging up this 10 year old thread! (also, holy smokes, I've owned Passats for more than 15 years now!)

    John, have you tried to lubricate any of the parts in the column?

  12. #11
    3rd Gear 2002GLXV6's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
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    Raleigh, NC
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    I found this the other day and it may help. Shows how to disassemble the lock mech. clean and re-assemble. It talks about "broken" parts, but I think they really mean just debris and metal bits that wear off the mech. over time and cause it to jam.


  13. #12
    4th Gear
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    New info -- the primary problem appears to be that I have to turn the key backward against springlike tension to remove the key. Once I remove the key, the keyway then rebounds forward a bit, making reinsertion of the key difficult. The transmission lock cable is a possible suspect, or something in the steering wheel lock mechanism.

    Stay tuned ... .

  14. #13
    4th Gear
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    OK, problem solved -- it was the start return spring in the ignition switch itself. I am now putting everything back together -- any hints on reinstalling the lower steering column cover? I can make it slide in easily, unless I pull it high enough to try to clear the steering column, in which case it does not want to go on.

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