Car key not working? Can’t unlock or lock your door? Are you struggling to turn on the car ignition?

Car key failure can happen at the worst moments, like when you’re supposed to be at work, school, or an appointment. If you’re noticing your car key isn’t locking and unlocking or turning the way it should, it might be time for a replacement.

Locks and Unlocks Inc, the premier locksmith in Madison, WI, has seen our fair share of failing car keys, and we’re here to tell you that there’s no shortage of reasons why your car key isn’t working.

Luckily, you don’t have to wait until your car keys fail altogether. Here are the signs you need replacement car keys sooner rather than later!

1. The Car Key Is Broken or Damaged

Has your car key snapped in half, or has broken off in the lock? These are not uncommon issues for motorists in the Midwest when temperatures drop. However, a damaged car key isn’t always as apparent as a broken one. Even if your car key isn’t visibly broken, slight damage may already be causing issues.

The grooves (or “teeth”) of a key can wear down and alter over time due to years of use or constant friction against other objects. The alterations are often so subtle that you can’t visibly see them (unless you’re looking closely with a magnifying glass.) When the grooves don’t correspond with the mechanisms of the lock, turning the key can be difficult or even impossible.

Are you unable to turn your car key in the door? Has it been a while since you’ve had a replacement made? Does your key come out of the ignition while the car is still running? If so, it might be time to call an automotive locksmith for key replacement.

broken car key

2. The Lock Is Damaged

If the car key isn’t the problem, the lock itself may be to blame. While a lot of cars today function with fobs or push button starters, older models still have the traditional turn-of-the-key locks. These locks wear down easily due to the constant physical unlocking and locking of the car.

But wear and tear to the car lock isn’t the only potential problem. Dirt and debris can easily jam up a car lock, and cold temperatures can cause car locks to freeze.

Difficulty with unlocking your car can happen from time to time, but if it’s become a more frequent occurrence, it may be time to have a locksmith investigate.

What if it’s not the lock?

Are you able to insert your key into the car but can’t turn it on? There might be something wrong with the ignition cylinder. If not addressed soon, the issue will become worse until your car key no longer fits in the ignition altogether.

3. You Forgot to Program Your Fob Key

Do you use a fob key or keyless remote for your vehicle? Are you only able to unlock your car doors and trunk? Did you purchase your own fob online, and are unable to program it?

If you’re unable to turn on the vehicle itself, there’s a chance it was never programmed to the car’s transmitter. This can often happen when motorists attempt to replace their own keyless remotes or use a duplicate key fob.

4. You’re Using a Copied Key

Did you recently misplace your car key and are running on a copy key? That’s one of the benefits to having a spare car key ready on deck ﹣ but there is just one problem:

Copied keys aren’t always duplicated accurately. And if you’re duplicating the duplicate key, chances are the design and cut are less like the original, which means the key doesn’t function the same, either. Locks and Unlocks can recreate a code key which is cut to the manufacturer’s specifications. This can help eliminate wear and tear on old duplicate keys.

replacement car key

Is It Time for Replacement Car Keys?

Don’t wait until you’ve been locked out of your vehicle to start thinking about replacing your car key. By knowing the signs of malfunctioning car keys, you can prevent serious problems from occurring at the most inconvenient of times.

If you’re currently struggling with your car keys, contact Locks and Unlocks, Inc. today!