Audi: Why Won't the Key Come Out of the Ignition?

A key stuck in an ignition is no laughing matter. Keep reading to find out if your Audi is at risk for a larger problem.

By Charlie Gaston - April 8, 2016

This article applies to the Audi A6 C6/C5, A3, A4 B7/B8 and Q5/Q7 (1998-2015).

If you've started to experience some difficulty in removing your key from your ignition, then this article was written especially for you. Like other Audi drivers, you've probably spent several minutes tinkering around with your ignition and/or steering wheel, while switching your car in and out of drive and park mode. If you were lucky, you probably got your key to release after putting your car in park. Still confused as to what caused the problem in the first place? Well, scratch your head and wonder 'why' no more. That's right! We've got the answer. Keep reading to find out what caused your key to become stuck in your ignition and what you can do to resolve the issue going forward.

Audi Why Won't the Key Come Out of the Ignition?

Materials Needed

  • Jumper cables
  • Screwdriver

Step 1 – Check your ignition switch

It might be defective.

This is a repair you will need to see a professional mechanic about. The reason why is because there are two major issues that could be at play here:

  • Your ignition switch could be damaged and needs to be replaced.
  • The cost for an ignition switch replacement could reach $300 or more.
  • If your tiptronic shifting assembly is out of alignment, and your ignition interlock won't work properly when your car is in park, then you may be able to get away with a simple mechanical alignment.
  • Your dealer may also need to replace a sensor in the shifting assembly.
Figure 1. This is the tiptronic.

Pro Tip

For a simple (and possibly temporary solution), go ahead and manually disengage the shifter by shifting into drive. Finish the process by shifting into the tiptronic shift gate to release the button to the shifter and release your key from the ignition.

If the ignition was not the problem, then continue to Step 2.

Step 2 – Rotate and remove a stuck key

You'll need to do this manually.

If you absolutely must remove a key that has become stuck, and your car battery is dead, then go ahead and climb into the driver's seat of your Audi and do the following few actions:

  • Press the small, recessed button located on the outer ring of the ignition barrel using a small screwdriver.
  • Your key should rotate and release immediately.
  • Toggle it as needed.
  • If you need to access your trunk, you can do so via the bottom of the trunk lip.
  • You are now safe to jump start your car, if it's necessary to do so.
  • Provide an adequate charge directly to the bar, versus via the cigarette lighter wiring or the busbar, which is located on the back of your fuse panel.

If the key is still stuck, then go onto Step 3.

Step 3 – Jump start your car

You might have depleted your charge.

This step is written for anyone who has left his or her keys in the ignition overnight. Even though your car was turned off, you could still wake to find that your keys have become stuck in the ignition.

  • If your key won't release (and you can't put it into neutral), then go ahead and grab a jumper cable.
  • The thing you're going to want to know here is you'll need to access the battery in your trunk and use it to jump start your car.
  • There are terminals underneath the hood of your car that are especially for jumping your car.
  • Check your owner's manual if you are unsure.
  • You'll need a donor car to charge your car's battery.
Figure 2. There are resolutions to a stuck key.

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