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Key Stuck In The Ignition?

Ever got a key stuck in the ignition? Perhaps your Ford Fusion?

That recently happened to Jerry. Two days in a row. The first day, after a couple minutes of fiddling – turning the engine back on, shifting back and forth, twisting the steering wheel from one side to the other – he managed to withdraw the key. But the second day…nope. It was stuck as stuck can be.

He appeared at the door of the house looking more than a little flustered. He had moved his car a few feet forward to get it out of the way of the guy we expected to show up in a dump truck any day, and after spending several minutes and doing everything he could think of, the key still would not come out.

“If I can’t get it out tonight, I’ll have to take it to the mechanic on Monday.”

This announcement did not sit well with me. I’d had quite enough of large, unexpected expenses, and as soon as Jerry spoke those words I imagined a mechanic bill upwards of $500 to remove the key stuck in the ignition.

He and Benjamin went off on their planned excursion to the stream for a bit of cooling off after I declared I would make my own attempts to save the key. Jerry’s eyes reflected no hope at my declaration, but I knew I had to make an attempt.

After finishing editing some videos, I made good on my word, praying as I went.

The prayers seemed to have gone unheeded. I made no headway.

Discouraged, I left the car and began tromping back up to the house. On the way there, a thought floated through my head: why not look it up online? After all, Jerry couldn’t have been the only person who’d ever had a key stuck in his ignition. And maybe it was a particular issue with a Ford Fusion.

This turned out to be the answer to my prayer.

The solution

Ten minutes earlier, I had put away the router (we have wireless Internet) and the computer. But when I got back to the house, I promptly set them back up. A brief search led me to a forum about Ford Fusions, to a thread began by someone who – guess what? – couldn’t get his key out of the ignition.

One person recommended one thing. Another said a mechanic would have to do a $50 job.

Then someone finally suggested something I knew I could try. I jumped up and went back to the car.

I looked around on the shift handle. There was something about the button I was supposed to loosen. A chrome ring.

A chrome ring…where could it be? What were they talking about?

Oh, was it…this?


I stuck my fingernails underneath it and pulled.



Well, it didn’t really make a popping sound, but it came right out after working at it briefly.


And then, the moment of truth. I wrapped my fingers around that stubborn key, stuck in the ignition. And yanked.

The key slid out as smooth and slick as butter. No yanking necessary.

I grinned triumphantly. I had figured out something Jerry had not. (That is, something related to mechanics or engineering.)

My moment

I returned to the house, put the computer and all back in their places, then got ready to go meet Jerry and Benjamin.

Benjamin’s happy cries led me to where they were splashing around. When I caught sight of Jerry, I got his ring of keys in my hand, then raised it up.

“Hello,” I said.

Jerry looked toward me.

“Ta-dah!” I grinned, waving his keys.

Jerry’s eyes widened.

No more key stuck in the ignition.

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