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Brendan Block
Brendan Block, BMW Technician
Category: BMW
Satisfied Customers: 260
Experience:  I have been a BMW Technician for nearly 10 years and specialize in engine conversions, brake upgrades and race car preparation.
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325xi (E46): 325xi (E46) key stuck in ignition - is it electrical,

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325xi (E46) key stuck in ignition - is it electrical, mechanical (new lock?) and is there an easy fix?

Fidhle007 :

Hi there!

Fidhle007 :

Does the key turn at all?


yes -- 45 degrees in both directions


Is anyone there?

Fidhle007 :

I'm here, sorry!

Fidhle007 :

I'm guessing the car does not start though?


Should I step out also?


Car does not start and is locked in Park. I hesitate to have it towed because wheels are locked (in all-wheel drive).


Did you bounce out again?


I just saw my original post, and I have to apologize. I did say ignition at first, and that was wrong. I am sorry to have led you down the wrong path.

I'm here, not sure what's up with the site today, sorry! It sounds as if the ignition lock assembly has failed. This is very common on E36s but I suppose these cars are old enough now to start seeing the same failures. First and foremost, try wiggling the steering wheel while turning the key and see if you can get it to engage. Failing that you'll probably have to remove the steering lock assembly which would require pulling the steering wheel and driver's airbag.
Is the key stuck in the door or in the ignition?
I apologize, I thought your key was stuck in the ignition based on your original question but I saw your reposted question where you stated it was in the door so hopefully I can help. If the key is in the door, you can remove the whole lock assembly fairly easily which will let you work on the key outside of the car. If you open the door you'll see a small black rectangle of plastic on the back edge of the door just about the latch mechanism. If you remove this you'll find a 4mm hex screw which you can unscrew (it probably won't come out completely) but this will release the door lock assembly and allow you to remove it. You can now stick a screwdriver into the door lock hole and you should be able to lock and unlock your doors from there. Chances are you'll need a new door lock assembly but your dealer should be able to get that for you easily. You'll need your license and registration when you order it though so keep that in mind when you go to the dealer!

I hope this helps!


If you are satisfied with my answer please accept it and leave me a positive rating!

Where you able to get the lock assembly removed from the car? I think your best bet is to take the whole thing to the parts counter at your local BMW dealer so they can get you a new one.


If I have helped you, please accept my answer and leave a positive rating so that I can receive credit for my answer! Thank you and good luck! ~Brendan

No worries, sorry for the confusion! I would imagine a locksmith could help but if you can get the car open (perhaps holding the key to unlock and seeing if the windows open) I would pull the the whole assembly apart as I described above. I suspect the lock assembly has failed and will need to be replaced which is a dealer-only part. It's not hard to do though!

A locksmith might also be able to get your key out but again I would recommend replacing the lock to avoid this issue happening again!

I hope this helps! If you are happy with advice please accept my answer and leave me a positive rating!

Thank you!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Brendan -- Thanks much for your follow-up. I'd like to remove the first rating (Bad!) I gave you because I agree there was confusion. I read in the terms that I would be charged every time I gave a rating. How do I get "them" to change my rating to "Good Service"?

I'm not sure, you could contact a moderator but you should be able change your rating without getting charged. I think all you have to do is accept one of my later answers and leave a positive rating and you should be fine.

Thanks in advance!
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