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Amedee, Toyota Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 24150
Experience:  ASE certified tech advanced level specialist. Wisconsin certified emissions state inspector
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1998 Toyota Camry (4C, automatic). Car wont start. Key wont turn.

Customer Question

I have a 1998 Toyota Camry (4C, automatic). Car won't start. Key won't turn. Brake pedal seems to be frozen and can't shift to neutral. Lights work OK.

Any ideas?????

Thanks, Lee
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  Amedee replied 6 years ago.



If you cannot get the key to turn in the ignition, then you might have a bad ignition switch and or lock cylinder. Try another key and see if you can get the ignition to come on. If not, the lock cylinder is bad and needs to be replaced.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
This does not explain why the brake pedal will not move, or why I can not shift out of park to neutral. It must be something else.
Expert:  Amedee replied 6 years ago.
THe shifter will only come out of park if the key is turned to at least the accessory position. THe brake pedal will seem very stiff because the engine is not started and there is no engine vacuum to assist the brake pedal so it will seem very stiff.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The key does turn just a bit, but not as far as the accessary position, so that must be correct. It does seem strange that the ignition switch would go bad all of a sudden, without sticking a few times first. I had a simular situation once with a 93 Ford Taurus, and it turned out to be a problem in the brake pedal, that required a tiny little part and five minutes to fix. Before I accept your answer, I just want to make sure that there could not be any other reasons for the ignition not turning.
Expert:  Amedee replied 6 years ago.
Try turning the steering wheel back and forth just a bit while trying to turn the key and see if that helps.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I did that already, but I tried again just to be sure. The key seemed to go a little further this time. I jiggled it quite a bit, but no luck. It seems to be the ignition switch. I can't get over how it just went out like that. I can't put the car in neutral, so it is going to be a pain to get towed. Any advice on that before I accept your answer?
Expert:  Amedee replied 6 years ago.
You could check all the fuses... but that should not cause the key to not turn.
Amedee and other Toyota Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I guess all I can do is have the car towed to a repair shop. I was hoping for something easier and cheaper. Thanks anyway.
Expert:  Amedee replied 6 years ago.

I hear ha! I which there was a quick fix for this. But there should be nothing else that is preventing the key from turning besides a bad lock cylinder. SOmetimes something in the steering column can cause this.. but that requires disassembly of the steering column and is not an easy fix. Try a different key and see if that helps!

Edited by AMEDEE on 12/21/2009 at 12:54 AM EST

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