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Billy
Billy, Trainer/Master tech.
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 3498
Experience:  Trainer 8+ years, Master tech. 10+ , SAE member
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Volkswagen Jetta TDI: My key is unable to turn more than 10

Customer Question

My key is unable to turn more than 10 degrees in the ignition. It has not happened in the past and was fine early in the day. The steering wheel locks when the key is out and is unlocked when the key is in the ignition and both keys have the same problem Any way to free the turn. I have tried WD 40 in the key hole and tapping with a hammer to loosen the tumblers. What else can I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: VW
Expert:  Billy replied 1 year ago.
Hello and Welcome! I'm Billy and i will assist you with your inquiry. Feel free to ask if any further info is needed.
do you have an auto transmission? and if yes, have you tried moving the shifter lever?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes and yes.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have tried at least 7 things. Tapping on the ignition with a hammer, tapping on the key while in the ignition, playing with the steering wheel while trying to turn the key (this gives me 10 degrees and then it stops), playing with the shifter (it is in park an does not move), using different keys for the same car (same result), trying to move the car from set position, and liberally using the brake while playing with shifter and trying the key.
Expert:  Billy replied 1 year ago.
Hello again,
Usually when this problem happens, the steering remmains locked. This would mean that you either have a steering lock problem, or a problem with the Access / start control unit.
Since the steering wheel is unlocking, then most likely the problem is not electrical. In your case, the most common likely cause (given your symptoms and my experience) would be a bad ignition tumbler. This usually gets worn and stuck as heavy key chains are linked to the key (but it can fail by itself as well).
The good news is that the ingition tumbler is the cheapest of these problems. The bad news is that you'll need to have the car towed to dealer or a VW specialist to replace the tumbler. The tumbler should cost around 80$, and an 1.5 hours of labor to replace it.
Kindly get back to me with your findings, or if further assistance is needed.
Regards,
Billy
PS: to move the shifter from P to N (in order to tow the vehicle), you need to remove the shifter cover, under it towards the front (near the P area) there is a solenoid with a locking rod that needs to be pressed and the shifter should move freely.
The other way would be disconnecting the shifter cable from the transmission and moving the switch on the transmission two clicks backwards (so it is in Neutral).

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