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Kevin C.
Kevin C., Subaru Master Tech.
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 1727
Experience:  34 years of Subaru service experience, ASE Master Technician.
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Subaru Impreza 2.5I: I have a problem with my ignition key

Customer Question

I have a problem with my ignition key clinder. For no apparent reason, occasionally when I tr to insert my car key, it is blocked by something. So far, a some point a day or two or 6 later (after it has been towed to a dealer who has told me it needs a new ignition assembly) it will magically work again. I don't believe there is any problem with the inition. The car starts immediately when the key does fit in.
I don't think it should require a full ignition assembly to solve the problem. Anyone seen this before or have any thoughts?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Subaru
Expert:  Gary replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jess,My 2002 Subaru did that once.I made sure the key was clean, then I sprayed a TINY amount of silicon spray at the very front of the lock cylinder.Has not done it again for years now, touch wood.Did the dealer do anything, other that quote you for an ignition barrel assembly?Gary
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
ave already tried what ou suggested. Once it worked, next time it didn't. As far as I know my mechanic, who spcializes in Subaru's also tried that and jiggling the key and the steering wheel and removing some part of the cylinder I think. I didn't actually see it. He said he had spoken with Subaru dealer who said the "ignition assembly" needed to be replaced and that there was oly One avail- able in the whole U.S., because it is a "rare" problem, and that it can only be replaced by a dealer. I then had car towed to another dealer in VT, with whom I've dealt in the past becasue they've always been honest and would give me a free loaner car. He's about 60 miles from where I am. After my car arrived there, he put the pieces that had been removed back and then tirid the key. It worked fine. He had 7 of his co-workers try it and it worked fine. He told me he had no idea what the problem was but that probably a little chip of metal inside the cylinder slips and blocks the key. He charged me $40 and sent me on my way. This has happened on at least three separate occasions, months apart. I recently spoke with another dealer's parts dept and they told me I could probably just have the key cylinder changed which should not be very expensive. Not sure what to do. I am a mental health crisis clinician, so it is extremely important that my car be reliable..
Expert:  Gary replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jess,It is very common for many makes of cars to have a binding key cylinder in one form or another.Some won't allow the key to go in (your concern), some won't allow the key to turn once it is in.Both are cylinder problems.I can't count the number of ignition barrels (key cylinder) that I have replaced.If the price is ok for your Subaru, I'd get the barrel replaced.If it is like many I've done for Holden, you should be able to get an "uncoded" barrel kit, then the technician removes your existing barrel, disassembles it to get the current key code, then makes the new barrel to match the existing code.Fit new barrel to vehicle and check operation.Hope this helps.Gary