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AZTechBrian, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 708
Experience:  Owner
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My key cylinder won't turn to start my truco, I can't turn

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My key cylinder won't turn to start my truco
JA: Can you turn the steering wheel at all? And what about the key? Is it worn or damaged?
Customer: I can't turn it no. Key isn't excessively worn
JA: What is the model/year of your Toyota?
Customer: 2006 tundra
JA: Are you fixing your Tundra yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: I'm stuck at an arm in town. All I've done is wiggle and try to turn it. Tried to move steering wheel side to side
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: I don't think so
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.

Hello. Do you have a spare key you could try? I assume your not home and don't have access to the spare key? If that's the case, the only thing you can do jiggle the key like a mad man until it turns. This does happen quite often, and as difficult as it may be at times, we are almost always able to eventually get the key to turn. Once the key turns then we can remove the lock cylinder and replace it. Often times the problem is with the key itself and not the ignition lock cylinder.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
No spare key. I was just scared that the madman I am I might break the key inside. Thought about using a pair of pliers

I would not try to force it with pliers. Either there is a tumbler inside the lock cylinder that is sticking, or there is a worn spot on the key. You can try using some penetrating oil to loosen up the tumblers in the lock cylinder, jiggle the key like a mad man while trying to turn it, etc. It should turn eventually. It may take a ton of persistence but they almost always do turn.

well, lol... when i say "mad man" I don't mean to use excessive force. I just mean to jiggle it really quick.

jiggle it up and down, There are tumblers on the top and bottom of the key in the cylinder. jiggling it up and down will make the tumblers bounce and eventually they will hopefully all line up.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I did spray a little WD 40 inside. Is it possibl we I could get too much and mess it up more?

most likely it's only one tumbler that's not lining up right and it's probably just sticky if the key is in good shape.

too much could make it's way to the electronics. You shouldn't need a whole lot. get some in there and just keep working on it. The alternative is drilling the lock cylinder out, which is not very fun. It's rare though that we have to resort to that.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I'm still trying. Don't notice any change. The tumblers you mention, are they spring loaded like the ones for home? Kwikset, Schlage etc

yes, they each have a tiny spring behind them.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I'm still here. Thanks for your help. Any other suggestions?

It still won't turn? After the penetrating oil, jiggling up and down, in and out, etc?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.

shaking the steering wheel back and forth didn't help either? And, you have no spare key?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
If they make a key from this old one would it be better? Or same

oh boy.... if it just will not turn, then you will have to drill it out in order to turn it and replace the lock cylinder with a new one. I'm sorry it's being so difficult. They usually do turn eventually

What is the condition of the key? pretty worn?

If they make a new key from the old one, it will most likely be the same thing. You could call a lock smith if you want. try putting a little more penetrating oil on the key and insert the key in and out a bunch of times to loosen up the tumbler. If the key is decent, then it's probably a sticky tumbler.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Not really. I'd send you a pic but battery is low on phone flash won't work

looks like the key is pretty worn to me. In which case, the tumblers are probably not sticking and penetrating oil will be of no assistance. just vigorous shaking of the key until it turns. It's a shame you don't have a spare anywhere. Absolute worse case, we're looking at drilling out the center of the cylinder to get the tumblers and springs to drop out. Then you can turn it with a screw driver.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
It's night time and the police station is right around the corner. lol I have my cordless drill and bits but not sure how much charge is in the battery. Afraid it will die before get done

that would be a wonderful way to end the night wouldn't it?>? the police showing up and thinking your stealing your own truck.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
My luck
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Is the metal pretty hard? I HAVE SHARP bits. What size you recommend? I may have no other choice. Either way, I'll have a bed to sleep in tonight. Lol


it's very soft. it's aluminum and brass tumblers. I would start off with a quarter inch bit, and slowly work up in size until you get to the point where all the tumblers and springs drop out.. have you tried to call a lock smith?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
At this time of night. Would charge more than I have now. Just recently had a medical issue and money is tight

i understand. I just had to mention it. Please mark the drill bit so you don't drill further than the key would go.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
OK thanks for all your help

Your welcome. Hopefully you'll be able to get it done without too much issue.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I called the police dept. To let them know. I started drilling, metal is not so soft. Maybe inside . Bits won't phase outer

It's been a long time since I have had to drill out a lock cylinder. probably 2 years or so. Usually we are able to get them to turn one way or another. I do know that we use very sharp cobalt bits, start at 1/4 inch and work up until we get all the pins out. Even then it can be a little difficult to get it turned if you don't go deep enough, but if you go too deep you'll run the risk of damaging other components. I really dont' like drilling these things out very much.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
OK thank you

yes, there is definitely some steel in there as well. I can actually recall quite some time ago, inserting a large flat screw driver into the ignition lock cylinder, and twisting with a crescent wrench until the cylinder broke and turned but I would be afraid of attempting that due to housing damage.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you Brian. Don't remember if I rated you or not. I did cancel my membership yesterday. But it had nothing to do with you. You did as well as you could without being right there with my truck. I canceled due to financial reasons only. Thanks again

no worries. Your welcome

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