key turns but won’t unlock car door

This is a question that almost every driver has asked themselves at some point. When Key Turns But Won’t Unlock Car Door, it won’t turn all the way to unlock it, leaving you annoyed and stuck.

The cause of this can be as simple as a frozen lock, lack of lubrication, using the wrong key, dirt getting into the keyhole, and so on, but it can also be more difficult.

In this blog post, we will go through some common scenarios where a car key won’t unlock a door with solutions! Stay with us!

11 Reasons Why The Door Won’t Unlock

There are many things that can cause your car key to not open the car door. Here are the most common issues-

1. Lack of Lubrication

The most common cause of a key turning but not opening the door is a lack of lubricant. Long-term use or even getting into the automobile after being out in the rain can cause this.

If your lock isn’t lubricated sufficiently, it will become stuck and stop turning, making it impossible to unlock the vehicle.

Key Turns But Won't Unlock Car Door

It could happen if you’ve been using the keyfob to unlock the door and then try to open it with the physical keys after a while.

Get some lubricant spray and spray it into the keyhole of your door lock to repair this. Turn the key numerous times in the opposite direction (while applying additional lubricant) until you can turn it all the way!

I would recommend using multi-purpose lubricating oil, like WD-40 to drive away moisture and clean the lock.

2. Frozen Car Lock

This mostly happens to the people who live in areas where the temperature drops below freezing. Car locks can become frozen when the temperature drops below zero.

You won’t be able to open your automobile no matter how hard you try if this happens!

When the temperature drops below freezing, water molecules in the air condensate and adhere to the keyhole of your door lock, making it impossible to turn the key.

The remedy is simple: simply wait for your car to warm up! The ice will melt, allowing you to open the door without difficulty.

If you need to unlock the car right away, use a de-icer spray to thaw the door lock and get it working again.

Aside from freezing climate zones, typical cold temperatures might also cause the lock to malfunction. Metal shrinks in cold temperatures, which might lead to a lack of lubrication problem.

We recommend Victor Lock De-Icer and Lubricant to fix any type of winter car lock not opening problem. It does both de-icing and lubricating.

Key Turns But Won't Unlock Car Door

3. Worn Out Car Lock

Car locks tend to wear down over time. This implies that even if you use the correct key, they may not be able to unlock the door.

When a lock is worn out, turning the key becomes increasingly difficult over time.

It’s likely that your lock is worn out if your key won’t turn the lock or it takes a lot of effort to do so. This problem can only be solved by replacing the entire lock.

I would not advocate waiting until the lock totally fails because you would be stranded in the middle of nowhere.

When you see indicators of a worn-out automobile door lock, take it to a locksmith straight immediately and ask him to replace it!

4. Damaged Key

If you use a key that isn’t the original, it’s possible that it will be damaged. When a key is damaged, turning the lock becomes difficult, and it may even become stuck.

Using the original automobile key is the best method to avoid this issue. If you’ve misplaced or damaged your key, you’ll need to get a new one produced. You can get a replacement key produced at a car dealership or a locksmith.

New keys might potentially be destroyed if they are misused excessively. The lock may not open due to minor damage to the keys.

So, be careful when using your car key and try not to damage it in any way.

Key Turns But Won't Unlock Car Door

5. Using Wrong Key

It’s possible that you misplaced your key or picked up someone else’s. If this is the case, the solution is simple: you don’t have the right key to open the automobile door.

This is particularly common when people have many automobiles of the same model and pick up the wrong key by accident.

These keys are similar in construction and can turn a small amount before becoming stuck, giving the impression that they are turning.

If you’re certain you’re using the right key, the problem could be with the lock.

6. Damaged Car Lock

They can be damaged in the same way as locks do over time. This could be the result of a key collision or frequent use.

It’s time to replace your automobile lock if it’s not operating properly. If you don’t want to pay the money to replace the entire lock, you can opt for an alternative: changing just the cylinder.

The tumblers or the cylinder of the lock are the most commonly worn out or damaged parts of the lock.

You can get away without replacing the lock if you change those.

However, I do not encourage doing so because things can go wrong in a variety of ways, and you may find yourself stuck with a similar dilemma, such as a car door that would not open even with the correct key.

7. Improperly Installed Car Lock

It’s possible that a recent automobile lock installation by a locksmith or auto maintenance business is the cause of your key’s difficulty unlocking the door for you.

In many cases, the mechanic installs a faulty lock or the wrong key. This can cause problems right away and make it difficult to open your automobile.

If this is the case, take your automobile to a reputable locksmith and request a refund for the incorrect lock installation so that you can replace it with a better one.

8. Dust Got Inside

This is a common occurrence with unshielded car locks. Between the key and the lock, dust and filth build. The lock won’t open because it’s trapped in a speck of dust.

To resolve this issue, remove any dust particles from your lock and thoroughly clean it with compressed air. Both the vehicle key and the car door lock may need to be cleaned in some circumstances.

9. Door Latch is Stuck

No matter how hard you turn the key, if your door latch isn’t operating properly, you won’t be able to open the car door.

The issue here is with the latch rather than the lock. You’ll have to take your car to a mechanic to have it repaired.
When the automobile door won’t open from the outside with keys, practically everyone assumes there’s a problem with the lock or key.

However, it’s possible that your lock and key are in perfect working order, but the door will not open due to a rusted or corroded door latch.

You should consult an auto garage to get the latch repaired or replaced if you have this problem.

10. Broken Lock Tail Piece

Because I’m not a locksmith, I’m not well-versed in the inner workings of a car door lock.
Worn lock tumblers, on the other hand, will either prevent the lock from rotating or allow you to unlock the door with almost anything, including a screwdriver.

The broken tailpiece is most likely to blame if the lock turns but the door does not unlock.

When you turn the key, you’re moving a lever at the back of the lock mechanically.
The lock opens the latch between the door and the B-column by a series of push-pull connections.

If one of the components on the path to the door latch fails, you may discover that turning the key is simpler than before, and the door will not unlock.

Because it necessitates stripping the door panel, repairing the tailpiece is best left to a locksmith.

This is one of the trickiest things to master, especially with the window controls and speakers located on the door.

I’ve definitely had a dozen door-related problems, whether it’s the handle, lock, or tailpiece, and I’ve delegated the majority of them to a professional.

11. Broken Lock Cylinder & Tumblers

The key will not spin if the lock cylinder or tumblers are broken, as the failure will prohibit all of the tumblers from lining up.

To get the lock repaired, you’ll have to conquer three obstacles:

  • Obtain entry to the car.
  • Remove the shattered lock.
  • Reinstall the lock after it has been remade.

Given that you have the key, the first step should be straightforward: use the fob to unlock the doors, open the passenger-side lock, or get access to the vehicle through the trunk.

If you can’t get into your vehicle via traditional methods, I strongly advise you to read this post, which details all of the other options.

You can manually open the door and, more significantly, drive the car to a local locksmith once you’re in the driver’s seat.
They can utilize your existing key as a template to create the new lock, so you won’t have to change the keys.

You can also remove the lock by yourself by following the steps outlined in this article. It’s not an easy job, and you’ll still need to have a new lock designed or replace the keys if you opt for a new lock.

FAQs About Key Turns But Won’t Unlock Car Door

Key Turns But Won't Unlock Car Door

How do you unlock a stubborn lock?

The majority of people recommend using silicone lubricant on the lock, but I choose multi-purpose lubricating oil because it’s less expensive and just as effective. Hold the key flat and coat it with oil before inserting it into the lock. If you work the lock and are patient, you should be able to turn it.

Why won’t my key unlock my car door?

We’ve discussed why the physical key might not work, but there are still other ways to open the door. You can use the key to unlock the passenger’s side door, the fob remote, or even a phone app to unlock the vehicle.

Why does my key fob unlock but not lock?

The battery in the key fob has died: This is one of the most prevalent causes of a malfunctioning automobile door lock. If your locks aren’t working, changing the batteries in your key fob might help…. The solenoid is defective: If one door isn’t working but the others are, the issue may be with the door lock solenoid.

How do you reset a locked car door?

Press and hold the “lock” button on your car remote for one second, then put the key into the ignition, and turn it on.
NOTE – Works for most of the cars but not for all.

Why would a key stop working in a lock?

When a key suddenly stops working in a lock, there are usually two causes. Either a broken barrel (Euro lock) or a damaged metal part within the door mechanism gearbox will make turning the key difficult.


The final piece of advice to remember from this post is to always use the original key to avoid any harm.

If the door lock on your automobile isn’t working, it’s time for an upgrade or a new installation.

You can also stay on top of these issues by cleaning away dust particles with compressed air spray on a regular basis before they gather in the tumblers and become difficult to clean later.

Finally, if all else fails, call a professional locksmith to assess your vehicle and provide you with immediate solutions!

Leave a Comment

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap