I have a 2001 Jetta that is standard. When I get in my car and try to turn the ignition, the key won't turn at all. This happens about 75% of the time when I am trying to start the car. The only thing that I have gotten to work is to put the car in neutral with the hand break off, get out of the car and then roll it in either direction a couple of feet. Then when I get back in the car, the key turns with relative ease and starts.

Any ideas what is wrong with my car and what I can do to fix it ? It is really annoying to strategically pick parking spots based on the need of being able to move the car physically.

  • Do you lock the steering wheel by turning to either side after you pull the key out? Have you checked for a recall for steering wheel lock? It's a popular issue.
    – Lukas G
    Jul 19, 2018 at 20:19

1 Answer 1


It sounds like the steering lock is causing this. Have you tried turning the steering wheel either way a little while turning the key?

By moving the car you are likely making the steering turn a little which will release the load of the steering lock.

If this is the case, it is quite normal.

  • I have not, I'll give it a shot later today Jul 19, 2018 at 16:53
  • You beat me to that answer @HandyHowie!
    – GdD
    Jul 19, 2018 at 17:12
  • Yep. Moving the steering wheel back and forth while turning the key back and forth seems to work. There is a bit more resistance than desired doing it this way though (I've already broken one key with this car trying to turn the ignition) Jul 20, 2018 at 13:20
  • You probably just need to turn the steering wheel in the direction that gives most resistance to release the load on the steering lock. The key should then move easily. Try turning the wheel a little harder.
    – HandyHowie
    Jul 20, 2018 at 13:23

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