September 22, 2009

Key Won’t Turn Past Position I

Ignition Won’t Turn Past Position I Having removed the plastic covers and electric bits away from the area, I chiseled off the metal plate at the bottom of the lock. I found a broken piece of casting inside but the guillotine would still not move down. With the chisel and a pair of cutters, I removed the slides and then bent the guillotine slightly to the left, away from the cylinder shaft. That released the latch (and the steering) and removed its mechanical engagement through a pin lever with the cylinder mechanism.

Key wont turn in the ignition past I…need help ASAP

Tags Ignition, ignition cylinder, key won't turn, Tutorial
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31 responses to “Key Won’t Turn Past Position I”

  1. Michael Perrino says:

    This worked out really well for me. I had opened everything up to the point of the plate. I did not want to open the plate for fear of the tumblers possibly falling out, and potentially locking my valuable key in place. I was about to purchase the new $250 part, and go through the trouble of removing the anti theft screws. Luckily I found this wonderful post, had no fear to open the plate, extracted a little bit of a broken tab that was restricting the parts to move fully, and everything worked well. Re-assembled and tested. We are driving our Volvo. Thanks again, especially to the person who took the time to document and post.

  2. Jeff Rinscheid says:

    I want to reiterate the thanks to the person who originally posted this! I had the problem on my new (to me) 2004 Volvo S60, and after having been told to have it towed to my nearest Volvo dealer (50 miles), then wait 3 days for a $250 part plus add in the labor, I followed the advice above… had to eventually have a mechanic help with the chisel part – my grip wasn’t strong enough… but for $20, it is fixed.

    Note that in my case, I didn’t have to cut or bend the “guillotine” part – once the small plate was chiseled out, everything fell into place.

    Thanks again to the original poster, and to the owner of this forum!

  3. christian w. says:

    2004 S60t: same problem this morning I encountered. Wouldn’t turn past Position 1. Feelt as a though a mechanical/physical block that key was hitting after Position 1.
    Removed the bottom plastic column cover (3, t-25 torx screws), and gently tapped on the underside of the silver colored metal ignition assembly with a hammer about 5-6 times. (tapped all around the underside where the gold colored plate is in hopes to free-up whatever my be hung-up inside and blocking the key from turning).
    Put the key back in, and it easily turned right over all the way, and car started. What a relief, for the time being. I have ordered a new lock assembly for $276, and expect to wait 5-7 days for it to arrive.
    Have shut off, and restarted the car 5 times now, and not a problem at all.
    I recall on my 240s that a heavy key ring seemed to wear away the lock assembly. So, guess Volvo hasn’t quite figured this problem out yet.

  4. 99 v70 key won't turn past pos 1 says:

    Just had the same problem on a 99 v70, went on internet and saw a bunch of wiggles and jiggle attempts, so went back and tried to no avail, call AAA for a tow, resigned to the idea that a NEW switch was in order.

    AAA comes, explain the issue, he gets in the car and pounds on the key in the ignition and it works WOW. He told me that usually a screw driver and small hammer work as well, appears he has done this many a time, the jolt releases the parts that are stuck. I will now try to lube the lock, but TG to AAA, as I happily drove home. Once in the driveway I tried the key again and it worked fine.
    SO a small bit of pounding might be the answer.

  5. Richard S says:

    Wow, it worked for me on my 2006 XC90. the key wouldn’t turn pass position I since yesterday. Just now, I inserted my spare key, hammered it in gently. It didn’t work at first, tried a couple more time, and was able to turn key all the way and start up the car. I will keep the hammer in the car just in case. (: Question is: should I spend $200 on a new coded lock cylinder any way for a longer term solutioin? Thanks again for the post.

  6. Damon T says:

    I just had the same problem on a 2005 XC70. The key was getting stuck in position I. I could force it past there to start the car, but I had to force it to the point I was afraid I would break the key. I didn’t take the bottom plate off, I just bent it a little by putting a screw driver in the slot (closer to the rear of the vehicle), hitting it with a hammer to get some penetration, and bending it slightly. I was actually trying to get it out, but I noticed it bent and retracted slightly. I thought maybe this was enough to unbind things so I tried the key and it was back to normal. FYI, I don’t think it was the hammering alone that loosened it, as I had tried that before-hand. Thanks for the pics/info, they were extremely helpful!

  7. Bill says:

    I just had this problem with a 2001 Volvo V70. Happened while I was out and had to call a tow to get the car home. Getting the plate off the bottom of the ignition was difficult. The trick I found is to get a screw driver in the slot on the right forward side of the plate where there is an indentation. A small ball peen hammer is useful to wedge the drive in and lever the plate off. I left the plate off and covered the hole with a piece of aluminum tape. Works great. Thanks for the info and pictures.

  8. Stan says:

    I am having problem with my 2004 C70 ignition switch! This cure sounds plausible so I will try it. “Intermittently” when the key is inserted it will not turn at all… usually reinserting the key several times and thinking positive thoughts it will finally turn after a few tries. Yesterday, however, it took almost half an hour and we were sitting with a car full of groceries! Time to get this fixed! Hope this works but I am skeptical as my key doesn’t feel it would turn if I put a pipe wrench on it.. no wiggle – nothing! Thanks for all your posts…

  9. Kay Wilson says:

    Thank you, thank you , thank you…I thought my starter went out until I realized the key wasn’t turning all the way I found your site ..did exactly what you said ..and voila! IT WORKED ;)..First time the “fonzie” ever worked for me..did I say thank you? you saved me a wrecker bill and a $250 part :)) I hope the little spring and gold colored post thingy that had fallen out and was in the bottom plastic cover wasn’t important :>0…because i don’t know where it came from :)

  10. John Kerkvliet says:

    Just had the same issue on my 2004 S60, found your website, had it fixed in 45 mins. Thank you very much for posting….. My wife was ready to scrap the car…. Now, I’m a hero…..

  11. Adam says:

    Well i came back from holiday on monday and my 2005 S80 had the same problem I followed the instructions and it fixed first time so easy to follow. We have now been driving for a couple of days with no problems at all. Thanks for putting the post on here.

  12. John (Rochester) says:

    Awesome! I struggled with getting the plate off so I took it to my mechanic, gave him the printout of these instructions and worked like a champ. He had to use an impact gun to get the plate off but after that, car has been running for more than 6 months now without issue.

    Thanks for the great money saving post!

  13. Mike a says:

    Ac works intermittently(thro-out Bering?)a mech manually engaged it once and it worked until next time. Buy a used one? Install myself?

  14. Kaelan R. says:

    Have an 04 v70. Key wouldn’t turn past 1st position. Took off the outer shell (bottom) on the steering column to expose the metal door. Tried to chip away at the corners to free up the plate–very difficult. On a whim, I put the key in and it turned! Never did get the plate off, but seems I don’t have to. Soaked the inside to the key chamber with WD40 (stuck the red tube in and sprayed) and the key now turns much smoother than it has in a long time. Thanks for the info. From everyone.
    I’m planning on keeping the key chamber lubed up.


  15. Suzy Brown says:

    Thanks for this great ‘fix it’ – I called out a tow truck and the guy told me it would need a whole new barrel for over $600 on my XC90. Instead I followed the steps here because the info was backed up by another help forum I found. All I had to do was to remove the steering column protective covers and then I gently tapped the metal plate with a hammer – tried the key again and have been driving it ever since no problem. Thank to this site.

  16. peter m says:


  17. David says:

    My 2000 v70 situation was the same as all of the above as was the result after following the instructions. ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC fix!!!! Thanks so much. Fortunately mine failed in my driveway so I do think I’ll replace the lock just to bo on the safe side. Thanks again!

  18. Victor B says:

    I just had this happen to my 2001 v70.
    Thanks to the original poster, I followed the instructions, and even though I couldn’t get the plate removed, I must have loosened something because the car started.

    WHY is Volvo not making this a recall?

  19. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Had the same exact issue with my ’04 cx90 today. Originally forced the key to turn (just to get home) after finding this page on my phone. Got home and followed the instructions to remove the steering column lower cover and tap the ignition assembly gently with a hammer. Worked perfectly!

    Only tip I can offer is to make sure the wheel is pulled out as far as possible while trying to remove the bottom cover (after removing the screws, of course). I struggled for a couple of minutes to get the cover off until I flipped the big switch that allowed me to adjust the wheel position, and pulled it towards me. The cover came right off.

    Thanks again for saving me the time and money it would have taken to fix this otherwise!

  20. Crashhawk says:

    Thank you to the original poster AND all of the follow-on posters. I was able to get my 2005 XC-70 running again thanks to this thread. I had the classic “ignition would not turn past position 1” issue.

    I tried all of the quick fixes-turning the steering wheel, pushing on the brake, trying to shift the shift lever, lube the ignition, multiple cycling of the key in the ignition, and forcibly turning the key-all with no luck.

    After reviewing this posting and all links, I was able to get my car started by removing the three #25 torx head screws, removing the lower steering column cover, and tapping on the ignition housing with a small ball peen hammer. The car started right up. The hardest part of the whole process was getting the rubber seals lined back up around the turn signal and wiper arms-the whole process took about ten minutes.

    Thanks again all.

  21. Seth Matheny says:

    Thank you to everyone for posting on here! My wife’s ’04 S60 had the same problem. After removing the white ignition piece from the driver side, I used a screwdriver to start the car and drive it home. Next, all I had to do was bend the plate down and remove a small chipped piece of aluminum from underneath the spring! Hammered the plate back in place and started up the car. Haven’t had a problem since! You guys saved me $$$.

  22. Leslie says:

    I have been having occasional problems with my ignition on my 2008 S60. It seems to always start within 10 mins. of my first failed attempt. I thought at first it was a anti theft feature that I did not know how to override. After much research… I found nothing to collaborate this. Thank you for all of the great advice everyone !

  23. Chris says:

    Key turned freely from 0 to I, but no further. Tried lubricant on key, tried all three keys, tried tapping on key inserted in ignition; all with no beneficial affect. So I tried relatively non-invasive access to the plate. Removed the torx screws and popped open the plastic cover enough to allow a screwdriver to reach the plate and tapped on the screwdriver with a hammer to dislodge jamming particles inside the ignition assembly; result was the key turned easily and car started.
    Many thanks to original poster and the added comments of others, noteably Crashhawk who mentioned the potential difficulty with rubber seals on turn signal switch.

  24. Kerry says:

    Same problem on my 2007 V70 2.5T, key won’t turn past position I and key won’t come out of ignition, and can’t put shifter in neutral!!!
    I emailed this link/article to my mechanic, he ignored it and ordered the $310 new lock/ignition switch. I made him take apart the old one as shown here and after wiggling a screwdriver in the “gillotine” under the cover, the damn thing worked. Now I have a non-returnable lockset! I have read this problem in numerous places on blogs and the pics all look the same brand “VALEO Germany”. I think there are enough problems with these for 10 years that Volvo should honor a recall or reimbursement. The dealership said they replace one a week here in DFW area. My new ignition switch did not match the VIN number. I had a “key code” sticker/tag(with a 6 digit number) in my owners manual….do not loose that!

  25. MT says:

    To reiterate the sentiments of my nu,erous predecessors, THANK YOU so much to both the original poster, as well as all of the additional comments — this is my second experience with the same problem on the same car; however, the first time was covered under an extended warranty. I was so angry at the thought of spending the money for a second replacement on a part that should be covered under a recall considering how many people are experiencing the same problem! Like so many before me, I was able to simply remove the steering column cover and tap several times on the metal plate. This was all it took to dislodge whatever was stuck in the ignition assembly and allow my key to turn! A thousand thanks to all!!

  26. bob langton says:

    My car got stuck at work, tried wd40 but no luck- had to have towed, told it will cost $550 and at least 3 days before part arrives.

  27. TV says:

    Great help. Thanx!

  28. Joseph fitzgerald says:

    I just fixed my key wont pass 1 problem with a hammer and small chisell
    Thank you all for the tip,and confidence backup coments,which with out i would not have atemted to do this,best wishes to all,thanks again ,mal.

  29. ARV says:

    Same problem on my 2006 XC70 (key would turn from 0 to 1, but no further). The dealer told me that it was likely due to a broken lock cylinder and I could order a new one keyed for my car. I took out the three torx screws holding the steering column cover (as described elsewhere) and then struck the metal case under the cylinder with a small hammer (kinda lightly, sorta). After a bit, I succeeded in getting the lock stuck at 0 and couldn’t turn it at all. Aha! Progress! I kept it up and finally I was able to turn the key all the way to start and the car started. We had some problem the next day where the key would not turn at all, but after some gentle wiggling, it worked. YMMV.

  30. Matt says:

    Thank you so much!
    My 2004 S80 Volvo wouldn’t turn past position 1. I dreaded having it towed to the dealership and paying the $600-$700 they estimated.
    I tried the normal wiggling and jiggling and the key and steering wheel with no luck. I tried graphite, but that didn’t work. I found this website and decided to start taking things apart. Took the top and bottom plastic housing off of the steering column with only the 3 torx screws. After removing all of the electrical connections, I started gently tapping the metal ignition assembly with a hammer. After a few tries, I still couldn’t turn past position 1. I decided to remove the whole assembly, since at this point I knew what I was doing and could at least order a new one and replace it myself without having to pay the labor. The trickiest part was to remove the 2 shear bolts on the top of the column to get the ignition assembly off. I drilled into both bolts and was able to unscrew them with a flat head screwdriver. After removing the assembly completely, I took it inside, shook it around, and then it started working again! I plugged everything back in, and the car started right up. 2 days later and still no issues. It may lock up again, but at least now i know I can fix it easily myself if I decide to replace it all together.

    Thanks internet for all the help!

  31. Albert says:

    Thank you, I took the cover off and hit the bottom of the lock with a hammer and heard some metal rattle. Now the key turns all the way and my XC90 starts every time.


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