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2001 Dodge Caravan....key won't turn

Kathy B Kathy B
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 10/06
Posted: 10/01/06
05:28 AM

I am trying to help my husband get the car started....he's stuck in a parking lot....I read a thread about using a rubber mallett...but can find out what I'm supposed to hit with it....the key, in the ignition, or what.  HELP!  

wolfenstein wolfenstein
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 10/06
Posted: 10/08/06
08:55 AM

try rotating the steering wheel while turning the key  

kagolden kagolden
New User | Posts: 4 | Joined: 10/06
Posted: 10/29/06
09:37 AM

Oh my goodness..thank you all!  We are a military family living overseas.  Last night..out of the blue..the key would not turn in our 2001 Town and Country.  With visions of never starting it again or getting it reparied here..ever..I googled and found this forum!  BINGO!  The rubber mallet worked after several whacks!!  Now the big long can I keep it working this way...what do I need repaired?  I don't want to be off our post and not be able to start this van again.  Any suggestions?  We have never had a single problem with this van, now I am afraid to take it anywhere!!!  

harold42usa1 harold42usa1
User | Posts: 126 | Joined: 09/06
Posted: 11/17/06
06:17 AM

I would replace the ignition lock cylinder...with this one from dorman

try this link on how its easily removed.

dorman ignition lock cylinder removal and key matching

look for the video called ignition lock cylinder chrysler

or google     dormanproducts chrysler lock cylinder..

a huge trick... if you cannot afford the new lock cylinder or it won't be in for a few days. do you have a nail file or emery board.   carefully follow the video instructions..  remove the tumblers from the lock one at a time.. lay them flat on the nail file and gently take the burrs off both sides..  reinstall.. do the next tumbler.. put it back together and you are working again..  

iainp iainp
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 11/06
Posted: 11/25/06
04:08 PM


We have also experienced the key not turning in our 98 Voyager.

In our case we contacted the dealer and they put us onto the local locksmith. Well he had the problem fixed in a couple of minutes and was confident it wouldn't happen again. Reckons the ignition in some cars has a build up metal in the lock barrels and he simply cleaned it off with one of his gadgets. Certainly we haven't had a problem since.

Hope this helps.  

markkra markkra
New User | Posts: 2 | Joined: 12/06
Posted: 12/17/06
01:50 PM

I own a 1998 T&C LXi.  Today while stopped at the Walgreens to fill a prescription after an urgent care visit, we experienced the dreaded ignition lock problem.  Of course we had a piano recital to be at in 1 hour and could not get the van started.  Tried rocking the van, pulling on the shifter, forcing the key, turning the wheel, etc.  Got into another vehicle after walking home, luckily we were somewhat close, and then were 15 minutes late for the recital.  Got home after the recital, logged on to the internet, and I found this forum.  Tried the mallet trick and voila, she turned.  Can't believe it.  This forum saved us an expensive call to the dealer (who else can you turn to in order to get the fix, right?).  Well, the answer is this forum.  Thank you so much for posting the solution.  God bless the internet (it needs it) and God bless  

rlhoward59 rlhoward59
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 12/06
Posted: 12/23/06
06:23 AM

I just read all of the above and will be trying to clean the ignition in my girl friend's mini-van.  Thanks for the insight, will report back results.  

mattlock mattlock
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 01/07
Posted: 01/15/07
08:24 PM

for any of you that have had an ignition switch problem and got it to work , you need to know it will happen again  so you should get it replaced as soon as you can . take it to your local locksmith and it will be much cheaper than the dealer . or if you cant get the key to turn the locksmith will come to you . if you have any questions you can reach me at  

kagolden kagolden
New User | Posts: 4 | Joined: 10/06
Posted: 02/07/07
02:19 PM

Just an update.  We are the military family living overseas.  We have been using the trusty mallet now for almost 3 months. As time went on and the weather got colder it was requiring  a little more tapping.  We were afraid we would bust the key.  A friend bought the part at a dealership in the states and  fed exed it to us. The dealership even keyed in to our VIN all for $98.00!  A local garage put it in for another $100!  THanks to all on the board for suggestions and for letting me know what part to replace!I now have peace of mind..but I still keep the mallet in the car..just in case I (or another Chrysler owner) might need it some day!  

uoduckalum uoduckalum
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 02/07
Posted: 02/21/07
10:22 AM


My wife and 2 small children were in the wilderness sledding and it was time to go home. We were traveling on the back roads to go home and had a blow-out. Changed the tire and got back in. Guess what?  The key wouldn't turn.  I went to use my cell phone and I couldn't get a signal.  

We were stuck.  We must've been 15 miles from the nearest main road.  We couldn't get the van started, thus we couldn't get heat.  The children were frozen and we were getting nervous.  We waited for a car to come by that we could try and stop - 2 hours later, nothing.  I decided to walk it out.  On my way to try and find help, I slipped on the ice and injured my leg.  I could barely walk.  I finally got to the main road.  8 hours later, I finally made it to the highway.  

I flagged down this nice motorist who drove me back to my family.  He had an idea.  After trying everything from disconnecting the battery, rocking the vehicle back and forth, cranking the wheel, jiggling the key back and forth... pulling on the shift lever - and nothing working - we banged on the key with a screwdriver.  It worked!  It was now after midnight, my kids and wife were nearly frozen to death and I was injured.  Fun night!  

Needless to say, I am really pissed off.  I stumbled upon this forum... and many others.  I am amazed at the number of problems Chrysler has had with this.  It is chronic, and they seem to be negligent in the handling of this problem with their vehicles.  We keep the screwdriver with us, and have had to use it multiple times.

Shouldn't Chrysler have to reimburse for getting this fixed.  It is a chronic problem, and could potentially get somebody killed.  I can't imagine if we were further out.  

Does anybody have any idea how to proceed with contacting Chrysler.  will I have any recourse?

Thank you!  

south south
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 04/07
Posted: 04/18/07
07:09 AM

Well I have a Ply 1998 grand Voy sitting in my driveway till I can take out the ignition switch and replace it. This is the third time -the first two were from dealer and they would not "help me"-the main company was useless and I suspect that the people on the phone will not be there in the future because of a lack of customers! Would you buy a Chrysler again?
When I had the car towed first time-I heard the service area tell the car jockey who brings the cars into the service area to use his "shoe" and hit it three times! It worked for him. So when this situation occured with my wife stranded I told her to smack it with a shoe or anything else around. It did work! The first time the cost was 180 dollars for that 15 dollars tumbler. Now they tell me the price is up 40 dollars more! So off I go today to get another swicth-so we will have another key to deal with! Every Chrysler owner should always carry that extra shoe with them! I do hope this helps!!!  

jdonato jdonato
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 04/07
Posted: 04/20/07
05:57 AM

April 20, 2007.
2002 Dodge Grand Caravan EX, 55k miles.
This key-won't-turn event has occured 5 times since we purchased the vehicle.  Most recently 2 days ago to my pregnant wife, alone, parking lot after work.  Upset, She called me on the cell phone after trying remove/insert key, jiggle steering wheel, jiggle shift lever, etc.  Then all of a sudden the key/ignigion switch started functioning as normal.  She came home and issued me the responsibility of getting this issue fixed.
I was planning on taking the vehicle to the local Dealership when I came upon this thread.  She will try the key/mallet/screwdriver technique if it occures again before I fix the root cause (faluty ignition switch tumblers).
Does anyone have any part numbers or part sources for the ignition switch so I can replace it myself?  Is a security recoding sequence requried?

from Roanoke, Virginia  

Larsdodge Larsdodge
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 04/07
Posted: 04/20/07
09:03 AM

2000 grand caravan Key won't turn.....You can add another successful key-banger to the list of ignition unjammers..My son was caught this morning with a Key that would not turn in the ignition..I googled and hit this forum..told him to bang the key...(he used an empty plastic sunglasses case....and presto...the key turned..I have now placed a rubber mallet in the case this happens again..  

mary51 mary51
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 04/07
Posted: 04/24/07
09:35 AM

I am glad I found this web site. The same problem happened to me yesterday and road service got the ignition unstuck by tapping the key with a wrench. However, I do plan to take the car in for an inspection tomorrow, since this was not the first occurance. I will print up this thread of blogs to show the service manager who gave me so much grief over the phone when I tried to set up an appointment. The problem was blamed on "Parking with the wheels turned" and "putting the car in park while it was still moving." I am a seasoned  driver with more than 35 years behind the wheel, and was more than a bit annoyed with Chrysler's excuses. Thanks to all who shared your experiences!  

Genrus Genrus
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 05/07
Posted: 05/18/07
11:49 PM

Ok. I have a Town&Country 2002, and the trick really works!  Grin

My short story of desperation? Well, my van in the little parking of my building, and a couple of neighbours mad 'cause they can'n move their cars...

I read the whole thread, and I was wondering 'damn, to use a rubber mallet?? Well, doesn't matters; is this, or contact —and be thiefted— by an authorized technician. But is just insert the key, and give it a little hit.

BTW, all of us should blame Chrysler!!!  Mad

Thanks God for internet forums, and thanks to all to you for sharing your experiences.
Best regards from Mexico.  

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