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Key Stuck In The Ignition

2002 Pontiac Grand Prix (Page 1 of 3)


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
97,650 miles
Total Complaints:
59 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (24 reports)
  2. release under steering column up a channel. (10 reports)
  3. put it in park until i hear the ignition unlock (4 reports)
  4. replace switch behind ignition (4 reports)
  5. depressed button (3 reports)
  6. automatic shifter pushed up to far (2 reports)
2002 Pontiac Grand Prix accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2002 Pontiac Grand Prix Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #59

Aug 022017

Grand Prix GTP V6 Supercharged

  • Automatic transmission
  • 192,000 miles


We had been dealing with the key getting stuck in the ignition. This time when the key came out, we went to restart, put the key in and it does not turn. It does not do anything.

- Arthur D., Round Lake, US

problem #58

Jan 162015

(reported on)

Grand Prix

  • Automatic transmission
  • 168,000 miles

OK, I AM PUTTING THIS BOLD JUST TO GET YOUR ATTENTION: I HAVE HAD THIS PROBLEM FOR YEARS AND USED A STICK TO PUSH THE BUTTON ON THE UNDERSIDE OF THE STEERING COLUMN.(for those that have not seen this before, look under the column just below the keys, there is a plug there, just remove it and you will see a button, use a stick, straw etc to push it and it will release the key every time) I FINALLY CAME UP WITH A PERMANENT FIX THAT COST .10 CENTS. JUST GET A 8 mm BOLT ABOUT ONE INCH LONG, I USED A SLOT HEADED, FLAT ENDED BOLT. JUST SCREW IT INTO WHERE THE PLUG WAS TO DEPRESS THE BUTTON AND YOU HAVE A PERMANENT FIX.

- roeger, Greenfield, IN, USA

problem #57

Jun 012014

Grand Prix GP 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

Should have been recalled!!!

Too many complaints about the same problem.

The key is stuck when the car is put in park.

- jp.mi, Three Rivers, MI, USA

problem #56

Jun 012013

Grand Prix GT 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,526 miles


I paid $410.00 to have the problem fixed. They put in a new ignition, was good for a few days and now it's not working again!! What would be a permanent fix?? I'll try the pen, but that isn't going to satisfy the Mrs.!!!

Update from Sep 18, 2013: So, as it turned out.....they forgot to put the clip back in the shifter that stops it from coming off. it would just slip up a bit when it was put in park without noticing. The clip is at the bottom of the handle facing the dash. It's been fine since. So, in the end.......a new ignition switch #KS6213...$198.29 CDN. Labour was about the same, but they had to rewire in me remote starter too.

- drlyle, Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada

problem #55

Nov 012010

Grand Prix GT 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

Sent several emails asking if they would fix due to how undeniably COMMON this problem is! They responded with a generic email each time. What I did was I popped out the little plug on the underside of the steering column almost directly under the ignition key insert. Then I use the inside of a common pen and stick that up into the hole to push in the plunger once I put the car in park. Works every time, but is a pain and just another common problem out of many with Pontiac Grand Prixs that should have had a recall.

- lancewi, Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #54

Mar 042013

Grand Prix GT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,800 miles

I guess I have been lucky because I never had this problem until recently and, as you can see, I am approaching 140,000 miles on the car. I am the sole owner of this car and have had it since August 2001 when I picked it up from Kemper Pontiac brand spanking new!

I am most grateful for the workarounds that the previous 49 complaints have given me and will try a number of them. I have been mostly groping in the dark, not sure what to do. Today was the first day that I had the problem each and every time I turned off the ignition. Tomorrow I will look for that round plastic cover and try to find the release button some of you have mentioned.

- Tony P., Piscataway, NJ, USA

problem #53

Feb 012012

Grand Prix SE 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


It seems that almost all 2002 Grand Prix owners have run in the same problem. What I cant understand is why GM is not ready to admit their fault and do a recall. It just shows you that they do not care at all about their clients !!!

- Michel B., Gatineau, QUÉ, Canada

problem #52

Jun 012011

Grand Prix GTP V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,671 miles

General Motors should recall all these cars with the ignition key stuck problem, there are thousands of them.

- raygtp, Portage la Prairie, M.B, canada

problem #51

Jun 282011

Grand Prix 3800

  • Automatic transmission
  • 210,000 miles

The car will not turn on. no matter what I do. I had my brother come over and look at it, he doesn't know either! What do I do?????? My key goes in but it doesn't turn like its stuck! How do I fix this?

- Kiara R., Prescott, AZ, USA

problem #50

Jan 252011

Grand Prix GT 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

my key is stuck in ignition took it to get fixed was told the tumblers that are used for the GM are good for weqaring out. Another fine design by GM this car is now an on going problem with things going out and not working

- Lisa B., New Prauge, MN, USA

problem #49

Jan 302010

Grand Prix LS 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


Ok, so the first time this happened 3 or 4 years ago, the dealership replaced the switch behind the ignition and it cost me $100 deductible under my extended warranty that I bought in 2004 when I bought the Grand Prix. A couple years down the road, when the warrant had already expired, the key got stuck again. This time I searched the internet and found out that there was indeed a real ease button under the steering column, but was only accessible to push with your finger when you tilted the steering column all the way up as far as it could go. My wife and I just got used to the procedure and continued to do that for almost a year before I finally decided to do something about it. I removed the steering column cover and exposed the switch. I then took 2 zip ties with a very small piece of card board , laid the cardboard over the button and crisscrossed the 2 zip ties around and over the cardboard and tied it tight. This has since kept the button compressed, and eliminating my problem for good. Car is up for sale....went with a ford this time...thought I would never say that, but things have changed.

- Billy C., Odessa, TX, USA

problem #48

Jun 082005

Grand Prix GT 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,564 miles

Posting this as I saw so many people having the same problem on this model. Same thing, key stuck in ignition unless I played with the gear shift or used the key release button. Took into a mechanic as was a pain. Issue was a sensor wire on the gear shift under the car had become frayed. Mechanic replaced the wire and have had no issues since, originally when fixed thought was a design flaw. It's been over five years, cheap parts used is my conclusion at this point.

- altherix, Estherville, IA, USA

problem #47

Mar 122010

Grand Prix

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,988 miles

I have had the same problem as everyone else key getting stuck I unhooked the battery for 5 min to reset computer seem to work fine for a good six months now the ignition won't turn to the off position so I use a screwdriver in the whole underneath the steering wheel and the car won't go into any gear so I use the screwdriver to release the shifter I will let you know what ever I find out from that or if anyone has a solution please let me know

- maymi, Gr, MI, USA

problem #46

Aug 242008

Grand Prix

  • Automatic transmission
  • 156,000 miles

Like everyone else, my key gets stuck in the ignition too. Usually happens a couple times a week. When this happens I usually just turn the car back on and put the car in drive or reverse and then back to park and usually i hear the click noise and the key comes out. this isn't the only problem with my car either. when driving in heavy traffic sometimes the car heats up to 210ish and there is always plenty of coolant. about 8 months ago the service engine soon light came on, so i took it to two different places and they both said nothing is wrong with the car and finally last month and light just turned off by itself.

- itsjustliz, Elk Point, SD, USA

problem #45

May 102010

Grand Prix GT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I have owned my '02 GP since new and the first time I noticed this problem was 3 years ago in '07. I mistakenly took it to my local Pontiac dealership and they fixed it(so I thought) in a day. They claimed it was two bad wires in the module but I knew better. This car has had issues with it since 2005 and has been a major pain in the butt since then. I did not see a repeat of this problem until late 2009 when it started happening again. I took it back to the dealership and asked how long their work was guaranteed for and they claimed a few months. I told them their product stunk and would never buy another one again as long as I lived and wrote a letter to Pontiac(for which I never received a reply) stating that if they did not satisfy me on this problem that I would spread the word as long as I could that the Pontiac brand could not be trusted and to stay away from it. I should have learned from my fathers mistakes when he purchased a new Fiero back in '85 and a Bonneville in '90. Both were trouble from the get go and stupid old me took Consumer Reports at their word that the '02 was a good buy and highly rated and reliable.

I have so far sunk more than $3,000 into this car for unnecessary repairs for defective equipment(some made in Mexico) since the warranty ran out in '06. I still have the battle with the ignition which I win every time, every day with my trusty old pen to release the button. I have a 1990 Chevy Suburban that has run like a top and twice the mileage on it than this Grand Prix does and haven't put more than $400 into it in 5 years for oil changes and brakes. This is the reason why Pontiac went out of business. They sold bad cars and couldn't stand by them. Shame it had to happen after all they put out 40 years ago when they were in their heyday.

- George H., Detroit, MI, USA

problem #44

Mar 122010

Grand Prix SE 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

well as I can see the key being stuck in the ignition is a common problem, but I am not sure about the shifting problem, had to push in the shift release button to be able to come home today. I just bought my car not even a month ago, and I wish I would have seen this website first. WHY DONT THEY DO A RECALL ON THESE CARS?

- Tristy H., Oak Grove, KY, USA

problem #43

Nov 102008

Grand Prix GTP 3.8L Sc V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Like everyone else the key kept getting stuck, I would work the shifter to get it out and beat the steering column to get it out, at this point I keep a screwdriver ti hit the release, I think I'm going to glue something in the release slot so it doesn't take me an extra 15-60 seconds to get out of the car and explain to everyone that I drive a POS after I get out.

- Jason H., Bristol, VA, USA

problem #42

Nov 032009

Grand Prix SE 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

Well, this being a Pontiac kind of surprised me that I would run into stupid little problems like this but me being a mechanic I always have some tools in the car, so when it happens I just push the button under the ignition with a drill bit that I keep In the small console in front of the shifter. That way I always have the "key" for getting my key out.

- Stache F., Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada

problem #41

Jun 012008

Grand Prix SE 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

My key gets stuck in the ignition almost everyday I have to wait 30 sec to a couple minutes to get the key out. I also have several other little problems. I will never buy a Pontiac again never had so many issues before even out of my much older cars with more miles. My Dad just told me that is a GM for ya. Some of my other problems are: gas gauge is broken drivers side door doesn't always unlock with key I had to replace both head gaskets had water in car on floor water is in headlights all the time ABS needs fixed

If you are thinking of buying a Pontiac DON'T unless you like to spend money on repairs! windshield washer fluid will not work

- Sue N., Pekin, IL, USA

problem #40

Aug 262009

Grand Prix GT 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,596 miles

I'm having the same issue as everyone else with the key getting stuck in the ignition, I just wanted to add another complaint. :)

- Ross W., Defiance, OH, USA

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