Key Stuck In Ignition


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
99,068 miles
Total Complaints:
8 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (5 reports)
  2. secure loose pin (1 reports)
  3. the problem is in the floor shifter.i replaced it with used (1 reports)
  4. under the steering column pop out the small plastic disk (1 reports)
2003 Pontiac Grand Prix accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Pontiac Grand Prix Owner Comments

problem #8

Apr 302014

Grand Prix SE 3.1V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles


Here goes, I bought a 2003 Grand Prix in 2003. As of this date, it has approximately 35,309 miles on it (No Joke!). Runs good, get great gas mileage. In good here is the problem.... I have a serious problem with my ignition switch. It started in 2014, the key will not come out unless you restart the engine, drive back and forth, drive around the block, open and close the doors, windows, and fiddle with the key until it comes out. I have been stuck in my car, so many times, and had to drive back home and wait until the key finally comes out.

I have taken the car to several certified mechanic shops and was told there was nothing wrong with the ignition switch, I was not turning it off correctly and to use a "light twist of the switch. (shaking my head). I was told to put a little W2 in the key hole and for awhile, I could turn the engine off completely and remove the key. The in-park light would turn off on the dashboard. Now, for the past few weeks, it has gotten worse!

As of today's date, 12/10/2016, the switch will rotate enough to turn the car off, but not all the way to the original off position. The key will come out in the location where it gets stuck, but when I open the door, the warning beep sound goes off, and the "in-park (P) light" on the dashboard will not go off! It stays on no matter what I do. Now, to top this off, the key is out of the switch, but when I turn the round cylinder, I actually turned the engine on without the key inside the switch!!!! Magic! Hell No! I removed the "kill switch" and called a mechanic and was advised, there were several recalls on the 2003 Grand Prix. I was given a number to call on Monday, 12/12/2016 before I take it in for repair.

I know three (3) others with the same model and year, having the same problems. My neighbor was told if he brings his car to the nearest " GM Auto for "Recall Repair" and there is no guarantee, it would be fixed the same day and he would have to leave it until they (mechanics) can get to it. I have heard some horrible stories of many having to leave their cars from more than a few days to a week or more in order to have the repairs made.

I really like this car and Blessed that it still looks good and runs well. Here's some background information: It (I named the car "Sparkle" has been in the repair shop for brake repair/replaced free because of a defect (2006?), windshield wipers and motor replaced free (2004), another defect.

- , Washington, DC, USA

problem #7

Apr 082015

Grand Prix GT 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 187,000 miles

Ignition key won't come out of ignition when car is in park and engine is off. I had the same problem with a 1999 Grand Prix SE I previously owned. This is also a common problem with Chevy Cobalt's.

Through research I have done on the web, the problem may be a pin coming loose in the shifter assembly that activates the micro switch that sends a signal to the ignition that the car is in park. The pin, about 3 to 4 inches long, has two uses; 1) to prevent the shifter from moving out of park without the brake pedal being pressed, and 2) to allow the key to be turned off fully.

To remedy the problem yourself, you have to take apart the center console to get to the shifter assembly.The pin should be laying along the side of the assembly. Remove the nuts that hold the shifter assembly in place and locate where the pin came from. The pin can be reinserted about midway on the assembly just below the micro switch which is located on the right side of the assembly. The pin can be kept in place by applying some "Lock Tight" on the grooved portion of the pin. This will stop the pin from rattling loose again. You can buy Lock Tight at nearly every hardware store. Put the shift assembly back together, as well as the center console. Problem solved.

If you are not comfortable with the idea of doing this yourself, take your car and cash to a mechanic you trust.

- , Clarkston, MI, USA

problem #6

Nov 242014

Grand Prix GT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,545 miles

Key stuck in my ignition, '03 Pontiac Grand Prix. Mechanic took solenoid out of steering column to release key. Yea...have my key back!!

2 weeks ago my heated seat suddenly was UNBEARABLY hot after leaving work. Hit switch to low...DEFINITELY GOT HOTTER!! I could not get the seat to cool off...shut engine off for 1.5 hours, came out to run to store, seat STILL hot?!?! The next morning my battery was COMPLETELY dead (just had tested 1 week prior)...not even turning over. The heating element had continued to pull power even with the key out of the ignition. Read the 2 sentences in owner's manual on the heated seat, I believe by taking the solenoid out to get my key back, the car's system wasn't registering the ignition was in "LOCK" so was allowing accessories to pull power. I thought my leather seat was going to catch on fire. Still trying to find a reasonable price to fix this.

- , Coralville, IA, USA

problem #5

Nov 012012

Grand Prix SE 3.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles


I have found the the problem does not respond to slamming the shifter into park, wiggling the keys, pumping the break, reversing, or trying to park uphill. Doing this will sometimes result in it to release the key but it is not reliable. I hear there is an override that is a quick fix. If you google it, you can find solutions.

- , Chapel Hill, NC, USA

problem #4

Jul 022010

Grand Prix SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles

So I have had a problem getting my key out of the ignition for a few months now; realized that there needs to be a clicking noise when i shift to park before my key will be released. The problem was not so noticeable but lately it almost never fails; i have to spend at least a minute beating on the shift stick; turning the car on and back off, switching from park to drive etc.. to finally hear the click and get my key out. Given the amount of complaints i am sure Pontiac already knows about it; but just as for other problems such as the electric window motor which has apparently given up on many grand prix's including mine on 2 windows, a couple of friends and several others i see with the window patched with duck tape! Pontiac has proven low customer response and have been losing popularity with unhappy customers who have put Pontiac where it belongs and it will not be long before they shut down if not already!

- , Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #3

Nov 222010

Grand Prix GT 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

I found out that this is a common problem with the Pontiac Grand Prix model. The problem is in the floor shifter. When you put the car in park, it's not telling the ignition that the car is in park and will not allow you to remove it from the ignition. There is a small access hole on the bottom of the steering column that you can stick something small like an ink pen to use. Push upward and it will allow you to turn the key off and remove it from the ignition. I found a used part from Morad Parts in Cleveland, Ohio through ebay. It cost about $35.00 for the part and $11.00 shipping and took 2 days shipping. The part from the dealer at my discount is about $200.00. This is my car and not one of my customers. I also was talking to a friend of mine about a month ago with the same problem and told him how to fix it.

Craig Maples

Maples Auto Collision

Flint, MI

- , Flint, MI, USA

problem #2

Dec 012009

Grand Prix GTP 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I have a 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP. Frequently, but not all of the time when I turn the car off, the key will not return to the original position that allows me to take the key out. It will rotate enough to turn the car off, but not all the way to the original off position.Recently the key will now sometimes come out in the location where it gets stuck, but when you open the door, a warning beep sound goes off. I assume this is not a good idea to leave your car in this manner.

So how can I resolve this issue so that the key will return to the original off position every time I shut the car off? I have heard that some issues similar to this have cost a lot of money for a dealer to fix and I also heard that a locksmith repaired a similar issue relatively inexpensive. Is there a cheap and easy solution that you could please explain to me so I can try to repair this problem myself? I appreciate any and all information that you can provide to help me with this problem.

- , Burlington, VT, USA

problem #1

Feb 182009

Grand Prix SE 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

Could not remove key after turning off engine.

Remove small plastic disk under steering column then insert small screwdriver or the wooden end of a small hobby paintbrush gently push up on the plunger and remove key at the same time.

Worked for me...but still a pain.

- , St Louis, MO, USA

Not what you are looking for?