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Most newer models have a safety feature called shift interlock. This prevents the key from being turned back to the lock position if you forget to place the gear selector in park. Depending on the model, If it uses a cable, it may be sticking or needs adjusting. If it uses an electrical solenoid. may be blown fuse or park switch. Tap, shake, and pull up on the shifter and make sure it's in park.
FIRST make sure that your shifter is all the way up into the PARK position. Then make sure that the button on the shifter is not sticking. This button operates a switch that energizes a solenoid to keep the key from returning all the way back to the OFF position. If the button is stuck in, sometimes it can be released by tapping on the shift lever. This is a VERY COMMON problem.
Below is a link to a video that explains what I am talking about here.
Ignition - Key Stuck In Ignition Switch/Won't Turn
Bulletin No.: 06-02-35-005
Date: February 28, 2006
Key Stuck in Ignition, Key Will Not Return to Off Position, Shifter Button Won't Release in Park Position (Adjust Shifter Detent Finger)
2002-2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Customers may comment on any of the following conditions:
- The key is stuck in the ignition cylinder.
- They cannot return the key to the off position to remove the key.
- The shifter button won't release in the park position.
This condition may be caused by the detent finger shifting over time. This may result in mis-alignment and binding of the shift rod on the shift position guide.
WHERE YOUR SHIFTER IS YOU WILL HAVE TO TAKE IT APART ..MAYBE THE RUBBER BOOT IS IT THE WAY,OR THE SHIFT LOCK SELINOID WHENT BAD
Try banging on the shifter, if this works, spray some silicone spray into the shifter at the release button (the cable from the shifter to the ignition lock sticks sometimes). If this doesn't work, you may have to replace the ignition lock. It is held in with 2 breakoff bolts that have to be drilled out.
Sometimes the lock knob on the shifter sticks. If you hit the shifter forward gently a couple of times and the button pops out, the key should come out. If this works, spray some silicone between the knob and the shifter and move the release in and out until it moves freely.
You may have the same problem the Chevy Cobalt had with it's shifter.
There is a pin the shifter that activates a micro switch and the pin will miss-align that the key's will not release. Ask the dealer if there is a micro switch like the cobalt in the shifter that may have gone bad. All you need to do is take the center console apart where the shifter is and line up the pin again.
Good luck and keep me posted.
I had this exact problem. The reason was the little push button on the automatic shifter that you press when you want to move it from Park - sometimes when you place it back to Park, it does not go out all the way - this prevents the key lock from releasing the key. Try to pull that button out all the way and it will release it. Cleaning around the button also helps.
First thing to do when it does it next is to wiggle the gear shift knob button out. The tend to break apart at the hinge and stick, this causes the key to not release. Use two fingers and wiggle the button while pushing it out and see if it releases.
If it doesn't the mechanism one the gear shifter itself most likely has coke/coffee on it and is sticking. It is mounted right under the cup holders.
you can try to clean it by removing the center console, but I would take it to a garage to do it. The center console has to be removed and the mechanism that does into the shifter has to be removed and cleaned with contact cleaner. It then has to be re-greased and reinstalled.
Went thru this with the neighbor. At the 6:00 position under the column is a plastic panel. Remove it with small screwdriver. Using index finger , press on white plastic button. This releases switch and allows you to remove key. Replace plastic panel.