By January 12, 20070 Comments Read More →

1999 Pontiac Grand Am Ignition Key Won’t Release Sometimes

Reader Question My 1999 Pontiac Grand Am is having ignition switch problems but I think they are related to the Transmission being in park. It of course has a safety where you can not cut the car off and take out the key unless the car is in park. It has started not always wanting to turn completely to off. Then of course I can’t get the key out.

I put the car in park(it does actually go in park) and cut the ignition off but it stops right before the off indicator. I have noticed that after I hear a click sound coming from under the gear shifter, the key will then be able to be released and turned completely to off.

No problems in actual gear shifting just this issue. Would this be a transmission problem or separate from transmission? Sound very expensive to fix?

Hi Melissa,

I have seen a similar issue in the past with a GM car, but it’s been awhile and I do not recall the exact “fix”. I would want to inspect your ignition lock cylinder (the part you put the key into) and ignition switch, and also the brake switch and key release solenoid.

I think the car we repaired with this complaint had a bad brake switch, and the key will not release until it receives a signal from the brake switch that you do in deed have one foot on the brake pedal and the vehicle is in park.

I don’t really know of a shade tree test you could do yourself, but I would also not expect this to be a very expensive repair either. This is probably not transmission related, and your regular mechanic should be able to repair this for you relatively cheaply.


Austin Davis

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