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  1. #1
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
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    Power Trac PT425 2001 Model Year

    Default Car battery died and the ignition key wouldn't come out....

    2013 Impala.... My kid called me from her job the other day.... Dad, the key turns, but the car won't start, I can't get the key out and the radio is making weird noises, and there's weird lights on the dash.

    I talked her through a few things, but was stumped, so I went over there and it appeared the battery had died. I could turn the key to ACC and run and start, but it wouldn't start. I just couldn't turn the key back that last little click to get it out... so I popped the hood and jumped it from our Suburban. A few seconds after I had the jumper cables connected, I heard the warning chimes dinging in the car to tell us the key was in the ignition. I could then take the key out. Remove the jumper cables and I couldn't get the key out. Hmmmm.... never heard of that one before.

    Anyhow, we jump started it and I warned her about losing power steering and brakes if it dies and we took small backroads home at low speeds. I pulled the battery. That's no easy task anymore, either. Required a 10mm socket for the battery cables, 11mm socket for the fuse box (you have to move the fuse box), 1/2" socket for the battery hold-down clamp and three bolts holding a brace between the fender and hood, a small screwdriver to pop a retainer lock out of a cable connector that runs over the battery, and then you have to turn the battery 90 degrees onto its short side and lift out! Yikes! They utilize every bit of space in there for sure. Took the battery in and it had a bad cell. $130 and 45 minutes later, all was well again.

    Apparently this is a common situation (I won't say problem since it appears designed in) in many Chevy models.

    So what's the purpose of not letting the key out if the battery dies? Only thing I can think of is to prevent someone from turning the key all the way back and locking the steering wheel while in motion. Any thoughts?
    MossRoad

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  2. #2
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    Default

    I would guess that its related to the park interlock that doesn't allow the key to be removed unless its in park.

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  3. #3
    Elite Member zzvyb6's Avatar
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    jd 1070

    Default Re: Car battery died and the ignition key wouldn't come out....

    No voltage on the shift interlock cylinder. Should be a release button at bottom of steering column under a cover. This is now required because Grandma once stepped on the gas to WOT and dropped it into Drive, killing her grandson. Sued, wins BIG money and now we have Federal Laws about brake pedal and shifter. Surprized we still don't have a hot coffee detector in cars and trucks. Also unregistered guns in the car and beer bottles stuck under brake pedal. Our government is clearly failing us.
    There is no "I" in team, but there is a "Me" if you want to jumble it up a bit...

  4. #4
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Car battery died and the ignition key wouldn't come out....

    Quote Originally Posted by aczlan View Post
    I would guess that its related to the park interlock that doesn't allow the key to be removed unless its in park.

    Aaron Z
    It was in park. That's the first thing we checked. Second, I thought maybe she couldn't turn the key at all, so I had her pull the steering wheel to each side thinking maybe it was torque locked (had that happen to my father-in-law once.) So maybe it is related to the park interlock, and it needs some little solenoid to fire to let you turn it backwards.
    MossRoad

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  5. #5
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Car battery died and the ignition key wouldn't come out....

    Quote Originally Posted by zzvyb6 View Post
    No voltage on the shift interlock cylinder. Should be a release button at bottom of steering column under a cover. This is now required because Grandma once stepped on the gas to WOT and dropped it into Drive, killing her grandson. Sued, wins BIG money and now we have Federal Laws about brake pedal and shifter. Surprized we still don't have a hot coffee detector in cars and trucks. Also unregistered guns in the car and beer bottles stuck under brake pedal. Our government is clearly failing us.
    I read about that cover on GMC Jimmies. Haven't looked for it on the Impala yet. And I wouldn't expect anyone to know about that cover unless they've had this problem before.

    The dilemma is this:
    - Your key is stuck in the car and the battery is dead.
    - You want to lock the car and go get a battery or jump.
    - You can't change the battery without a plethora of tools anyway, so jump it is.
    - You can manually lock the car with the lock buttons on each door.
    - You won't be able to get back into it when you come back because the key is in the ignition and the battery is dead, so your key FOB won't work either.
    - You can't call ON STAR because the battery is dead.
    - Hope you have cell service to call for a ride to get your other key or a tow or a jump start.
    - You could pop the hood before you leave and hope its still open when you return with the jump, because as soon as you hook jumper cables to the battery the key FOB will work.

    Its just a weird deal all the way around.

    On the plus side, I don't really mind that the battery is hard to get out. You shouldn't have to change them but every 5+ years (this one croaked after 3.5), so its a maybe once or twice in the entire time you own the car if you keep it for 10 years. I have to remove the muffler on my tractor to get the battery out. Its 14 years old and I'm on my third battery. The battery location on this Impala is easy to get to for jump starting at least.
    MossRoad

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  6. #6
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    John Deere 870

    Default Re: Car battery died and the ignition key wouldn't come out....

    I had the same situation with key in Chevy Equinox. Do not know the reason for it.
    I had three batteries die in my different vehicles in the past year. Four if you count sister in law that I jumped. All were three to four years old. Batteries are not lasting these days

  7. #7
    Elite Member davesl708's Avatar
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    Default Re: Car battery died and the ignition key wouldn't come out....

    Most likely part of the security features that don't do much to deter criminals.

  8. #8
    Super Star Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MossRoad View Post
    So maybe it is related to the park interlock, and it needs some little solenoid to fire to let you turn it backwards.
    I am pretty sure that is the case. The 1998 Volvo S70 which Dad owned had a cable to do that. One time the cable broke and the keys were stuck in the ignition for a few days until we got a new cable.

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  9. #9
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    Case DX55, Ford 850

    Default Re: Car battery died and the ignition key wouldn't come out....

    I haven't had a car or truck with a buried battery, but I have read about some vehicles where it is removed through the wheel well after removing a wheel. Luckily mine have always been right on top with no extra work to remove them. Old school, thank god.
    That stuck key issue seems crazy. So you would have to leave your car unattended with the key in the ignition while you went for help? That leaves it free for taking if someone happens along with jumper cables. Insurance companies sometimes have clauses about lower coverage if vehicles are stolen if you leave the keys in it. Surely they couldn't fault someone with a GM car that had a stuck key. Makes you wonder if the next time someone has theirs stolen with the key in it, they can just tell the insurance company "the battery was dead, I had no choice".

  10. #10
    Elite Member zzvyb6's Avatar
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    Default Re: Car battery died and the ignition key wouldn't come out....

    Even if the battery is buried in the wheel well, you have a portal in the engine compartment to jump start the engine. Looks to me like some of you guys have never opened the hood of car newer than 10 years old. Can you guess what that red plastic cover thingy is in the motor compartment ? Are you still putting washer fluid in the radiator overflow bottle and wondering why the wiper spritzers don't work ? And do you know what all that clicking noise is with the motor running, cause it ain't the spark plugs..... ? Yep, I thought so.
    There is no "I" in team, but there is a "Me" if you want to jumble it up a bit...

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