Ignition Key: Can Be Removed When Engine Running and While Driving? [Explained]

Yes, the ignition key can be removed when the engine is running and you are driving, however, this is true for old model cars which can lead to a possible rollaway or crash.

In 2014, GM adds a part to a recall, says key can be removed while running

When you remove an ignition key from a car, it will not turn the engine off. The only way to turn it off is by disconnecting the battery.

In an experiment that has been taken with a 1994 Ford Ranger truck, you could see the driver removed the ignition key while driving, and the car still runs.

Can Ignition Key Be Removed When Engine Running and While Driving

Table of Contents

What happens if you pull the key out of the ignition while driving?

If you pull the key out of the ignition while driving, the tumblers in the lock and the key will both be worn. however, the car will still run.

Why can I remove the ignition key while engine running?

Basically, there’s a retention pin or interlock device that prevents removing the ignition key while engine is running unless your ignition lock cylinder is broken

How to turn off a car without a key?

In order to turn off your car without a key, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Want to look for the fuel pump fuse and simply remove the fuse and the engine will shut off due to lack of fuel.
  2. One more important step you want to do is disconnecting car’s negative terminal from your battery. This step is important because you want to keep the battery from draining as the ignition system and accessories are still being powered.

Key falls out of the ignition while driving

The reason your key falls off the ignition key could be a worn ignition lock cylinder

A worn cylinder may jam or bind when the key is inserted, removed, or turned, which can interfere with powering on and starting the vehicle. Usually, issues such as these will continue to worsen until the key will no longer fit the ignition lock cylinder properly.