Can't remove the key on a saab

Updated February 21, 2017

The Saab Company of Sweden started out making aeroplanes before it expanded into making automobiles. Eventually Saab sold its car manufacturing operations to General Motors so it could concentrate on its aeroplane business. Because of its very durable engine, many of the older Saabs can still be seen on American streets and highways. However, Saab owners, especially owners of older models, need to be aware of problems with the key, including difficulty removing it from the ignition after the engine has been turned off.

Make sure you have at least one extra key at all times because replacing Saab keys on later-model cars is very expensive. Cost with one existing key is over £65, while if you lose both keys, the cost of replacement will exceed £650.

Turn the engine back on. The key problem usually pops up in standard models after the engine is turned off and the operator is trying to pull the key out of the ignition. On older models with standard transmissions, the ignition is on the floor between the seats.

Put the transmission into reverse. In Saabs, the reverse gear is found by pushing the stickshift hard to the right and then pulling the stick straight back toward the rear of the car. Experienced drivers can feel the gears shift into place as the stick lever is slid backward.

Turn off the engine and gently remove the key. If the key cannot be removed, start the engine again.

Put the car in neutral and then double-shift the clutch pedal before attempting to put the gear in reverse. Double shift involves depressing the clutch pedal to the floor and then holding it there for a few seconds. Then release the clutch pedal. Now depress the pedal a second time and then attempt to place the gearshift lever in reverse. Use some force but not too much.

Turn the engine off and attempt to pull the key out. Be sure to jiggle the key a bit before removal. If this fails, use your extra key to lock up the car and call a tow truck. Stay with the car until the truck arrives. One possibility is that your transmission is jammed, and an experienced mechanic may be able to loosen it by hand.


Duplicate keys for older Saabs only cost a few dollars. If the key breaks, you can use pliers or a magnet to try and pull it out.


Don't leave your auto with the key still in the ignition. The car can easily be driven away. Be careful not to spill drinks on the Saab ignition.

Things You'll Need

  • Magnet
  • Needlenose pliers
  • Extra key
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.