Why You Shouldn’t Attach Any Other Keys to Your Ignition Key

Updated: Apr. 01, 2022

Too many keys can have serious negative repercussions for your vehicle.

It seems like every day there’s a new car myth to debunk. Will tune-ups really extend the life of your car? How about the idea that cold engines need to be warmed up before driving? But here’s one car conundrum that is not only true but can be dangerous when not properly addressed.

A weighted question

How can the keys on your keyring have any real effect on the ignition, you may be wondering? “Too many keys on your keyring can damage the sensitive interior components of your ignition cylinder,” explains Jake McKenzie, content manager for autoaccessoriesgarage.com. “Your ignition cylinder really wasn’t engineered to hold much weight on it, and when you hang a heavy keyring from your ignition every bump, turn, and vibration will slowly but surely wear down the delicate inner elements.” Find out 13 other ways you’re shortening the life of your car.

A (car) accident waiting to happen

Wearing down the ignition cylinder could ultimately lead to intermittent starting problems or other major safety issues. Lauren Milligan, a career advancement coach at ResuMAYDAY, shared this story: “My husband, years ago, had probably three dozen keys on his ring. The weight shifted around the ignition so badly that while he was driving, he could pull the key out of the ignition and continue to drive. Before that happened, my husband’s mechanic warned him plenty of times about how his key ring was too heavy.” Yikes! 

So it’s not the keys themselves that are the problem—it’s the weight of the keys hanging from the ignition that’s the issue. While there is no professional consensus on how many keys are too many, most experts agree that five or six keys should really be the max amount. An even better option is to have your ignition key on its own keyring to completely reduce the weight pressing down on the ignition. While this may seem like a small thing, it can end up creating costly (both financial and safety) repercussions. So ditch the heavy key ring and travel light—your car ignition will thank you. And if you have a habit of losing your keys, this key finder can help. 

Next, check out these 34 secret car-buying tips your dealer won’t tell you.


  • Brightside.me. Auto Mechanics Share 10 Things You Should Never Do to Your Car.
  • Patch.com. Automotive Fact or Fiction? Can Too Many Keys Cause Intermittent Starting Problems?
  • Jake McKenzie, content manager for autoaccessoriesgarage.com
  • Lauren Milligan, a career advancement coach at ResuMAYDAY