had a problem similar to that in an old work truck, but i wasn't payin for it so i just beat the shit out of it till it turned i dunno wat to tell u bout it in a jeep though, im sure someone will chime in
"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation." -Douglas MacArthur
usually worn out key. If you have a spare check it out if it works better, if it does, then use that to start the jeep, take it to the store and get a copy made of the working key. problem solved.
If not then you will need a custom key made. What i did was i had the guys make me a key at ace hardware, instead of them putting it flush against the wall, they put a tiny spacer in there so the key was upwards a tiny bit so the machine made one higher which worked perfectly. (not my jeep, for another vehicle)
You can also take your vin and/or the jeep to the dealer, order a new cylinder according to the vin and I *think* it comes with two new keys which means you won't have to rekey your other locks. Then remove the lock from the column, remove the cylinder, put the new cylinder in and put it back together. You might even be able to get the assembly so you don't have to do the cylinder change.
Same thing happens with my Subaru, sometimes if you just give it a little love, or turn it just the right way it's fine. The Subie had been in the autobody shop for a month, and when I picked it up the key just wouldn't turn. I jiggled it, and lifted it just a tad and it worked. Now that I've been driving it everyday again, I know the right "feel" to get it to turn.
Hope this helps!
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89 yj 4 banger 5sp. 2" BL 31x10.50 fixed up and sold
97 tj 4.0 Auto 4"RC lift 33x12.50 mud rovers on outlaw IIs . Smitty bumpers
What happened to my y2k jeep was one of the tumblers stuck and would let the key insert all the way. I had to "force" the key into the ignition by smacking it with my hand. After that, I lubbed it up and it's been fine since (4 months now).
From what I've read, it's equally likely to be the switch as the key. Key being the inexpensive thing to try first if the lube doesn't work out.