The ignition key would get stuck, and I knew that I had the original key for the bike. My biggest problem though was that when I would turn the key in the ignition, I had only about a 10% chance of it turning “on” and the rest of the time it would frustrate me.
Case in point: I went to fill the bike up for the first time and it took me a half hour to turn the key in the NIghthawk’s ignition afterward. It was ridiculous.
Before going and spending a hundred or so on a new key, ignition, gas cap, and seat lock set, I figured I’d try a few home-grown recipes first.
Graphite lube is well-known for helping locks and keys turn more smoothly. Using oils and WD-40 is what some people do, but once that oil or lube is dried up, then you could end up with an even worse problem.
How to fix a stuck ignition on your bike:
My cheap and easy fix was to take a boxcutter and a regular No.2 pencil and shave off the graphite with small, smooth, quick strokes for a fine powder directly onto the key itself, and then carefully inserting the key into the ignition. The idea is to get the graphite powder into the ignition, without getting it everywhere else!
When the key is then in the ignition, jostle it around in every direction you can, and then try to turn the ignition key. Don’t try to force it. If it doesn’t go, just jostle it some more and repeat these steps. Keep wiggling the key and trying to turn it, and when you do turn it, try to keep it going back and forth for a few tries.
This process might take up to a half an hour. DO NOT LET CHUNKS OF GRAPHITE GET INTO YOUR IGNITION!! This is all assuming that you have the right key cut for the ignition, of course, and it’s the cheapest fix (FREE!!) you’ll probably find that won’t make the problem worse.