How to Replace an Ignition Switch

An ignition switch controls the power source in most vehicles which is why it is a very important component and must be kept in the best shape. A faulty ignition switch can be the cause of many problems, minor and major. There are different types of ignition switches replaced and installed in vehicles these days. The design varies depending upon the car model and make. Certain security components are installed in the ignition switch that doesn’t allow the car to start without the right key. Therefore, it is necessary to replace an ignition switch if it becomes faulty and doesn’t work properly. Ignition switch replacements are not complicated or time-consuming, and they can be done relatively easily. Here is how you can do it.

How Severe Is an Ignition Switch Failure?

A faulty ignition switch can be very severe in certain circumstances, but the drivers often neglect the ignition switch replacement. They keep twisting and turning the key inside the switch hole to start the car, thereby increasing the damage. Although faulty switches can be repaired easily, most service providers go for a replacement.

Complete Guide of Ignition Switch Replacement

With technology evolving, modern cars have a keyless entry system with a computer chip installed in the car to unlock and start it. This will require a different approach for ignition switch replacement; hence you must prefer the assistance of an expert. The following guide on ignition switch replacement applies to cars that do not have a chip-like ignition or push-button start function.

1- Disconnect the Car Battery

While replacing the car’s ignition switch, disconnecting the battery is the initial step. Most cars have their batteries in the trunk, while others have them at the front of the car. Locate your car battery and disconnect the negative terminal of the battery using a suitable size wrench. Place the negative terminal alongside the battery to ensure it is safe.

2- Loosen the Screws of the Steering Column

A steering column is kept in its place by at least three to four screws that are either on the side or under the steering wheel column. Find these screws and start loosening them. You can make use of a flathead screwdriver for this purpose. Make sure you keep these screws in a safe place for placing the steering column back afterward.

3- Take off the Steering Wheel Cover

Once you have loosened the screws keeping the steering intact, take the column off. Though this step is easy, it is still preferred to check the guiding manual to avoid any damage. Keep all cutting parts in a safe place where they cannot be harmed.

4- Remove the Steering Wheel

In some modern cars, the key ignition switch can be replaced without removing the steering wheel. Consult your vehicle’s repairing guide for instructions to see the safe method of removing a steering wheel.

5- Find the Key Ignition Switch

After removing the steering wheel, the ignition switch can be easily located. Most cars have an additional plastic or metal covering on the ignition switch. To remove this covering, check how it is kept in its place. If you find screws at the bottom, start loosening them. Carefully remove the cap from the ignition lock cylinder by unscrewing the screws.

6- Remove the Ignition Lock Cylinder

Removing the ignition lock cylinder also depends upon the type of your vehicle. In the majority of cases, the removal of the cylinder requires the car key. Insert the car key in the switch and rotate it in the position of starting the car. While you do this, use a screwdriver and place it under the cylinder. This will provide you access to a metal pin that holds the cylinder. Once you press this pin with the screwdriver, you can remove the lock cylinder.

7- Pull out the Switch

After removing the metallic pin, pull the ignition switch out slowly. Although there shouldn’t be any resistance, it can still get stuck. This is because of the debris inside the cylinder assembly if your car is old. If you still can’t pull out the switch, check whether the screwdriver is holding the metal pin firmly or not.

8- Replace the Ignition Switch

While purchasing the replacement ignition switch, make sure you buy one that fits your car. Slide the new switch into the vacant ignition hole. Align the cylindrical shape and drive out a pin with the spark plug grooves. Press down on the lock on the steering column until you hear a click. If you don’t hear the latch click, it means the switch is still off. Press the switch with a little force to hear the latch click.

9- Partial Battery Reconnection

To test whether you were successful or not, you must connect your battery partially to check. Simply reconnect the negative terminal back on the battery, insert the key in the switch and start the car. First, the key should rotate without resistance; then, the car will start immediately. If not, you have done a mistake.

10- Reassemble the Dashboard and Steering Wheel

Once you have successfully tested your new ignition switch, it is time to reassemble everything; starting from the steering wheel and then the covering. Install the last parts you removed and start from them in the reverse direction. Every car’s interior is different, so the order in which parts are installed depends on the vehicle type. If you cannot install the parts correctly, see your vehicle’s guide.

11- Reconnect the Battery

After the steering wheel is reconnected and the covering is properly fitted, you must reconnect your battery. Place the negative terminal back and start fastening it with a wrench. Make sure that both terminals are properly attached.

Most of the ignition switch replacement costs are determined by the car’s model or the complexity of the problem with your ignition switch. If your car has a typical ignition switch and the problem isn’t complex, you won’t be charged much. If the key doesn’t turn despite trying your best, the problem is complex, and the charges will increase.

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