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Are You Having Ignition Cylinder Problems? Here's What To Do!

If you ever have trouble starting up your car, there are a number of reasons this could happen. One likely possibility is that your vehicle is showing signs of a failing ignition switch. If that’s the case, then it’s time to look into the issue further. In some instances, you can discover the underlying problem yourself. A worn-out ignition can actually be a hazard, so don’t ignore it.

Some causes of ignition problems:

A common reason an ignition fails is that it’s been faulty all along. Check with your car manufacturer. If you’re still under warranty, they’ll replace the ignition cylinder for you. If no longer under warranty, then you’ll need a reputable automotive locksmith specialist to assist you.

Your car key may have endured too much wear and tear. Over time, a key becomes increasingly ineffective, and eventually it can stop functioning altogether. If so, the key will have to be remade, applying the factory key cutting codes, in order to ensure that the key is precisely cut and fully functional.

Your key ignition’s set of wafers, which index with corresponding cuts on the car key, can become worn out, or jammed with grime, which will cause the ignition switch to fail. Simple cleaning, or individual wafer replacement, will do the trick, so a full replacement probably won’t be necessary.

There’s a broken key or other foreign object lodged in the mechanism. Do not try to fix this problem yourself unless you’re already a mechanic! Call a reputable automotive locksmith specialist instead. Otherwise, you might cause irreparable damage. Many times the broken key, or whatever the object is, can easily be removed by an expert, so that the entire ignition switch won’t have to be replaced.

Your transponder key isn’t communicating correctly. This can mean that the computer chip has lost its programming. You can get the existing key reprogrammed; or, you can hire a professional to copy the existing cuts in order to program a completely new car key. An accomplished professional automotive locksmith specialist will be able to supply the precision needed to properly carry out this painstaking service.

You’ve inserted the wrong key into the ignition switch. If you mistakenly inserted an incorrect key into the ignition, then don’t attempt to remove it! Trying to extract the key yourself can cause additional damage, which could be irreparable. Instead, hire a reliable locksmith immediately!

Someone has tried to steal your vehicle. A car thief can often make a disaster of your ignition switch and steering column. If this has happened to you, then it’s time to replace the whole ignition assembly.

Problems Starting Up Your Vehicle:

When you fire up your vehicle, the ignition coil takes its power from the battery, sending it to the sparkplugs. This ignites the fuel, making the car run. If you have to turn the engine over too many times trying to start it, it’s possible you could drain the battery, and then there won’t be any power left to start it up again. Furthermore, when you’re idling, your vehicle may become prone to stalling.

Check the Ignition Status:

Usually, when you put your key in the ignition switch and turn it, there are three positions:

1 The “off” status position: No power is being transmitted to the engine or system.

2 The “on” status position: The dashboard lights illuminate, but the engine is still off.

3 The “start” position: You exert full key pressure, and the engine fires up.

One certain sign of a bad ignition switch is that your instrument panel doesn’t light up when the key is in the second position.


If your ignition switch becomes hot to the touch, then the ignition switch problem likely originates in the electrical system. There may be a short in the system. Because the ignition switch is connected to high-resistance wires, any of the terminals where these wires are connected can overheat, which can melt the insulating base. If this occurs, your car will jerk violently and definitely won’t start.

Monitor Your Dashboard Lights:

Natural wear and tear on your car can eventually lead to ignition switch failure, especially if your automobile is an older model. If your ignition switch is beginning to fail, you may not hear any clicks from the main relay, which fires it up. If your vehicle stalls, take a look at your dashboard lights. When you turn the key to “on” (position 2), if the brake light, oil light, charge light, and other warning lights do not come on, then something’s certainly wrong.

Try this test to check the integrity of the ignition switch: When you get the ignition key to the “start” position (position 3), as soon as you see it’s starting, let go of the key, and allow it to snap back to the “on” position. If your warning lights turn off when the switch snaps back, then, for sure, the switch is faulty.

Watch for these additional warning signs:

  • the key comes out, even while the car is still running
  • you may observe increased auto emissions
  • you might notice higher fuel consumption
  • the steering wheel gets stuck sometimes, or becomes immovable
  • you’re experiencing car battery problems
  • you can’t put the key in the ignition at all

Do It Yourself:

Replacing an ignition switch is not an easy task, particularly in newer models, because they may have anti-theft devices. Removing or replacing your ignition switch without the right tools, and without taking the right precautions, will render your car inoperable! The electrical current running through the system can even cause you bodily harm, so keep all metallic objects away from all electrical wires. The whole process will involve removing the steering column, disconnecting the battery cable from the battery terminal, removing the wiring harness connected to the ignition switch, and so on, before you can install a new ignition switch.

Hiring a professional is your best bet.

Unless you’re sure you know what you’re doing, it’s a lot better to hire a dependable professional. If you’re anywhere in Norfolk, Virginia, it’s a good idea to hire an automotive locksmith specialist, such as a mobile technician on staff at Star Norfolk Locksmith, who will know exactly what to do to get you back on the road again in a jiffy.