Signs You Need Ignition Key Replacement

Signs You Need Ignition Key Replacement


When you turn on your key, your car’s ignition switch sends low-voltage electricity to the starter motor and other engine controls. Over time, it may wear down from natural use or damage due to criminal tampering. Read on to find some signs that you might need a new ignition switch.

Person putting a car key into the ignition
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When you turn on your key, your car’s ignition switch sends low-voltage electricity to the starter motor and other engine controls. Over time, it may wear down from natural use or damage due to criminal tampering.

Read on to find some signs that you might need a new ignition switch.

1. Your Car Won’t Start

A dead battery is a common reason why a car won’t start, but there are also many other reasons why your vehicle may not be cranking over. These other reasons may include a bad alternator, a damaged starter, or something else entirely.

If your car isn’t starting at all, it could be time to replace the ignition key. Fortunately, this task is relatively simple, and most automotive specialists can handle it in less than an hour.

Before you remove the dashboard covering panels, however, make sure to check the ignition cylinder for any obstructions that may be blocking the key from turning. You can do this by first finding the pin that holds the cylinder in place (again, this is usually hidden underneath the steering column).

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Using a pen or other tool, press down on this pin and then pull the key to see whether it comes out without rotating the cylinder. If the pin is still in place, it will likely be best to call a technician and let them handle this part of the job.

You should also make sure that your car isn’t already in gear when you turn the key, as this is a safety issue and can damage your transmission. If it’s in gear and starts when you turn the key, it could have a faulty neutral safety switch, which is dangerous and requires professional assistance to repair.

Finally, you should check that the clutch pedal is fully depressed if you have a manual car. This can be done by pressing on the brake pedal while turning the key to see if the car will start. If it does, you’re in the clear – if it doesn’t, you need to get the clutch replaced as soon as possible to avoid damage to your transmission.

The most important thing to remember is that your vehicle is a machine and will have issues at some point. If you have tried everything you can think of and your car still won’t start, it is time to call a specialist to help.

2. Your Car Stalls

Having your car stall out on you while driving can be extremely dangerous, particularly for drivers with children in the back. Stalling can also cause damage to your vehicle, depending on the reason. For instance, if your car has an automatic transmission, a sudden stall could mean that the torque converter isn’t engaging and disengaging properly. This could be a sign that you need an ignition replacement.

If your car is stalling out while you’re driving, it’s best to stay calm and steer the vehicle to the side of the road. Once you’re there, you can try to start the engine again or call for a tow truck. If you have a manual transmission, a stall while driving can be caused by driving too hard or pressing on the clutch too quickly. You can try to restart the engine by engaging and disengaging the clutch as normal.

In most cases, a car that suddenly stalls while you’re driving is due to a lack of fuel. It’s possible that the fuel pump isn’t getting enough gas to the engine or that the injectors aren’t working correctly, preventing your car from receiving the fuel it needs to run. You’ll need to check and double-check the tank and fuel lines to find out what’s going on.

You may have a spare key on hand, but you still need to get your vehicle to a professional for an ignition replacement. Most people will go to their dealership, but this can be expensive. You might also be able to find a local locksmith that will charge much less for the same service.

Before you try to remove the ignition cylinder from your car, it’s important to write down the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). You can find this number in the driver’s side door window or on your insurance information. Next, you’ll need to remove the dashboard and steering column coverings so that you can see the ignition housing. You’ll need to find the cylinder retention pin and depress it with a tool. A pen works well, but you’ll need to be careful not to detach any wiring in the process.

3. Your Car’s Lights Are Flickering

When your car’s lights are flickering it can be a sign that there’s a problem with the electrical system. Flickering lights can be due to a number of reasons, such as a loose connection or a bad fuse. It could also be a sign that the ignition switch is going bad and needs to be replaced. If you’re experiencing this issue, having a professional check out the problem and determine the cause is best.

Flickering lights can be a safety hazard as you’re driving, especially when the headlights are flickering. You should always take the time to troubleshoot and address any issues before they worsen.

The most common reason a car’s lights flicker is a loose connection or a blown fuse. You may be able to find the problem by gently tinkering with the wiring or electrical connections. If the problem isn’t resolved by replacing a fuse, there’s likely another problem with the wiring or ignition system, and you should take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic.

If you’re having trouble locating the issue, you might try lubricating the ignition switch. This will help make it easier to turn the key and will reduce the likelihood of other issues arising. However, you should be careful not to use an oil-based lubricant, as this can cause more problems down the line. Instead, opt for a dry lubricant such as graphite spray.

Once you’ve lubricated the ignition switch, you can begin the process of removing the cover panels surrounding the steering wheel and dashboard. You may need a variety of screwdrivers to disassemble the panels, and you should be careful not to detach or damage any wires as you remove them. Once you have all of the covers removed, you’ll need to locate the ignition cylinder retention pin and push it in before you can pull the ignition cylinder out.

Once you’ve pressed the retention pin, you can then insert your replacement ignition cylinder into place. Be sure to rotate the cylinder into the accessory position and then push it in until you hear the distinctive click of the retention pin moving into place.

4. Your Car Won’t Turn On

The ignition switch moves power from the battery to other car parts, including the starter motor. When it fails, the starter motor won’t turn over, and your car won’t start. An ignition switch problem isn’t as common as a bad battery or alternator, but it can still happen.

If you have a key fob (or a remote head key, as they’re sometimes called), it may be able to unlock your door and allow you to start the engine without needing to physically insert the key. If your key fob won’t turn the ignition, it’s likely that the key is broken or that you need to get a key fob replacement.

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If your car won’t turn on even when the key is in the ignition, you may have a problem with the spark plugs, distributor cap, or rotor. The spark plugs supply the spark that ignites the fuel and starts your engine, while the distributor cap regulates electricity to the spark plugs.

A broken distributor cap can cause your car to misfire, activate your check engine light, or prevent your engine from turning over. A faulty rotor, which directs the high voltage current from the ignition coil to the spark plugs, can also prevent your car from starting.

If the key fob won’t turn the ignition, there could be a problem with the chip inside it. Most modern cars come equipped with transponder chips embedded in their keys, which send a signal to a reader in the vehicle’s ignition system. This allows the car to tell if the key is present or not and whether it matches a preprogrammed code to start. If you need a replacement key, it will have a transponder chip and will need to be programmed to work with your vehicle.

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