5 Signs You Need An Ignition Switch Replacement
Here are some common signs of a failing or broken ignition switch:
1. Worn-Out And Stuck Keys
A bad ignition switch prevents the car key from properly aligning with the keyhole. Over time, the ignition switch issues may worsen, and you’ll soon find it difficult to get the car key in or out of the ignition switch.
One of the main culprits is a worn-out or damaged ignition key itself.
Now, the ignition system consists of ‘wafers’ (unique cuts) within the ignition lock cylinder that connects to the correct car key.
Trying to insert a worn-out key could damage these cuts in the ignition cylinder — forming cracks on the wafers. As a result, your car key may get stuck because the wafers no longer fit the ignition key.
Old cylinder wafers can also get damaged by themselves — demanding an ignition key replacement from an auto repair locksmith service. Here, you’ll need not only a new key but a new ignition housing as well.
Sometimes, you may be able to slide the key into your car’s ignition switch but find it difficult to turn it. This may happen if your vehicle is in a steering wheel lock.
Turn your steering wheel back and forth while trying the car key to check if the ignition lock is engaged.
2. Trouble Starting The Car
An ignition switch has electrical contacts connecting various electrical components to start the car. If these contacts fail, they can create open circuits, causing an electrical problem in the switch.
For example, the ignition coil and ignition module are responsible for drawing the battery power and firing up your spark plugs to start your vehicle. But for that, you need a working ignition switch. In such a case, your engine may crank and then die or, worse, not start at all.
So, get the ignition switch failure checked out, or it’ll be almost impossible to move your car.
Note: Your car may also not start due to problems like a dead car battery, but the ignition switch is a great place to begin an investigation.
3. Car Stalls While Driving
With a failing ignition switch, your car may stop running while you’re driving — due to sudden loss of power in the car’s electrical system.
Here, a faulty ignition switch may stop the power to the car’s ignition and fuel system, causing the engine to stall. Restarting the car may depend on the issue’s severity.
Note: Cars stalling while driving are hazardous. You should immediately call for an auto repair mechanic in this case.
4. Malfunctioning Accessories
Since the ignition switch connects power circuits in your car, your vehicle might experience an electrical problem when the switch malfunctions.
Issues in the switch assembly can cause electrical accessories to act funny or stop working altogether. This happens because your car’s accessories aren’t getting enough power to function correctly.
For example, your car’s headlights may dim, dashboard lights may flicker, radio won’t work, etc. If you own a modern car, you could face more malfunctions as it has more electrical accessories.
5. Warning Dashboard Lights
This is a less common sign of a bad ignition switch.
Usually, the dashboard lights illuminate when you start the car, and then it goes off as soon as the vehicle is running. But when dashboard lights remain dark, you may have a failing ignition switch problem.
To confirm, move the car key to the first position and check for warning dashboard lights. If the dashboard lights go out after moving to the second position, it points to some ignition switch wiring issue.
Additionally, check if you can hear the primary relay click when the starter motor kicks in. If you do, your car’s critical electrical components are receiving power.
If you don’t, the components aren’t receiving power — resulting in your car not starting. Check your dashboard lights for a related warning.