It is common to face problems with your car’s ignition switch and many people face this issue on a frequent basis. If this happens to you, then there’s no need to worry. You can simply call a professional technician to replace the ignition switch for you, but it would help if you could replace the ignition switch yourself. This will save your time and money as well. To replace the ignition switch yourself, you must know how to do it properly.
In this article, you will find a step-by-step guide on how to replace an ignition switch yourself but before that, let’s have a brief overview. For those who don’t know, an ignition switch is located on a car’s steering column or dashboard. It helps activate the ignition system and routes current to multiple car accessories, i.e., lighting, music, radio, and door control mechanisms. Since an ignition switch is an integral part of a vehicle, it is essential to keep it functioning properly. If the ignition switch doesn’t work properly, it can lead to several problems, i.e., the inability to start the car and the music system, and various other problems. Here’s how you can replace an ignition switch yourself.
1- Disconnect the Battery
Once you start to replace the ignition cylinder, the first step is to locate the battery in the engine compartment or trunk of the vehicle. It appears to be a box with the positive and negative leads sticking out upwards. With the help of a correct sized wrench, loosen the nut from which the negative terminal is attached and remove it from the stand. There is no need to remove the positive cable from the terminals. Slide the negative cable around the side of the battery to avoid accidental contact.
2- Remove the Steering Wheel
On some vehicles, you can easily remove the ignition cylinder without removing the steering wheel. However, if you cannot access the switch when you have removed the initial trim over it, you’ll have to remove the steering wheel. It’s better to refer to your vehicle’s repair manual for instructions on safely removing the steering wheel from your vehicle. Furthermore, it is important to obtain vehicle-specific steering wheel removal recommendations to prevent airbags from being damaged or accidentally deployed. Vehicle-specific repair manuals are available at your local auto parts store. Some vehicles might also require removing special equipment called a steering wheel puller.
3- Remove Ignition Switch
Insert the key in the switch to turn it in the auxiliary position. The ignition switch must be in the auxiliary position before removing it. Use a screwdriver to press the latch inside the ignition module opening. Inspect the ignition module from the top until you figure a smaller hole than a pencil. Insert the screwdriver inside and press the latch inside to remove the ignition switch. While pressing the latch, pull the ignition lock straight from under the handle. The lock will come out without any resistance.
4- Install the Replacement
You should now press the same pin that prevents the switch from extending so that you can put the new switch inside the ignition module. Press it with your thumb and hold the pin until you insert the switch. A new or remanufactured switch should easily slide into the hole in the steering column. Testing the new switch for any problems before fully assembling the dashboard is also important. Connect the cable back to the negative battery terminal. Insert the key and try starting your vehicle. If the vehicle starts, you can put the steering wheel back.