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How to Change the Ignition Switch on a Jetta

by Alibaster Smith

The Volkswagen Jetta uses an integrated ignition switch to unlock the ignition and start the car. If the switch fails, you won't be able to start the engine, but the key will still turn. While the switch can be replaced, the job requires basic mechanical skills.

Loosen the nut on the cable running ot the negative battery terminal and slide the cable off the terminal.

Wait 20 minutes after the battery has been disconnected (if your Jetta has an airbag assembly) and pry off the center cover of the steering wheel. If your Jetta has airbags, remove the rubber screw covers on the steering wheel and remove the screws holding the airbag in place. Then pull the airbag assembly forward and disconnect the electrical plug running to the assembly.

Remove steering wheel by removing the center retaining nut and pulling the steering wheel off the steering column.

Remove all of the screws holding the turn signal and combination switches in place.

Remove the steering column covers by pulling them off. There are 2 screws on the bottom half of the cover that hold the bottom half in place. Once these are removed, pull off the bottom half of the cover and then pull off the top half.

Draw a line 10 mm from the end of the aluminum housing going down the length of the housing. Draw the line on the side of the aluminum housing that faces the steering wheel and column shaft.

Set the ignition key alongside the outside of the cylinder housing and place it against the housing as though you were inserting the key into the ignition (without actually doing so). Alternatively, you can measure the length of the key up to the face of the key so that you know how much of the key actually goes into the cylinder and where the tip of the key sits once it is inside the ignition switch.

Draw a line perpendicular to the first line you drew indicating the length of the key once it is inside the ignition cylinder. This should form a cross where the two lines intersect.

Drill a 1/8" hole where the two lines meet on the aluminum housing.

Insert small center punch, or an Allen wrench inside the hole. This will press the retaining clip in and allow you to remove the ignition switch assembly.

Remove the punch or Allen wrench and slide the new ignition switch and lock assembly into the aluminum housing until the release tab clicks into place-locking the switch into the housing. Reassemble the steering column.

Warning

  • Since the airbag assembly must be removed and replaced during this procedure, there are safety issues involved. If you are not confident of your mechanical skills, have a qualified mechanic perform this repair.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

I am a Registered Financial Consultant with 6 years experience in the financial services industry. I am trained in the financial planning process, with an emphasis in life insurance and annuity contracts. I have written for Demand Studios since 2009.

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