Dodge Dakota Ignition Lock Cylinder Removal

by Chris Moore

The ignition lock cylinder is the most recognized component of the Dodge Dakota's ignition system. Often mistaken for the actual ignition switch, the cylinder and its key work with the ignition switch and the starter motor to start the vehicle. The cylinder may be removed if you are looking to replace it--keep in mind that this will require a new key with the new cylinder--or it needs to be removed if the ignition switch itself needs to be repaired.

Accessing and Removal

Disconnecting the negative battery cable is vital, since you are working directly with the starter system. Loosen the black cable's clamp nut with a wrench and snap off the cable.

Remove both of the trim covers from the steering column. Take off the driver's side knee bolster first by unscrewing the at the bottom of the panel and prying the top part off with a trim stick or other flat bladed tool. Remove the screws that connect the upper trim cover to the lower one. On some models, you will need to detach the tilt lever handle on the left side; the one with the windshield wiper controls, before you can remove the covers. Lift the upper cover until its snaps are released, then remove it, followed by the lower cover.

With the gear shift lever in park, insert the ignition key into the lock cylinder and turn it to the run position. Insert a small drill bit, screwdriver or punch into the hole at the bottom of the cylinder to depress the retaining pin. As you push in on the retaining pin, pull the cylinder out of the steering column. The key needs to still be in the run position, when you insert it into the steering column, whether it's the current lock cylinder or a new one.

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