Honda Ignition Switch Key Cylinder Removal

by Chris Moore

Honda takes a lot of anti-theft precautions with its vehicles, and these precautions can make do-it-yourself car repair--such as removing the vehicle's ignition switch and key lock cylinder--challenging. You have to deal with security issues and shut off power so you can work and with the actual hardware removal.

Shutting off Power

You must disable the electrical system by disconnecting the negative battery cable. This is done by loosening the black cable's clamp and removing it from the terminal. Wait at least three minutes after removing the cable to ensure that all power is shut off from the electrical systems. It's imperative that you have the radio's anti-theft code any time you disconnect the battery cable on a Honda. If you don't have the code to input after reconnecting the battery, the radio won't work. The owner's manual for your model should tell you where to find the anti-theft code. You'll also need to perform the Powertrain Control Module's idle learn procedure after reconnecting the battery. All of the electrical components like the air conditioner, radio and lights need to be shut off to do this. Make sure the car is in "Park" or "Neutral," turn the engine on and rev it up to 3,000 rpm. Keep the engine at this rpm until you hear the radiator fan come on or see the coolant temperature reach 194 degrees F. At this time, let the engine idle for another five minutes; however, any time when the fan runs can't be counted toward the five minutes.

Ignition Switch

Remove the dashboard's lower cover and the steering column covers to reach the ignition switch. This can vary with each model, but the lower cover usually has two fasteners that can be turned in either direction to remove it. You may need to move the steering column to its lowest position before you can remove the retaining screws for the steering column cover. Now disconnect the electrical connector in the back of the ignition switch and remove the mounting screws in the front to remove the switch.

Lock Cylinder

There are three electrical connectors you must unplug to remove the key lock cylinder. The ignition switch's connector should already be unplugged if you removed the switch; you also must disconnect the connectors to the immobilizer control unit and the lock cylinder/key light, which are both near the switch and cylinder. The shear-head bolts holding the cylinder in place can't simply be removed with a wrench or screwdriver, since they are covered. You must first use a center-punch tool to make a small indentation in the cover, then use a drill with a 3/16-inch bit to drill a hole into the center of each bolt. Now remove the bolts with a screw extractor, and remove the lock cylinder.

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