How to Change the Ignition Switch on an S-10 Pickup

by Lee SallingsUpdated November 07, 2017
itstillruns article image
Jupiterimages/ Images

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver set

  • Socket set

  • Wrench set

The ignition switch in the Chevy S-10 is attached to the key lock cylinder by a long push-rod and linkage that passes through the steering column housing. This heavy duty switch supplies and controls power to much of the truck's electrical system. The most common symptom of an ignition switch failure is a vehicle that seems to have a dead battery and won't start. The average home mechanic can complete this repair in about an hour.

Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery by using an 8-mm wrench to remove the battery terminal bolt. Remove the lower trim and sound deadener located below the driver's side of the dash using Phillips screwdriver for the screws and a socket and ratchet for the remaining 7-mm bolts. Lay the two panels aside in the passenger seat.

Lower the steering column from the dash by loosening and then removing the two 15-mm and the four 13-mm bolts that attach the steering column bracket to the dash support under the driver's side of the dash. Allow the steering wheel to rest in the driver's seat.

Disconnect the electrical connector from the ignition switch located three-fourths of the way down on top of the steering column near the pedal assembly.Two small levers on the connector must be depressed when the connector is pulled from the switch.

Remove the small 10-mm nut and 8-mm stud that attach the high-beam headlight selector switch to the top of the ignition switch, and lay the selector switch aside. Remove the remaining 8-mm stud that attaches the ignition switch to the steering column. Lift the switch off the push rod that is inserted into a hole in the bottom of the switch. Lay the switch aside.

Install the new switch onto the push rod, and secure it to the steering column using one of the 8-mm studs. Slip the high-beam selector switch push rod into the selector switch, and secure it to the ignition switch using the remaining 8-mm stud and the 10-mm nut.

Lift the steering column into place, and reinstall the four 13-mm and two 15-mm bolts to secure it to the dash brace. Reconnect the negative battery cable, and start the car to verify the switch is adjusted properly. If adjustment is required, the 8-mm retaining studs can be loosened to allow the switch to be moved up or down the steering column until the engine will start properly. Reinstall the trim and sound deadener panels.


Wrap electrical tape around the column and push rod to hold the rod in place and make installation easier.


Sharp surfaces and possible loose debris are under the dash. Wear safety glasses and work gloves to prevent serious injuries.

More Articles

article divider