How to Remove the Ignition Switch on Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The average Toyota car has been started a few thousand times, and with age, parts start to wear out. One part that takes a lot of abuse is the ignition switch, which is responsible for firing the engine with the turn of a key. The switch eventually gives out when the contacts wear down, and you're left stuck and unable to start the vehicle. In this case, the project vehicle is a Toyota car pickup, but the process is similar for other vehicles as well.

Under The Hood:

 How to Remove the Ignition Switch on a Mercury Villager

Remove the screws on the bottom of the steering column cover using the Phillips-head screwdriver. Then unbolt the steering column reinforcement just below the column cover using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket.

Unbolt the lower shroud and move the upper column shroud out of the way using the ratchet. Unscrew the ignition switch from the cylinder using the Phillips-head screwdriver.

Lift the switch out of the cylinder with your hands. Follow the wiring to the switch down to the fuse box. Disconnect the harness and remove the ignition switch from the vehicle.

Items you will need

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

 How to Remove the Ignition Switch on a Harley

Remove the battery cover strap wing nut by hand. Remove the battery cover. Remove the battery negative cable with a 10 mm wrench.

Remove the large retainer nut from the backside of the ignition switch bracket with the crescent wrench. Pull the switch out of the bracket and down slightly to gain access to the backside of the ignition switch.

Remove the screws holding the small ring terminals and wires into the back of the switch. Allow the terminals and wires to hang there but insure that they do not contact one another even though the battery is disconnected. Screw the small screws back into their places in the back of the switch for safe keeping.

Items you will need

  • 10 mm wrench

  • Adjustable wrench (crescent)

  • 2 Phillips screwdriver

 How to Remove an Ignition Switch on a GMC 3500

Remove the two steering column covers. The upper and lower covers have no fasteners and simply click into place with a few tabs. You should be able to pry the covers off by hand, but if you are experiencing difficulties with removing the covers, use a flathead screwdriver to pry them off.

Remove the securing bolts that hold the steering column to the dashboard. Support the column before removing the bolts so that it is not damaged. It is a good idea to have a second person hold the column while you remove the bolts and then lower it onto the seat as it is quite heavy. Note that if you have air bags equipped, they may go off and can cause serious injury. In order to disable the air bags, disconnect the GMC 3500's battery with a socket wrench.

Place the ignition switch in the "LOCK" position to access the removal screws. Using the Phillips screwdriver, disconnect the actuating rod from the switch.

Remove the two screws securing the ignition switch to the vehicle. Pull the switch out of the vehicle. Again, if you are having a difficult time removing the ignition switch, consider using a flathead screwdriver. Reassembly is the reversal of the removal procedure.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Replacement ignition switch

 How to Remove the Ignition Switch in a Honda Accord 93

Set the front wheels to point forward and remove the key from the ignition.

Disconnect the black battery cable and then the red battery cable, in that order, using a wrench.

Unfasten the two torx bolts securing the lower lid on the steering wheel using a ratchet and torx bit. Pull off the red shorting connector from the underside of the lid and put the lid aside.

Reach through the steering cover opening, unplug the air-bag electrical connector and insert the red shorting connector to the air bag side of the unplugged connector.

Unfasten the three glove-box mounting screws and put the glove box aside using a Phillips screwdriver.

Unplug the passenger air-bag electrical connector and insert the red shorting connector located next to the connector into the air-bag side of the unplugged connector.

Pry off the small cover behind and on each side of the steering wheel using a small flat-head screwdriver.

Unfasten the torx bolts under the small covers using a ratchet and a T30 torx bit and remove the bag assembly from the steering wheel. Place the bag in a safe place away from your working area with the cover facing up.

Unplug the horn connector located on the upper side of the steering wheel assembly and the cruise control switch located off center and towards the right of the steering wheel assembly.

Make alignment marks on the steering column shaft, at the center of the steering wheel, and the steering wheel assembly so that you can reinstall the steering wheel in the same exact position. Use a marker.

Unfasten the steering-wheel retaining nut on the center of the assembly using a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket. Hold the steering wheel steady with one hand as you remove the retaining nut.

Rock the steering wheel carefully from side to side as you pull the wheel off the center shaft. If the steering wheel is stuck, install a steering wheel puller on the assembly and detach the wheel from the shaft.

Remove the upper and lower steering column covers using a Phillips screwdriver.

Unplug the ignition switch connector.

Insert the key into the lock cylinder and turn the key to the “On” position.

Unfasten the two ignition-switch mounting bolts from the steering column using a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket. Then remove the switch from the steering column.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Ratchet

  • Torx bit

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • T30 torx bit

  • Marker

  • Ratchet extension

  • Socket set

  • Steering wheel puller (optional)

  • Torque wrench

 How to Remove the Ignition Switch on a Toyota 22R

Unscrew the three screws holding the bottom of the steering column cover to the top of the steering column cover using the Phillips-head screwdriver. Pull the cover apart and set it to the side.

Put the key in the ignition and turn it to the accessory position. Locate the retaining-pin hole on the side of the ignition switch, facing the back side of the steering wheel. Straighten out the paper clip. Push the retaining pin out, using the paper clip.

Unscrew the switch from the column using the Phillips-head screwdriver. Pull the switch out of the housing.

Items you will need

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

  • Paper clip

 How to Remove the Ignition Switch on a 1994 Toyota

Remove the four screws on the bottom of the steering column cover with the Phillips-head screwdriver. Pull apart the top and bottom pieces of the steering column cover, which is behind the steering wheel. Then put the key in the ignition and turn it to the "accessory" position.

Unplug the wiring from the ignition switch to the steering column with your hands. Then unfold the paper clip so it is straight. Locate the tiny hole on the side of the ignition switch, facing the driver and perpendicular to the key. Push in this hole with the paper clip while simultaneously pulling the key out of the ignition.

Unscrew the safety switch on the side of the ignition with the Phillips-head screwdriver. Then unscrew the ignition from the steering column with the screwdriver as well. Pull the switch away from the steering column.

Items you will need

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

  • Stock ignition key

  • Paper clip

 How to Remove the Ignition Switch on a 1994 F150

Pop the hood. Remove the negative cable from the battery using an open-end wrench. Remove the steering column cover using the phillips-head screwdriver. Pull off the top half from the column, then the bottom until the ignition switch is exposed.

Disconnect the electrical connection to the switch using your hands. Then unbolt the ignition switch from the steering column using the 1/4-inch ratchet and socket.

Lift the switch straight up toward the headliner to release the switch from the linkage. Then remove the switch from the truck.

Items you will need

  • Open-end wrench set

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

  • 1/4-inch ratchet and socket set

 How to Remove the Ignition Switch From an F-350

Disconnect the negative battery cable, using a socket. Remove the lower steering column shroud, using the Phillips screwdriver. Lower the steering column by removing the three 15 mm nuts in the column support bracket on the instrument panel, using a socket. Pull the electrical plug out of the ignition switch.

Remove the two bolts securing the ignition switch to the steering column, using the appropriate socket. Lift the ignition switch off the column.

Install the new switch. The new switch has a pin holding the switch in the proper position to locate over the steering column rod. The ignition key should be turned all the way so the steering wheel locks. Turn the key just a slight amount toward the “On” position. Carefully place the ignition switch over the rod end making sure that the rod enters the locking hole in the base of the switch.

Install the two bolts, leaving them loose at this point. The rod has a small amount of slack or looseness. Move the switch up gently as far as it will go, then move it down as far as it will go. Place the switch in the middle of this movement and tighten the bolts.

Push the electrical plug into the new switch. Raise the steering column, screw in and tighten the three nuts. Install the steering column cover and reconnect the negative battery cable. Test the switch to make sure it starts only in park or neutral. If it starts in reverse or drive, loosen the two bolts, and move the switch slightly and retry.

Items you will need

  • 15 mm socket

  • Ratchet

  • ¼--inch drive ratchet

  • Set of ¼-inch drive sockets

  • Phillips screwdriver

 How to Remove the Ignition Switch From a Buick Rendezvous

Disconnect the negative terminal on the battery using an open-end wrench. Allow the Rendezvous to sit for 30 minutes to allow the air bag system to discharge before proceeding forward.

Remove the steering column cover from the steering column using the Phillips-head screwdriver. Pull it apart to expose the switch. Lift the theft deterrent module located around the ignition off the switch and set it to the side.

Locate the two white tabs underneath the ignition switch. Push down both tabs using the flat-head screwdrivers. Push the switch downwards towards the floorboard. Unplug the switch from the column wiring.

Items you will need

  • Open-end wrench set

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

  • Two flat-head screwdrivers