How to Replace the Ignition Lock Cylinder on Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The ignition lock cylinder in your Vehicles is mounted on the top, right-hand side of the steering column. The ignition key and the lock cylinder operate together as a single unit and synchronize with the ignition switch to turn your Vehicles engine on and off. Fortunately, the lock cylinder in your Vehicles is fairly accessible and you can install a new one in about an hour. Learn how to replace the ignition lock cylinder on models without tilt steering wheel columns.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace the Ignition Lock Cylinder on a 1992 Ford Ranger

Removing the Ignition Lock Cylinder

Disconnect the ground or black battery cable with a wrench.

Turn the key to the “On” position and point the front wheels forward.

Unfasten the steering wheel pad using a Phillips-head screwdriver. Locate the mounting screws at the underside of the steering wheel.

Tilt the steering wheel pad upwards, unplug the horn electrical connectors from the steering wheel pad and remove the steering wheel pad.

Loosen the steering wheel bolt on the center shaft about four turns but do not remove the bolt. Use a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Install a steering wheel removal tool on the steering wheel. Turn the tool center bolt with a wrench just enough to dislodge the steering wheel from the steering column shaft.

Remove the steering wheel removal tool and steering wheel bolt. Match mark the center shaft and steering wheel with correcting fluid and remove the steering wheel.

Unfasten the instrument panel trim cover using a Phillips-head screwdriver.

Unscrew the two bolts holding the lower steering column shroud to the top shroud using a Phillips screwdriver. Pull the lower shroud down and toward the instrument panel to remove it from the steering column.

Insert the ignition key into the lock cylinder and turn the ignition switch to the “On” position. Just make sure that the transmission selector is in the "Parking" position if your Ranger comes equipped with automatic transmission.

Look at the lock cylinder seating position in the housing so that you install the new cylinder in the same position.

Look at the underside of the ignition lock cylinder and find the small access hole. Insert a scratch awl or similar tool through the access hole and push up against the lock cylinder retaining pin. At the same time pull the lock cylinder off the housing, unplug the cylinder wiring and remove it from the steering column.

Installing the New Ignition Lock Cylinder

Apply a light coat of lithium-base multipurpose grease to the inside walls of the lock cylinder housing including the drive gear on the new ignition lock cylinder.

Insert the new key into the new ignition lock cylinder and turn the cylinder to the “On” position. Use the old lock cylinder as a reference, if necessary.

Push in the retaining pin of the new lock cylinder and install the cylinder into its housing. Confirm that it is properly seating. Turn the ignition key off and operate the key to all the ignition positions to make sure the mechanism is working properly.

Plug in the lock cylinder electrical connector.

Install the lower steering column shroud and tighten the screws using the Phillips screwdriver.

Secure the instrument panel trim using the Phillips screwdriver.

Position the steering wheel on the steering column shaft aligning the match marks. Hand-tighten the steering wheel bolt. Tighten the steering bolt to 33 foot-pounds using a torque wrench.

Position the steering wheel pad on the steering wheel, plug in the horn electrical connectors and secure the pad with the Phillips screwdriver.

Connect the ground or black battery cable with a wrench and operate the ignition key to make sure it operates properly.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

  • Ratchet

  • Ratchet extension

  • Socket

  • Steering wheel removal tool

  • Correction fluid

  • Scratch awl

  • Lithium-base multipurpose grease

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace the Ignition Lock Cylinder on a 1998 Dodge Ram Pickup

Disconnect the battery cables from the battery with a wrench to disable the air bag within the steering wheel.

Remove the screws which secure the upper and lower steering column shrouds together with a screwdriver, then lift the two halves off the steering column to expose the lock cylinder. The shrouds conceal the area between the back of the steering wheel and the tip of the steering column.

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

Press downward on the lock cylinder’s release pin with a small screwdriver while simultaneously pulling the ignition key away from the steering column. The lock cylinder will slide out of the column. The release pin is located at the base of the lock cylinder and faces the driver.

Insert the new ignition lock cylinder into the steering column with its key turned to the “RUN” position, then rotate the key to the “OFF” position until the cylinder clicks into place.

Position the two halves of the upper and lower steering column shroud against the steering column, then install the shroud’s screws with the screwdriver.

Reattach the battery cables.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Screwdriver

 How to Replace the Ignition Lock Cylinder on a Toyota Celica

Insert your car's ignition key into the ignition cylinder and leave it in the "Off" position.

Insert a straightened out paperclip into the smaller slot on the edge of the cylinder.

Turn the key to the "Acc" position to loosen it from the cylinder, and pull on both the key and the paperclip to slide the cylinder out.

Slide the new cylinder into the place of the old one, and insert your key into the new cylinder.

Insert the paperclip into the same small slot in the new cylinder, and then turn the key to the "Acc" position to lock the switch into place.

 How to Replace an Ignition Lock Cylinder on a '98 Dodge Neon

Disconnect the negative battery cable with a wrench to avoid an electrical shock, then allow at least two minutes to pass for the air bag system to deactivate.

Insert the ignition key into the lock cylinder, then turn the key to the “RUN” position.

Locate the hole in the plastic shroud underneath the bottom of the steering column, then push the tab in the center of the hole and pull the lock cylinder out of the steering column using the ignition key.

Insert the new ignition key into the replacement lock cylinder, then rotate the key to the “RUN” position while holding the cylinder stationary.

Insert the lock cylinder into the steering column until the cylinder stops, then rotate the key to the “OFF” position and remove the key.

Reconnect the battery cable.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

About the Author

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