How to Replace the Ignition Switch in Chevrolet Cars

by Contributing Writer

The ignition switch on a Chevrolet car is located on the steering column under the dash. It is a rectangular sliding switch and sits on the top of the column midway between the dash and the firewall. The switch has a curved bracket that conforms to the steering column and has grooves to allow it to slide for adjustment purposes. There is a rod that runs from the ignition key down to the switch. The rod has an L-shaped bend facing upward. The ignition switch has a hole in the bottom slider. When the switch is installed, the rod fits into this hole. The key pushes the rod up and down and moves the switch to all positions.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace the Ignition Switch in a 1995 Suburban

Removal

Park the vehicle and turn off the engine. Leave the ignition key in the switch and be sure it is in the "locked" position.

Remove the upper and lower steering column covers with a screwdriver. Insert the screwdriver into the lower cover to access the screws.

Separate the steering column from the dashboard. Use a ratchet and socket to remove the nuts and bolts that attach it. Support the steering column with a piece of wire to keep it from falling down too far.

Use a small screwdriver to remove the multifunction switch. Pry gently to release the switch clip. Disconnect the wire harness attached to it.

Pry the retaining clip carefully from the key alarm switch with a small flat-head screwdriver. Twist the switch one quarter-turn and pull it out.

Separate the switch actuating rod from the ignition switch. Use a small screwdriver to disconnect it. Remove the ignition switch mounting screws with a screwdriver. Pull the ignition switch out of the steering column.

Insert the new key into the new ignition switch and turn it to the "locked" position. Reconnect the switch and actuating rod together. Insert the new ignition switch back into the steering column and tighten the two retaining screws with a screwdriver. Make sure they are snug but not over-tightened.

Reattach the key alarm switch. Once inserted, rotate it one quarter-turn and it will snap into place. Reattach the retaining clip by pressing it on. Reinstall the multi-function switch by pressing it in until it locks and reattach the wire harness to it.

Remove the wire supporting the steering column. Push the column back up to the securing brackets and install the bolts and nuts. Use a torque wrench to secure the bolts to 20 foot-pounds and secure the nuts to 22 foot-pounds.

Reinstall the upper and lower steering column covers and secure the screws with a screwdriver.

Start the vehicle to check the operation of the ignition switch.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver set

  • Ratchet and socket set

  • Metal wire

  • New ignition switch

 How to Replace an Ignition Switch on a 1996 Chevy S10 Pickup

Pop the hood of the vehicle. Remove the negative terminal from the battery, using an open-end wrench. Wait at least 90 seconds before proceeding further.

Remove the shroud around the steering column, using the 1/4-inch ratchet and socket. Pull it off the column, by hand, and set it to the side. Unplug the wiring to the switch, by hand. Verify that the switch is in the "Lock" position, then remove the screws from the switch, using the Torx-head driver; remove the switch from the column.

Make sure the replacement switch is in the "Lock" position. Set the replacement switch on the column and tighten it in place, using the factory screws and the Torx-head driver. Reinstall the steering column cover, using the 1/4-inch ratchet and socket, then reattach the negative terminal on the battery, using an open-end wrench.

Items you will need

  • Open-end wrench set

  • 1/4-inch ratchet and socket set

  • Torx-head driver set

  • Replacement ignition switch

 How to Replace the Ignition Switch on a 1997 Blazer

Remove the Ignition Switch

Insert the ignition key into the lock cylinder and turn the key to the "On" position without starting the engine. Then align the front wheels so they point straight ahead. Turn the ignition switch off and remove the key from the lock cylinder.

Disconnect the battery ground (black) cable with a wrench.

Pull the airbag fuse from the fuse box under the instrument panel, on the driver's side, using a fuse puller.

Detach the lower panel from under the instrument panel on the driver's side with a ratchet and socket.

Look around the steering column, under the instrument panel and locate the yellow electrical connector. Remove the small pin securing the two halves of the connector in place and then unplug the yellow electrical connector. This will disarm the airbag system.

Unfasten the screws holding the upper and lower steering column covers with a Phillips screwdriver and remove both covers from the steering column.

Unplug the two electrical connectors from the lock cylinder housing.

Push the ignition switch tabs through the two slots at the bottom of the lock cylinder housing with special tool J-42759, pull the ignition switch out of the lock cylinder housing, and unplug the switch electrical connector. Look at the gears on top of the old ignition switch. The gears on the new ignition switch should be in the same position before installation.

Install the New Switch

Plug in the electrical connector to the new ignition switch and insert the switch into the cylinder housing until the switch tab snap into the slots of the lock cylinder housing.

Plug the two electrical connectors to the lock cylinder housing.

Replace the upper and lower steering column covers and fasten the screws with the Phillips screwdriver.

Connect the yellow electrical connector under the steering column and secure the two halves with the small pin.

Reinstall the lower panel under the instrument panel with the ratchet and socket.

Replace the airbag fuse into the fuse box.

Connect the battery ground (black) cable with the wrench.

Place yourself on the passenger side of the cabin and turn the ignition switch to the "Run" position and make sure the "Air Bag" lamp on the dashboard flashes seven times and then shuts off. Otherwise, take your Blazer to a local auto parts store and have them clear any trouble codes stored in the computer memory, which may have been set during the ignition switch installation.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Fuse puller

  • Ratchet

  • Socket

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Special tool J-42759

 How to Replace the Ignition Switch on a 1978 Chevy Truck

Disconnect the battery to prevent ignition short circuits. Lower the steering column by removing the 15 mm column mount bolts. The column will drop safely down and the steering wheel rest in the seat.

Place the trouble light in a secure area under the dash and locate the ignition switch. The switch will have two black connectors that should be snapped firmly in place. The switch is easily recognized by the wiring harness that will have larger orange and red wires than other connectors. These are the main power supply wires. Carefully unplug the two connectors. Do not confuse these connectors with the lighting connector. The lighting connector is much longer, flat and does not have any large, power wires.

Locate the small, round, dimmer switch with a rod going into it. Leave it plugged in, but disconnect the mounting screws. The ignition switch shares a mounting screw with the dimmer switch. Remove two additional mounting screws holding the ignition switch in place. Gently pry out the switch rod that runs the length of the column to the key and tumbler.

Install a new switch by fitting the activator rod, mounting the new ignition switch with the screws and plugging in the wiring harness. Install the dimmer switch with the shared screw. Remount the column, attach the battery cables, and check the repair by starting the vehicle.

Items you will need

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

  • 15 mm deep socket

  • 3/8-inch extension and ratchet.

  • 1/4-inch socket set.

  • Work light

 How to Replace the Ignition Switch on a Chevrolet Express Van

Remove the Ignition Switch

Turn the ignition key to the "On" position and set the steering wheel straight so the front tires point straight ahead. Then turn the ignition switch "Off."

Detach the black, negative battery cable using a wrench and wait one minute before beginning to work on the ignition switch.

Remove the knee bolster from underneath the steering column. Use a Phillips screwdriver or a ratchet and socket.

Unfasten the screws holding the steering column upper and lower covers in place using a Phillips screwdriver. Then remove the covers form the steering column.

Insert the key in the ignition lock cylinder and turn the key to the "Run" position.

Insert a small Allen wrench into the hole located on top of the ignition lock-cylinder housing. Then push down the wrench to release the lock cylinder from its housing. Then remove the lock cylinder from its housing.

Unplug the two electrical connectors that run from the ignition switch-located underneath the lock cylinder housing-to the cylinder housing.

Release the ignition switch by inserting tool number J 42759 or similar (see the Resources box bellow for more information) into the two switch access holes. Then remove the ignition switch from its housing.

Unplug the electrical connector from the bottom of the ignition switch.

Install the Ignition Switch

Insert a standard screwdriver in the ignition lock-cylinder housing and rotate the lock-cylinder housing gear counterclockwise until it hits the stop.

View the ignition switch at its mounting position as you face the ignition lock cylinder. Make sure the left tooth, showing on the top gear of the switch, is the flat one. Otherwise, rotate the gear until you set the switch gear in the correct position.

Plug the electrical connector to the bottom of the ignition switch.

Insert the ignition switch in its housing until the switch tabs snap in place.

Insert the standard screwdriver into the lock-cylinder housing. Rotate the lock-cylinder housing gear to the "Start" position and let spring back into the "Run" position.

Install the ignition lock cylinder into its housing.

Plug the two electrical connectors from the ignition switch into the lock-cylinder housing.

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

Install the knee bolster and tighten the screws using the Phillips screwdriver or ratchet and socket.

Turn the ignition switch to the "Off" position.

Attach the black, negative battery cable using the wrench.

Turn the ignition switch to the "On" position and make sure the Air Bag indicator, on the instrument panel, flashes and then turn "Off" the ignition switch.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Allen wrench

  • Ratchet and socket

  • Tool number j 42759 or equivalent

  • Standard screwdriver

 How to Replace the Ignition Switch on a 2000 Chevrolet Malibu

Disconnect the negative battery cable using an 8 mm wrench to unscrew the terminal bolt. Remove the 10-amp air bag fuse located in the fuse block on the end of the driver side of the dash. Remove the locking clip and unplug the yellow air bag connector located above the driver-side fuse block. Do the same for the connector located above the passenger-side fuse block. This will disable the air bags and prevent their accidental deployment.

Remove the plastic bezel around the lock cylinder on the steering column, using a screwdriver to gently pry it out. Grasp the instrument cluster trim panel and pull to unsnap it from the dash. Lay the trim panel aside.

Separate the upper steering column trim by gently prying it away from the lower trim with a small screwdriver. Remove the three T-15 Torx screws that attach the lower trim to the steering column and pull both steering column trim panels away from the column.

Remove the electrical connector from the back of the old ignition switch, located on the right side of the column. Unscrew the two bolts that attach the old switch to the column and remove the switch. Bolt the new switch to the column and plug the electrical connector into it.

Slip the lower steering column trim into place and reinstall the three screws. Snap the upper column trim to the lower trim. Snap the bezel into place around the lock cylinder. Snap the dash trim into place around the instrument cluster.

Reconnect the two yellow air bag connectors in the fuse blocks and insert the locking clips into the connectors. Plug the air bag fuse back into the driver-side fuse block. Reconnect the negative battery cable. Start the engine. Test the accessories and verify the repair is complete.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver set

  • Torx driver set

  • Wrench

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

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.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver set

  • Socket set

  • Wrench set

 How to Replace the Ignition Switch in a 1992 S10 Chevy Truck

Open the hood of the S10 and disconnect the black negative battery terminal clamp and wire from the negative battery post. Isolate the clamp so it does not come back into contact with the post during the repair.

Remove the lower steering column panel with the ratchet and a socket to remove the retaining bolts. Do not place the ignition key in the ignition before you do this.

Remove the steering column bracket retaining bolts with the ratchet and a socket and then rest the steering steering wheel/column assembly on the driver's seat.

Remove the washer head screw and the hexagon nut from the steering column assembly using the ratchet and socket or a wrench.

Disconnect the wire harness from the upper end of the ignition switch and then remove the two ignition switch retaining nuts from the steering column, using a hand wrench.

Disconnect the dimmer switch assembly from the column and then remove the retaining stud holding both the dimmer and ignition switch to the rod.

Remove the ignition switch from the actuator rod and then unplug the electrical connections of the ignition switch wire harnesses to remove it.

Reinstall the replacement ignition switch by reversing the removal procedure. When reinstalling the dimmer switch to the column, place a 3/32-inch drill bit into the hole on the dimmer switch. Align the switch to the column and then push it against the actuator rod to secure it in place.

Items you will need

  • Ratchet and socket set

  • Hand wrench set

  • Replacement ignition switch

  • 3/32-inch drill bit

 How to Replace the Ignition Switch in a Trailblazer

Remove the screws holding the steering column cover in place with a Phillips head screwdriver.

Pull the steering column cover off the steering column.

Put the ignition key into the ignition and turn it to the "II" position.

Push the ignition release button and pull the ignition switch assembly out of the steering column.

Insert the new ignition switch assembly into the steering column where the old ignition switch was located with the new ignition key in the "II" position.

Turn the key to the "off" position and secure the steering column cover to the steering column using the mounting screws.

Items you will need

  • Phillips head screwdriver

 How to Replace the Ignition Switch on a Chevy

Open the hood and loosen the clamp on the negative battery cable with an adjustable wrench, turning in a counterclockwise direction. Lift the cable from the battery and set it aside.

Tilt the steering column all the way up using the tilt lever on the steering column, if your vehicle is equipped with this option. Now remove the tilt lever from the column by pulling it straight out away from the column. Set the lever aside.

Remove the two screws from the underside of the plastic steering column cover with a Torx screwdriver turned in a counterclockwise direction. Pull the cover straight down from the bottom of the steering column. Set the cover and screws aside.

Locate the black plastic J-shaped lever on the ignition switch, revealed after removing the plastic cover. Pull the lever toward the front of the vehicle to release the ignition switch. Carefully pull the switch down and remove it from the underside of the steering column. Unplug the wiring harness from the switch by pulling it straight out.

Compare the old switch to the new ignition switch. Make sure the white plastic gear is in the same position on both switches. Return the new switch for a replacement if the gear does not match the old switch.

Plug the wiring connector into the new switch. Push the switch into position until it locks into place. Push the steering column cover back into place, making sure to line up the tabs in the cover with the slots in the underside of the steering column. Run in the two screws and tighten them with a Torx screwdriver in a clockwise direction.

Push the tilt steering column lever back into its hole until it is fully seated. Insert the key into the ignition switch and turn it to the "Off" position. Push the negative battery cable back onto the negative terminal on the battery. Tighten the clamp with an adjustable wrench, turning in a clockwise direction. Close the hood.

Items you will need

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Torx screwdriver

  • Ignition switch

 How to Replace the Ignition Switch on a 76 Chevy Pickup

Lower the steering column by loosening the two column retaining bolts under the steering column and the dash. The bolts are large and can be felt about three-quarters of the way down the steering column.

Look at the switch and make sure it is in the "Lock" position. (See Resources for an image.) Remove the two screws that hold the switch in place using a socket. Remove the switch from the steering column.

Look at the new switch to make sure it is in the "Lock" position. Hold the switch in place, then insert the two screws. Tighten the screws using the appropriate socket.

Lift the steering column into place and tighten the steering column bolts.

Items you will need

  • Set of sockets

 How to Replace an Ignition Switch on a 1993 Chevy S-10

Remove the lower panel cover under the steering column, using the appropriate socket to remove the bolts. Remove the three 15 mm bolts from the steering column support bracket, using a socket. Allow the column to drop down to the point where the steering wheel is resting on the seat.

Remove the electrical connector on the top of the ignition switch. Remove the two small nuts on the left side of the steering column securing the ignition switch to the column, using the appropriate-sized wrench. Lift the switch off.

Install the new ignition switch by inserting the tip of the actuating rod into the bottom hole of the switch. While holding the rod and switch together so the rod does not fall out, lay the switch-mounting bracket over the two studs on the side of the steering column. Hold the switch so it does not come loose and install the two small nuts loosely.

Tighten the nuts on the switch bracket just enough to keep the switch from sliding. Place one hand on top of the switch and turn the key with the other hand. Turn the key to the "Run" position while sliding the switch until the dash lights come on, indicating the ignition is in the "Run" position. Tighten the small nuts to secure the ignition switch in place.

Turn the ignition switch momentarily to the "Start" position just enough to make sure the switch is adjusted properly. If it is not adjusted correctly, the starter will not engage when the key is in the "Start" position. Should this happen, loosen the two nuts enough to allow the switch to slide. With the right hand hold the key in the "Start" position and with the left hand slide the switch until the starter engages. As soon as this happens, release the key and tighten the nuts on the ignition switch. Try the key one more time to assure proper adjustment.

Raise the steering column. Screw on the nuts and tighten. Install the lower steering column cover.

Items you will need

  • 3/8-inch drive ratchet

  • Set of 3/8-inch drive sockets

  • Set of small wrenches

 How to Replace an Ignition Switch in a 1983 Chevy

Raise the hood and disconnect the negative battery cable. Remove the lower cover below the steering wheel with a Phillips screwdriver. Set the cover aside. Remove the four bolts that hold the steering column into place with a socket wrench. Lower the column.

Operate the key switch and notice the long rod that moves back and forth. It is attached directly to the ignition switch. Unplug the wires going to the switch. The dimmer switch is mounted onto the ignition switch. Remove the four small screws that hold both of these switches into place. It is not necessary to unplug the dimmer switch.

Remove the ignition switch and set it aside. Install the new switch and route the switch rod into the indent opening in the switch. Bolt it loosely into place. Install the dimmer switch, locating the switch mounting flange partly on the column and partly on the ignition switch. Loosely install the two mounting screws. Pull both switches forward and adjust them so that the rods operate them properly. Once adjusted, tighten the screws.

Lift up the column and install the four mounting bolts. Tighten them firmly into place and install the lower cover by replacing the four screws. Tighten the screws with a screwdriver. Reconnect the battery cable and then lower the hood. Test both of the switches for proper operation.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver set

  • 3/8-inch socket set

  • Wrench set

 How to Replace the Ignition Switch on a Chevy Lumina

Turn the ignition switch to the lock position and remove the keys. Disconnect the negative battery cable located under the windshield washer reservoir on the driver side of the engine compartment. Wait 10 minutes before continuing. This will prevent accidental air bag deployment and serious injury.

Remove the screws that attach the sound insulation and lower trim panel, located under the driver side of the dash, using an 8 mm socket, 10 mm socket, Phillips screwdriver and ratchet. Lay the panels out of the way.

Remove the two 15 mm nuts that attach the steering column to the column bracket under the dash and lower the steering column. Unplug the electrical connector on the ignition switch located on top of the steering column about half-way down the column. Remove the two 8 mm nuts that attach the high-beam headlight switch to the top of the column and ignition switch.

Remove the two 10 mm studs that attach the switch to the column. Pull the switch up off the column slightly and use a small screwdriver to pry the actuating rid out of the bottom of the switch.

Slide the new switch over the actuating rod and install the studs to secure it to the column. Position the high-beam switch onto the stud and install the retaining screw and nut after inserting the high-beam actuator rod into the end of the high-beam switch. Plug the electrical connector into the new ignition switch.

Lift the steering column into position and install the retaining nuts. Tighten the nuts securely. Reinstall the negative battery cable. Try to start the engine. If the engine won't start, adjust the new switch by loosening the studs and sliding the switch down the column until it will start. Reinstall the lower trim panel and sound insulator.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Wrench set

  • Screwdriver set

  • Steering wheel puller

  • Lock plate removal tool