How to Replace the Ignition Switch on Jeep Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

A faulty or failing ignition switch on your Jeep car can be frustrating and hazardous, and you should repair it immediately. Otherwise, your engine may stall at any given time while on the road. It may even leave you stranded somewhere by refusing to start. Sometimes the problem may begin with your Jeep car being hard to start, taking several attempts. Other times, your ignition may fail all at once. Either way, changing your own ignition switch is slightly difficult but worth it in the end.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace the Ignition Switch on a 1995 Jeep Wrangler

Uninstall the Old Switch

Detach the ground battery cable from the battery post. Use a wrench to turn the battery post clockwise. This is a black cable that is next to a minus sign on the battery post near the ignition.

Insert a key to the the ignition and turn it to "Off-Lock".

Remove the ignition switch. Unscrew the bolts on both sides of the ignition that hold it in place with a ratchet and socket.

Use your hand to pull the ignition switch from the actuator rod. The actuator rod is what holds the ignition switch to the base of the steering wheel.

Release and remove the switch completely from the steering wheel base. Unplug the black and white wires from the ignition switch. These wires run from the steering wheel base to the ignition switch.

Install the New Ignition Switch

Adjust the slider on the side of the new switch to "ACC."

Plug the black and white wires running from the steering wheel base into the new switch. Place them in the locations on the new switch that match with the places you removed them from on the old switch.

Slide the new switch on to the actuator rod in the steering wheel base.

Replace the mounting bolts on both sides of the new switch. Use the old bolts unless you have been supplied with new bolts with the new switch. Tighten the bolts in place with an adjustable wrench.

Insert a key into the ignition and turn it to the "ACC" mark on the steering wheel base.

Reconnect the battery post to the ground battery cable. Use a wrench to tighten the connection by turning it clockwise.

Items you will need

  • Ratchet

  • Socket

  • Adjustable wrench

 How to Replace the Ignition Switch on a Jeep Grand Cherokee

Removing the Lower Dashboard Trim

Raise and secure the hood of your Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Disconnect the negative (black) cable terminal from the car battery, using a wrench.

Remove the 10 screws that surround the lower dashboard trim panel inside the Grand Cherokee, using a screwdriver. The last screw is usually hidden behind the ashtray container.

Unplug any electrical connectors and remove the panel. Set the panel aside.

Removing the Ignition Switch

Place the key lock in the "Off-Lock" position.

Use a screwdriver to remove the two retaining screws connecting the switch to the steering column, and disconnect the actuating rod.

Unplug the black wire harness electrical connector from the white connector.

Remove the switch from the steering column.

Installing the New Ignition Switch

Place the new ignition switch in position at the edge of the steering column.

Move the slider on the ignition switch to the "Accessory" position.

Connect the actuating rod to the slider hole, and install the switch. Tighten the two retaining screws finger-tight.

Holding the key lock in the "Accessory" position, push the ignition switch slightly toward the bottom of the column. Remove any slack in the actuating rod and tighten the retaining screws securely with a screwdriver.

Plug the black connector back into the white connector.

Replace the lower dashboard trim, and fasten the screws with a screwdriver.

Reconnect the negative cable terminal on the car battery, and tighten it with a wrench. Close the hood.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Screwdriver

 How Do I Replace the Ignition Switch on a 1999 Jeep Cherokee?

Turn the key to the ON position.

Remove the lower steering column trim piece, by removing all of the screws holding in the piece.

Disconnect the two electrical connections from the back of the ignition switch.

Unscrew the Torx screw on the ignition switch.

Depress the locking tab on the ignition switch and remove the switch from the steering column.

Place the new switch into the steering column. The tab will lock into place when you push the switch into the column.

Replace the Torx screw holding the switch in the column.

Reconnect the two electrical connections to the ignition switch.

Items you will need

  • Small screwdriver

  • Torx screwdriver set

 How to Replace the Ignition Switch in a 1989 Jeep

Remove the screws holding the lower plastic cover to the steering column, using a Phillips screwdriver. Pull the lower cover off the steering column, followed by the upper cover.

Remove the illumination wiring harness behind the ignition-key lock cylinder by pulling down on the harness.

Remove the three mounting screws behind the cylinder lock that secure the switch to the column, using a tamper-proof Torx driver.

Pull the ignition switch and the cylinder lock away from the steering column.

Pry up on the two locks tabs that secure the ignition switch wiring harness to the switch, using a flat-head screwdriver. Pull the harness out of the switch.

Insert the ignition key into the cylinder lock and turn it to the "Start" position.

Locate the cylinder lock pin on the side of the switch and press the pin in with a flat-head screwdriver. Pull the lock cylinder out of the switch about 1/2 an inch. Remove the key and pull the lock cylinder completely out of the switch.

Slide the lock cylinder into the new ignition switch. Place the key in the lock cylinder and turn it to the "On" position. Slide the lock cylinder in the rest of the way. Remove the key.

Press the ignition switch wiring harness onto the new switch and press down on the locks with your fingers.

Secure the ignition switch to the steering column, using the three screws and the tamper-proof Torx driver.

Push the illumination wiring harness back into the ignition switch.

Position the top cover on the steering column, followed by the bottom cover. Secure them to each other with the screws, using a Phillips screwdriver.

Items you will need

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Tamper-proof Torx driver

About the Author

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