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Ignition Lock Cylinder Problems

by Michael Signal

The ignition lock cylinder keeps your car or truck secure by only allowing one particular key to start the vehicle. However, the ignition lock cylinder is also integral to the power supply system, allowing power to flow to the electronic accessories and components in the vehicle.

Normal Wear

The ignition lock cylinder is used every time you start your car. Normal wear and tear can lead to malfunctions. In cases where damage to the ignition lock cylinder is quite severe, a driver may be able to start a car without using a key. A failure in the electrical switch can also cause a car to run after the key has been removed from the ignition.


Damage to the ignition lock caused by an attempted theft or a broken key inside the cylinder can cause big problems. Not only does starting become more difficult or impossible but if the car does start, a damaged ignition lock cylinder may cause it to stall. Another sign of sure trouble is having electrical components that will only operate if the key is wiggled.


The ignition lock cylinder is a small part and it may appear to be readily accessible to the do-it-yourself mechanic. Replacing the part may actually require a considerable amount of effort, however, such as removing the steering wheel and/or the steering column cover.

About the Author

Michael Signal began writing professionally in 2010, with his work appearing on eHow. He has expert knowledge in aviation, computer hardware and software, elementary education and interpersonal communication. He has been an aircraft mechanic, business-to-business salesman and teacher. He holds a master's degree in education from Lesley University.

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