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How to Remove a GM Ignition Lock Cylinder

by Thomas West

General Motors produces Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac and Buick vehicles. GM also produced Pontiac and Oldsmobile cars; but as of 2010 and 2004 respectively, these makes are no longer being made. GM used similar parts in all of their vehicles, including the ignition lock cylinder, or ignition switch. The lock cylinder in your GM vehicle is located on the steering column and can be replaced in about one to two hours with automotive tools.

Step 1

Open the hood. Remove the negative battery terminal from the battery by loosening the nut with an adjustable wrench in a counterclockwise direction and lifting the cable from the post.

Step 2

Remove the horn pad from the steering wheel by removing the holding screws on the back of the steering wheel spokes with a Phillips head screwdriver turned in a counterclockwise direction. Lift the horn pad from the steering wheel and disconnect the wiring leads from the back of the pad by pulling them straight out. Set the pad and screws aside.

Step 3

Remove the center nut that holds the steering wheel to the steering shaft by backing it out with an adjustable wrench in a counterclockwise direction. Set the nut aside.

Step 4

Attach a universal steering wheel puller to the steering wheel by threading two bolts through the slots in each side of the puller and into the threaded holes in the steering wheel on each side of the steering shaft. (Note: The bolts only need to be tightened finger-tight.)

Step 5

Remove the steering wheel by turning the center bolt on the steering wheel puller in a clockwise direction with an adjustable wrench until the wheel lifts off of the steering shaft. Set the wheel aside.

Remove the two screws holding the white plastic turn signal mechanism in place with a Phillips head screwdriver turned in a counterclockwise direction. Set the screws aside. Lift the turn signal mechanism up slightly to reveal the ignition lock retainer screw. Remove the screw by turning it counterclockwise with a Phillips head screwdriver. Pull the ignition lock cylinder straight out of the steering column.


  • Many different-sized bolts come with a universal steering wheel puller. Choose two bolts that fit into the threaded holes in your GM steering wheel.
  • Reinstall a new ignition switch in the reverse order. When installing the steering wheel, the tightening action of the steering shaft nut will pull the steering wheel down to its regular position.

Items you will need

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Universal steering wheel puller

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