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How to Remove & Replace the Ignition Switch on a 2004 Chrysler Sebring

by David Roberts

The ignition switch of a 2004 Chrysler Sebring is the part located on the steering column that allows the key to turn and the vehicle to start. When the ignition switch fails, it may become impossible to turn the key and start the vehicle. The 2004 Sebring ignition switch and removal procedures are similar to those of the Avenger, the Stratus and other Chrysler vehicles. A repair manual for either of those models will provide the schematic you may need for reference.

1

Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery terminal. Move the cable so that it cannot come into contact with any metal surface. Insert key into ignition and turn to the accessories option. This is the spot you turn a key to to listen to the radio while the engine is off and is labeled "Acc."

2

Remove the tilt wheel arm by turning it counter-clockwise. Remove the upper and lower steering column trim panels using the torx bit. Remove the key from the ignition and set aside within easy reach. You will be using the key again. Unplug the electrical wires from the ignition switch. These wires are the ones that turn on the interior lights and the chiming when a key is left in the ignition in the off position. If your Sebring is equipped with a loop antenna, remove this from the ignition switch as well.

3

Remove the three ignition switch mounting screws with the tamper proof torx bit. Set these screws aside. Pull the ignition switch from the steering column until the column lock actuator is exposed. The column lock actuator is the small flag-shaped piece located on the bottom of the ignition switch. The flag should be in the 3 o'clock position. Unplug the electrical wire that goes into the electrical harness of the ignition switch harness connector. Press in the tabs that secure the connector to the ignition switch and remove it from the ignition switch.

4

Install old key lock into new ignition switch. You will have to do this to make sure your vehicle key matches the new ignition switch assembly. Note the face of the ignition switch. It resembles a hinge plate with two primary pieces that interlock. Insert the key into the old key lock and turn it to the start position. You will see the lock pin emerge from the lock cylinder. Push the lock pin in with a small screwdriver. This will allow the lock cylinder to withdraw from the ignition switch.

5

Return the key to the off position and remove the lock cylinder from the old ignition switch. Slide the old lock cylinder into the new ignition switch. Align the lock pin on the cylinder with the lock pin housing on the new switch. Turn the key to the lock position to make sure the pin locks the cylinder into the switch housing. Turn the key from the start position back to the accessory position.

6

Re-assemble the ignition switch onto the steering column. Remove the key, plug the harness into the new switch and make sure the lock tabs click on the wire harness connector. Install the three mounting screws into the ignition switch and plug the electrical wires for the interior lighting and chimes back into the ignition switch. Install the upper and lower column trim shields and tilt wheel lever. Reconnect the negative battery cable to the terminal.

Tip

  • If you cannot find a repair manual for your 2004 Sebring, try visiting the local library; it may have many of them available in the automobile section. You can also purchase manuals online; Haynes or Chilton's are both good options.

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About the Author

David Roberts has been writing since 1985. He has published for various websites including online business news publications. He has over 11 years experience in tax preparation and small business consultation. He is also a Certified Fraud Examiner. He received a Master of Business Administration from Florida Metropolitan University in 2005.

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