How to Replace an Ignition Switch

by Contributor

If you're having trouble starting your car and you've been through troubleshooting the starter and alternator, it may be time to replace the ignition switch. Though this is a job best suited for a professional mechanic, if you're willing to take it on, here's how to replace the ignition switch in your car.

Disconnect the negative battery cable from the terminal on the battery. Remove the upper and lower steering column covers by unscrewing or unclipping them.

Remove the steering wheel by lifting off the center cover, disconnecting the horn wire and removing the retaining nut and washer. Make a mark on the steering wheel spline and the wheel itself so you can line it back up precisely. Pull the steering wheel straight back to remove from the shaft.

Take off windshield wiper and turn signal switches by pulling them off as you did the steering wheel and disconnect the wiring. Slide the spacer sleeve off of the steering column.

Unscrew the ignition switch mounting screws. Pull out the ignition switch. Disconnect the wiring connector from back of the ignition switch. Simply loosen the tabs and pull it out.

Insert your key into the ignition. Turn the ignition switch to the locked position. Depress the retaining pin with a small screwdriver and turn the key to the Off position to free the cylinder. Once it is free, turn the key to lock position and remove the key and key cylinder.

Install your old key cylinder into the new ignition switch assembly. Make sure the contacts in the cylinder and assembly line up. Reattach wiring to ignition switch, slide it into place, screw in mounting screws and reassemble steering wheel and switches.

Tip

  • check These steps may vary slightly or additional removal of some equipment such as a tilt steering column lever may be required based on the make and model of your vehicle. Consult with your dealer or manual for details.

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