How to Replace an Ignition Switch on a Mazdaby Alibaster Smith
The ignition switch on a Mazda is secured to the steering column. While some vehicles use a simple release pin to access the ignition switch, Mazda uses a different method that requires removing the steering wheel to access the ignition switch. When your ignition lock no longer functions, it's likely because of seized tumblers inside the switch and cylinder mechanism. When this happens, you'll need to replace the switch.
Open the hood and disconnect the battery. Use the socket wrench and 10 mm socket to loosen the retaining nut on the cable running to the negative battery terminal, and slide the clamp off the terminal.
Use the Phillips screwdriver to remove the two screws that hold the bottom half of the steering column trim in place, and then pull the trim down with your hands to remove it.
Remove the combination switch trim. The stalks coming out of the steering column have a gap at the base where the stalk meets the steering column. Put your fingers into this gap, and gently pull up on the top trim piece to remove it. Remove the three Phillips screws that hold the bottom trim piece in place, and pull that trim piece down.
Remove the air bag assembly by pulling out the rubber screw covers on each side of the steering wheel. Be careful when removing the air bag; you don't want it to deploy accidentally.
Remove the two 12 mm screw bolts that hold the air bag to the steering wheel. Slide the air bag forward, and disconnect the electrical plug running to the back of the air bag.
Remove the large center steering wheel nut with a 21 mm socket and socket wrench. Then pull the steering wheel off the steering column.
Remove the three screws (on most Mazdas) that hold the combination switch to the ignition switch. Then pull the combination switch off the steering column and ignition switch.
Use the Dremel cutting tool to cut a slot in each of the two screws that hold the ignition switch in place. Cut the slot in the screws perpendicular to the steering column. The screws have a breakaway head, meaning that the head of the screw is meant to break off so that all is left is a small dome on top of the screw. This is what you are cutting into to create a surface on which you can apply torque to remove the screw.
Slide the offset screwdriver into the slot you cut, and remove the two screws that are holding the ignition switch in place. Pull the ignition switch off, and disconnect the electrical connector from the switch.
Mount the new ignition switch where the old ignition switch used to be. Orient the new switch in the same way in which the old switch was oriented.
Thread and tighten the new screws with a 12 mm wrench. Try to tighten them evenly onto the ignition switch. Alternate your tightening pattern until the screw heads break off. Then reattach the electrical connector.
Reassemble the steering column in the reverse of disassembly.
- For specific information about removing your Mazda vehicle's ignition switch, consult the particular vehicle's manual (see Resource).
Items you will need
- Socket wrench
- 10 mm socket
- Phillips screwdriver
- 12 mm wrench
- 12 mm socket
- 21 mm socket
- Offset slotted screwdriver