How to Replace a 1995 Jeep Cherokee Ignition Switch

by David McGuffin

Jeep Cherokee models have been popular for several decades in the United States, making spare parts widely available for do-it-yourselfers to try their hand at maintenance and repair. Normally, an ignition switch would only need to be replaced if the car has an electrical problem with the ignition itself. The ignition switch is located on the side of the steering column where the key is inserted to start the car.

Determine that the battery, electrical system, starter and alternator are in working order by taking your 1995 Jeep Cherokee to an auto parts store. There, a technician can troubleshoot these issues for you. Ignition switches are not usually the problem if a car will not start. Make sure that you are solving the problem with the correct solution before embarking on changing out the ignition switch.

Disengage the negative battery cable from the negative terminal of your Jeep Cherokee's battery. Any time that you are doing maintenance on part of the electrical system of a car, the battery should be disconnected to avoid shock. Also disengage the airbag, which could accidentally inflate while working on the steering column.

Remove the plastic covering from the Cherokee's steering column that covers the access to the ignition switch. Removing the cover will reveal small screws that secure the ignition switch to the steering column. The ignition switch should be placed in the "locked" position. Your Cherokee has specialized, tamper-proof screws with little divots in the middle. You will need to use a socket screwdriver with special security adapter screws that have the bump on the ends of them to fit the divots. The tamper-proof bits are available at any hardware or auto parts store.

Pull gently on the ignition switch and remove it from the steering column. Disconnect the electrical connections from the ignition switch assembly. Disengage the connector lock on the key-in-switch and the terminal connector to remove the connector from the ignition switch. Insert the key into the lock and double-check to make sure that it is in the "lock" setting. Press on the key cylinder retaining pin with a small screwdriver so that it matches up evenly with the key cylinder surface. Turn the ignition key to the "off" position in order to release the lock from its seated position on the switch. Turn the key back to the "lock" setting and remove the key. You can now remove the ignition lock from the ignition switch assembly.

Reassemble the ignition assembly with the new ignition switch, following the previous steps in reverse order. Double-check the electrical connections to make sure that they are securely connected to the new ignition switch assembly. When you insert the new ignition assembly into the steering column, be sure that the dowel pin on the ignition switch engages with the column park-lock slider linkage. Make sure that the ignition switch assembly remains in the "lock" position when you insert it into the steering column and that it fits securely. Replace the screws, security bits and the column covering. Reengage the airbag mechanism and the battery terminal. Double-check the airbag warning when you turn the car on to make sure that the airbag is properly connected.

Tip

  • check If you replace the ignition switch, you will have two different keys for your vehicle. Make sure that you label which one is for the door locks and which one is for the ignition.

Items you will need

About the Author

David McGuffin is a writer from Asheville, N.C. and began writing professionally in 2009. He has Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and Montreat College in history and music, and a Bachelor of Science in outdoor education. McGuffin is recognized as an Undergraduate Research Scholar for publishing original research on postmodern music theory and analysis.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera antique steering image by John Sfondilias from Fotolia.com