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How to Troubleshoot Ignition Switch Problems

by Alibaster Smith

Your vehicle may begin developing ignition switch problems as it gets older. Ignition switch problems usually present themselves as the inability to start your vehicle. While there is no official service life for most ignition systems, you will typically end up replacing the ignition switch whenever it dies, which can happen suddenly. However, before replacing the switch, you need to troubleshoot the problem.

Step 1

Open the fuse panel in your vehicle underneath the steering column.

Step 2

Remove the fuse for the ignition starter. Use the diagram on the underside of the fuse panel cover and the fuse puller located in the fuse box.

Step 3

Check the metal strip in the fuse. If it is broken or damaged in any way, replace the fuse with another fuse of the same amperage.

Step 4

Open the hood and set the dial on the voltmeter to "Volts."

Step 5

Touch the red lead on the voltmeter to the power terminal on the battery. Then, touch the black lead on the voltmeter to the negative terminal on the battery.

Step 6

Read the voltmeter display. The battery should give off 12.4 volts. If it does not, then the battery is dead. If the battery is good, then the problem may be with the ignition.

Turn the ignition key. If the battery is charged and you do not hear a click upon turning the ignition to the "III" position to crank the engine, then the ignition switch is dead.

Items you will need

  • Voltmeter

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