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Can’t get your car started? There are a lot of reasons this can happen. One probability is that your vehicle has a failing ignition switch. If so, it’s time to look into it further. A worn-out ignition can prove to be a hazard, so don’t ignore the issue. In some instances, you can discover the nature of your problem yourself.

Reasons you may be experiencing ignition problems

One common reason ignitions fail is that they’re defective from the beginning. If so, check with your vehicle’s manufacturer. If you’re still under warranty, the dealership should replace your ignition cylinder for you. If you’re no longer under warranty, it’s time to hire a reputable automotive locksmith specialist.

There could be too much wear and tear. If so, the car key will become increasingly ineffective, and finally stop functioning. In this case, the key needs to be remade, applying the factory key cutting codes, to ensure the key is correctly cut and completely functional.

Keep an eye on your dashboard lights. Natural wear and tear on your automobile can lead to ignition switch failure, particularly in older cars. If your ignition switch is failing, you might not hear clicks from the main relay, which fires it up. If you’re stalling out, check your dashboard lights. Turn the key to position 2, and if the oil light, charge light, brake light, and other warning lights do not come on, then something’s wrong. You can also do this test to check the ignition switch’s integrity: When you get the car key to the “start” position, as soon as it begins to start, let go of the key, and let it snap back to the “on” position. If your warning lights turn off when the switch snaps back, then the switch is definitely bad.

Did you break the car key off, or is there some other object lodged in the lock mechanism? Don’t try to fix this yourself! Contact a trustworthy automotive locksmith expert. Otherwise, you might cause irreparable damage to the ignition. Usually a broken key or any foreign object can easily be removed by a professional automotive locksmith, without having to replace the whole ignition switch.

Did you insert the wrong key into the ignition switch? If it went all the way in, don’t attempt to pull it out! You could cause irreparable damage to the ignition. It’s time to call a locksmith!

Your key ignition’s set of wafers, which index with corresponding cuts on the car key, can become worn out. The switch will fail if it gets mucked up with grime and dirt. Individual wafer replacement, or plain old cleaning, will do the trick. You likely won’t have to pay for a total ignition replacement.

The battery could be drained. When you start your vehicle, the ignition coil takes its power from the battery, sending it to the sparkplugs. This ignites the fuel so your car will run. If you ever have to turn the engine over a bunch of times to get it going, you could drain your battery until there’s no power left.

Is the switch overheating? You could have a short in your system. If your ignition switch is overly hot when it’s touched, then the issue is probably in the electrical system. Since the ignition switch is connected to high-resistance wires, any of the terminals where the wires are connected can overheat, which may melt the insulating base. If it does get fried, then your vehicle will jerk violently, and won’t start.

Your transponder key may not be functioning properly. Normally, this means that its computer chip has lost its programming. You can get your existing key reprogrammed; or, you can hire a professional to duplicate the existing cuts, and program a whole new key. This exacting task needs to be done by a reliable expert automotive locksmith specialist.

Has there been an attempt to steal your vehicle? What often occurs is that an amateur car thief will make a mess of your steering column and ignition switch. If so, it’s time to replace the entire ignition assembly.

Be on the lookout for these ignition warning signs:

  • the steering wheel sometimes gets stuck, or even becomes immovable
  • the key comes out, even while your car is still running
  • you may observe higher auto emissions or increased fuel consumption
  • you can’t even get the key in the ignition at all
  • your vehicle may be prone to stalling while idling
  • you’re noticing car battery problems

Check the Status

When you put your key into the ignition switch and turn it, there are typically three status positions:

1. In the “off” status position, no power is being transmitted to the engine or system.

2. In the “on” status position, the dashboard lights come on, but your engine’s still off.

3. In the “start” position, you exert full key pressure, and it fires up the engine.

One sure sign of a faulty ignition switch is that your instrument panel doesn’t illuminate when your key is in position 2.

Do It Yourself

If you’re going to replace the ignition switch by yourself, be sure you know what you’re doing ahead of time. It’s not easy, especially with newer cars, because they often have anti-theft devices. Removing or replacing your ignition switch without taking the proper precautions, and without using the right tools, can make your car inoperable! The electrical current running through the system can cause major bodily harm. Therefore, keep all metallic objects away from electrical wires. The whole process involves removing the steering column, disconnecting the battery cable from the battery terminal, removing the wiring harness that’s connected to the ignition switch, and so on, before you can install a new ignition switch.

Unless you’re sure you know exactly what you’re doing, it’s better to hire an expert. If you’re any place in Temecula, California, it’s a good idea to choose a professional automotive locksmith specialist, such as the mobile staff technicians of Temecula Locksmith.