Your vehicle ignition switch is one of the most vital electronic part commonly found on many road-going vehicles and trucks. It is usually found on the steering column, just behind the ignition lock cylinder. The two function together to turn on and ignite the car. The ignition switch has many positions that power on different systems as the key is turned. Most ignition switches will first activate the electrical accessories in the first position, power on the fuel and ignition systems on the second position, and then crank the engine on the third.
The ignition switch is used anytime the car is powered on and started. It will thus eventually wear out and start to have issues. Often, a faulty ignition switch will create any of the following 5 signs that can alert the driver of a potential issue.
1. A car that stalls while driving
One of the first signs of an issue with the ignition switch is a car that suddenly stalls while the engine is running. If the ignition switch fails while the engine is running it may cut off power to the ignition and fuel systems, which will then cause the engine to begin to stall. Depending on the particular issue, the car may or may not be able to get restarted a short while later.
2. An engine that does not start
An engine that fails to start can be another indication of a bad ignition switch. The ignition switch sends power to the the starter motor, engine controls, and ignition controls. These systems may not receive the power they require to start up if the ignition switch is not working properly. An engine that is not starting could be one of them.
3. Vehicle starts and then suddenly stalls
Another sign of an issue with the car’s ignition switch is a vehicle that starts and then suddenly stalls. If the ignition switch fails at the “on” position, the position that is meant to power on the fuel and ignition systems, it may lead the vehicle starting, and then immediately stalling. The ignition switch will momentarily offer power to the fuel pump and ignition system when it is in the cranking position, which may let the car to start. However, if it has failed in the “on” position, it will cut off power to the fuel supply and ignition systems as soon as the key is withdrawn from the cranking position to the “on” position.
4. Issues with powering on the accessories
Another sign of a faulty ignition switch is trouble powering on the car’s accessories. When the key is put in and turned to the “acc” position the ignition switch should power on the car accessories such as the interior lights, dashboard lights, and center console. When the key is inserted and turned and the accessories do not get power on, it may be a symptom of an issue with the ignition switch or lock cylinder. Similar signs can equally be caused by fuse and wiring issues, so having the car properly diagnosed is highly recommended.
5. Issues with turning or removing the key
If the ignition key becomes stuck when turning on the vehicle or removing the key, it may be a symptom of a worn out ignition switch. The key isn’t connecting inside the switch normally. Additionally, a switch that is going bad may make the engine to continue to run even after you’ve removed the key from the ignition.
Ignition switches becomes one of the most regularly used switches on a cars, and like all electrical switches, it can eventually wear out and need service. If you suspect your car may be having an issue with the ignition switch, have the car checked by a professional technician to know if it should be changed.