If you are getting it tough to start your vehicle, and have found no issue with the starter or alternator, you may need to change the car’s ignition lock cylinder. Although this job is often done by a professional auto electrician or a mechanic, it is a job an enthusiastic DIYer can handle on his or her own.
Most cars are fitted with a removable ignition lock cylinder or “interchangeable cores.” These have the benefits of being removed easily. The procedure may differ between various manufacturers, but nearly all are altered using a special key.
Before you start, you have to get the “core key” for the switch. The core key is like a master key. Rather than unlocking the vehicle doors and locks, it enables the removal of the cylinder, or core, from the ignition lock casing. The core key is not used to unlock anything, but can unlock a gadget without a key. For example, a screwdriver can be used to open a lock that does not have a core. Troubleshooting and replacing an ignition switch is work that you can do, if you follow the steps highlighted below.
Step 1 – Disconnect the Battery
Take out the negative cable terminal connection from the battery. Unscrew the screws to take out the upper and lower covers from the steering wheel column.
Step 2 – Remove the Steering Wheel
Take the steering wheel up by pulling at the center cover. Disconnect the wires linked to the horn, and remove the steering wheel retaining nut and washer. Pull out the steering wheel to remove it from its shaft.
Step 3 – Strip off Wipers and Indicator Switches
Take off the windshield wiper and indicator switches by pulling them away.
Step 4 – Remove the Sleeve from the Steering Column
Remove the spacer sleeve from the steering column by sliding it up after you have taken the wiper and indicator switches.
Step 5 – Remove the Ignition Switch
Unscrew the mounting screws for the ignition switch. Pull the ignition switch out. Disconnect wires from the connector at the rear side of the ignition switch. Loosen the tabs to draw it out.
Step 6 – Remove the Core
Insert the core key into the core of the ignition switch, like any other key. Press down the retaining pin, making use of a small screwdriver. Turn the key about 10 degrees, to reach the off position. This will let out the cylinder from the lock casing. When the key is free, it should be in the locked place.
Withdraw the key slowly from the lock. The cylinder will equally pull out of the housing, as you withdraw the key. Please bear in mind that if you turn the key back before withdrawing, only the key will come out.
These steps will differ, or you may have to perform some additional steps, depending upon the make and model of the car. Refer to the car manufacturer’s manual for more details. Each type of vehicle may have a different method for removing an ignition lock cylinder.