Switch on your ignition system and start your car without problems with a quality Ignition Switch or Ignition Switch Replacement today/
Lighting was responsible for bringing the monster Frankenstein to life. While your vehicle doesn't rely on lighting to get it going, it does rely on an electrical component to generate the power needed to start the engine. This component is the Ignition Switch.
This switch is responsible for powering the engine, as well as numerous electrical accessories. It begins to work the minute you insert the car keys to start the engine. Generally, this component has four settings, which can be accessed by turning the key column: off, on, electrical, and start. The off setting is obviously used whenever the car is parked; the on setting powers the car's systems; the electrical setting lets you operate electrical accessories without starting the car; and the start setting engages the engine. A faulty switch will prevent you from starting your car and accessing any of the four settings.
There are many indications of a broken Ignition Switch. One indication is when your radio or your wipers fail to activate despite your attempts to twist your key to the start or electrical setting. The moment this happens or your car fails to generate during start up, you should consider buying an ignition switch replacement. You can easily find a good universal ignition switch at online retailers. But it's always better to purchase parts that are specifically built for your car's make and model. This way, you will not have problems with specifications and compatibility.
Ignition Switch Buyer’s Guide
- The ignition switch is considered a master switch because it activates the electrical, computer, fuel, and ignition systems in the automobile.
- They also direct current from the battery to the starter in order to start the engine.
- Key switches continue to be extremely common in modern vehicles.
- Newer models have started to feature “keyless” ignition switches which replace the physical key with a fob and a push-button system.
- The cost of an ignition switch will vary depending on your vehicle’s specific year, make, and model. OE replacement parts will typically cost you anywhere between $5 to $450. Ignition switches are sold individually or as part of an ignition lock assembly.
- A bad ignition switch can get in the way of the operation of your vehicle. It can prevent the engine from starting, cause unexpected stalling while driving and keep connected electrical systems from switching on.
What is an ignition switch?
Most people think that the ignition switch is merely the slot where the car keys are inserted. While it is part of the ignition lock assembly, it plays a much larger role in the operation of a vehicle.
The ignition switch is considered a master switch because it activates the electrical, computer, fuel, and ignition systems in the automobile. At the same time, it directs current from the battery to the starter in order to start the engine.
How does an ignition switch work?
To understand how an ignition switch works, it’s a good idea to go over the three different types of ignition systems.
Mechanical ignition systems
This type of ignition system was featured in automobiles since the early 1900s. It is mainly made up of the ignition switch, ignition coil, spark plugs, and the distributor.
As the key is inserted into the assembly and put in the “start” position, the switch allows current to flow from the battery to the starter to fire the engine. Releasing the key puts it back to the “on” position which redirects the battery’s energy to the ignition coil.
Current from the ignition coil is routed to the distributor through contact with ignition points at intervals based on the speed of the engine. As a new charge enters the distributor, it is stored until it is routed to the next spark plug in the firing sequence. The resulting spark causes another ignition in the engine which continues the cycle.
Electronic ignition systems
This type of ignition system functions similarly to a mechanical system. However, it uses electronic timing devices instead of ignition points. The electronic control module also guides the flow of the current in the ignition coil circuit. The module either receives signals from a magnet in the distributor or sensors connected to the camshaft or engine.
Distributorless ignition systems
This type of ignition system differs from mechanical and electronic systems because it does not have a distributor and features multiple ignition coils (one or two spark plugs for every coil). The spark plugs are fired based on data provided by the engine sensors to the vehicle’s computer system that regulates the electronic control module.
Types of ignition switches
Key switches continue to be extremely common in modern vehicles. These require a key to be inserted into the switch to activate its functions. However, newer models have started to feature “keyless” ignition switches which replace the physical key with a fob and a push-button system.
How much does an ignition switch cost?
The cost of an ignition switch will vary depending on your vehicle’s specific year, make, and model. OE replacement parts will typically cost you anywhere between $5 to $450. Ignition switches are sold individually or as part of an ignition lock assembly.
Signs of a bad ignition switch
A bad ignition switch can get in the way of the operation of your vehicle. It is best to have your vehicle checked by a licensed mechanic as soon as you notice one or more of the following symptoms.
Key won’t turn when inserted
There are instances wherein the switch seizes up and won’t turn in either direction. This is often due to a lack of lubrication in the switch. It can also be caused by a worn ignition cylinder. If using a non-conducting lubricant doesn’t solve the problem, it may be time to get the switch replaced.
The switch is on but the engine won’t start
Worn out ignition switch contacts can prevent you from starting your vehicle. If turning the ignition switch in the “start” position does nothing, there it’s likely that there is a problem with the switch or the starting circuit.
To rule out battery problems, look at the instrument panel and try switching on your headlights. If they work, you must have a trusted mechanic check the ignition system.
Vehicle stalls on the road
Stalling is one of the most common symptoms of a bad ignition switch. Ignition contacts will eventually wear out with regular use. This makes them more sensitive to heat and vibration. Loss of contact while driving disrupts the circuit, causing the engine to misfire or die.
Connected electrical systems won’t turn on
Turning the key to the “acc” position should activate the vehicle’s interior lights, radio, and air conditioning. If these don’t power on, it is likely that you are dealing with a faulty ignition switch.
Why is ignition switch replacement important?
As mentioned above, the ignition switch is responsible for directing electrical current from the battery to your car’s a/c system, radio, and interior lights. Without a properly functioning switch, the electrical systems that make driving more enjoyable won’t be operational.
Replacing a faulty ignition switch also ensures your safety and of other vehicles on the road. Stalling in the middle of the freeway or while driving at high speeds is extremely dangerous. To prevent your engine from suddenly dying while driving, a bad ignition switch must be replaced immediately.
Browse through our vast selection of ignition switches by using our website’s search filter. Simply plug in your vehicle’s correct year, make, and model to view all compatible parts.
Important Facts You Need to Know About Ignition Switch
Have you ever experienced problems starting up your car's engine? When, despite your best efforts, the engine just won't start up? It may be the ignition switch that's acting up. If that's the case, then no amount of fixing things under the hood is going to solve it. What you need is brand new switch.Each switch includes the ignition lock cylinder, circuit and wiring harness, plus keys. Replacing the switch should be pretty straightforward. Depending on where your factory switch is located, you may have to remove or at least loosen a couple of interior panels.Before tearing apart the old ignition switch, makes notes as to where the wires or plugs go to. Proper installation prevent starting issues in the future. Also make sure not to damage or misplace any of these wires. Otherwise, the switch circuit may get grounded.If you have questions about installing a new switch, call our hotlines here at CarParts.com. Our agents are willing to give information about the product and its application.
• The switch ensures that you can quickly crank the engine.
• Our ignition switches offer four positions: off, accessories, on, and start.
• We have ignition switches with limited mileage warranty.
Getting the Ignition Switch that's Right For You
Picking out the right ignition switch is not too tricky a business. After all, it performs just one singular function that does not vary much between vehicles of whatever make and model. However, there are certain considerations that you have to take into account to make sure you don't get a new ignition switch that simply won't fit.
What is an Ignition Switch?
The reason we have to tackle this question comes down to terminology. "Ignition switch" is used to interchangeably refer to two different but connected parts: the cylinder into which you stick your key, and the electronic switch behind it that gets your car started. Sometimes, you'll find that the term is used to describe both altogether.
It is important that you determine what the catalog is referring to before you make a purchase. Nothing will be more frustrating than needing a replacement for the electronic switch only to receive a tumbler instead. The best bet, to guarantee fit, is to consider replacing both at the same time-this eliminates the possibility of having cylinder incompatible with the switch and vice versa.
There are quite a lot of parts manufacturers out there making replacement ignition switches. Some specifically churn out the combination key cylinder-electronic switch replacements, a few offer separate options. While most people look to the brand as a sure sign of fit and reliability, a better and smarter bet would be to look for one that is specific to your vehicle's year, make, and model.
It's the housing around the ignition switch that is very critical here. While the basic functionality of the ignition switch will always be standard across all years, makes, and models, the housing that surrounds and secures it in place are as varied and diverse in shape and form as the vehicles themselves. This is where online shopping is an advantage. A lot of sites have drop-down matching tools to help you out.
The Price is Right
Here's where things get a little tricky. Prices on replacement ignition switches vary with the lowest in the neighborhood of $20, and the costliest running you a good $100 and up. Don't let price be a determinant of quality, however. The key, again, is to find one specific for what you drive.
The differences in prices come down to the complexity of the arrangement brought about by differences in the specific year, make, and model of your ride. Take advantage of the parts-matching programs on many sites and you should be good to go!
Changing your Ignition Switch
A faulty ignition switch can open you up to a whole world of trouble. You could experience stalls and loss of lighting-if your vehicle even starts up at all. As far as DIY projects go, this one is a tough one. While it's recommended that you have a mechanic do it, this guide will walk you through the steps yourself-it will save you a bit on money.
Things You Will Need:
- New ignition switch
- Original owner's manual
- Screwdrivers ? smaller Philips and various flat-types
- Allen wrenches
- Pry bar
- Large socket dish
- Chalk or other etching tool to mark part orientation
The Way to Go:
Step 1: Make sure that your steering wheel is centered, the tires are straight and parallel to the body of your car, and the car itself is parked in a flat, level surface.
Step 2: Disconnect the battery and wait a half hour before continuing.
For Steering Wheels with Airbags (otherwise, skip to Step 6):
Step 3: Remove the two recessed screws on the steering column
Step 4: Slide off the air-bag assembly. Do this carefully so you do not accidentally yank out the connecting wire.
Step 5: Unplug the back of the airbag.
Step 6: Gently pull off the horn pad up front and carefully disengage the wire that connects it to the steering wheel.
Step 7: Locate the switch on the steering column-if seated in the driver's side, it should be above your right knee.
*NOTE* Some vehicles might require removal of the air conditioning ducts.
Step 8: Carefully remove the steering wheel from its mounted position using the screwdrivers and wrenches-differences between makes and models usually boil down to how the steering wheel is attached to the column.
Step 9: Look around the housing that surrounds the ignition switch and carefully note point of attachment.
Step 10: Disassemble the housing and slide it off.
Step 11: Sketch a diagram of the currently installed ignition switch and make sure you jot down the proper wiring connections.
Step 12: Remove the old ignition switch.
*NOTE* This step can be as simple or as complicated as depends on what vehicle you drive. Always take not of attachment points and try not to yank things our haphazardly.
Step 13: Grease up the end of the new switch, secure it, and reconnect all the wires.
Step 14: Reassemble your steering column by reversing the steps above and do not forget to reconnect the battery.
Step 15: Start the car to test the new switch out!
- Always refer to the owner's manual for specifics-what your manual says takes precedent.
- Be safe! At the very least, wear goggles, insulated gloves, and closed-toed shoes.
- You can test the new ignition switch the moment it's installed to avoid the hassle of taking everything apart again should it fail.