Easy Car Ignition Switch Removal

  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 25-75
What You'll Need
Socket wrench and sockets
Steering wheel puller
Car keys

The car ignition switch is an important part of the process that starts the car. This switch performs many functions in the car that include starting, running, and even when it is just sitting still. When you turn the switch to "On", the electricity from the battery starts to flow to the starter so that the car will start. The car ignition switch is located right behind the cylinder where you place your key. Many cars have these two components meshed into one piece, while there are some that have continued to make this a 2-part piece of your electrical system. When this part fails you will not be able to start your car, and will need to replace it. Removing your car ignition switch is something that you can do in your own garage. Here are the step by step instructions to removing your car ignition switch.

Step 1 - Disconnect Battery Cables

Before doing any work to the ignition switch of your vehicle you will need to disconnect the battery cables. This is a safety precaution that must be done whenever you are working on the electrical system of your car. Just because the car is not on does not mean that there is not some power flowing through the wires.

Step 2 - Remove Steering Column Cover

Look for the screws that hold on both the upper and lower steering column covers. Remove these so that you can take off the cover and set them aside. Make sure you put the screws in a container so that you do not lose them.

Step 3 - Remove Steering Wheel

Once the steering column covers are removed you will need to take out the steering wheel. This is easily done by lifting up the center cover and unplugging the wire that activates the horn. Use a socket wrench and remove the center retaining nut and washer. Once you have taken these out, grab the steering tightly with both hands. Pull the steering wheel straight up and remove it from the steering shaft. If it is stuck too tight to remove in this manner, use a steering wheel puller to free it.

Step 4 - Remove Mounting Screws

The car ignition switch is going to have 2 mounting screws that will keep the cylinder housed in the steering column. Remove the screws to get at the ignition switch. You should be able to move the cylinder out once the screws have been removed.

Step 5 - Unplug Wire Connector

On the underside of the ignition switch you will see that there is a wire that is connected with a plug. Loosen the tab of the wire and remove it from the switch.

Step 6 - Turn Car Off

Once you have the switch in your hand you will need to insert your key into the key slot and turn it to the locked position. Insert your screwdriver and loosen the retaining pin. Turn the key to off and you will be able to remove the car ignition switch from the cylinder.

Step 7 - Set the Switch Aside

Now that you have the car ignition switch out of the steering column you can set it aside and get ready to replace it with a new one.