How to Replace a Car Ignition Switch

Lead Image
  • 2-4 hours
  • Advanced
  • 100-200
What You'll Need
A replacement ignition switch
Test light

If you are facing problems with ignition start, then the time has come to replace the car ignition switch. An ignition switch is located on the dashboard or the steering column of the car. It serves various functions such as activating the starter and the ignition system. It also routes the current to various car accessories like the radio, music system, door control mechanisms and lighting system. Problems with an ignition switch lead to a host of other problems like being unable to start the car, inability to start the music system, and others. Here are some pointers if you need to replace your ignition switch.

Step 1 - Remove the Steering Column

Disconnect the battery cable from the battery terminal. Next, disconnect the steering column by taking out the screws. Remove and pry the fasteners off as well. This can be done with the help of a screwdriver and a socket wrench.

Step 2 - Detach the Wiring

steering wheel

Remove the wiring harness which connects itself to the ignition switch. It is located on top of the steering column.

Step 3 - Test the Switch

Examine the ignition switch. This is done with the help of a test light. The test light glows when the switch is in the start position. With the switch in the off position, the test light should not glow. If the ignition switch works fine, the output on the test light would indicate so.

Step 4 - Install the New Switch

Detach the nuts or screws which hold the steering column and the ignition switch. Use a screwdriver or a socket wrench for accomplishing this task. Remove the faulty old switch and replace it with a new one.

Step 5 - Secure the New Switch

Screw and bolt the new switch to the steering column with help of a fastener. Attach the wiring and the steering column back to its normal position. Replace and restore the housing with fasteners again. Ensure that the cylinder and assembly are properly aligned. Reattach the various switches and the mounting screws.

To replace a car ignition switch is not easy, especially in the newer cars. These cars are installed with devices such as the anti-theft which makes the task more challenging. Refer to the manual for pointers on working with such anti-theft devices.