The ignition key operates the ignition switch of any automotive engine. Without it, your car won't start. There are reasons why you would need a replacement for this key. Malfunctioning of the lock cylinder, wear and tear of the ignition switch, an attempted theft, or losing the car keys could be some of the common reasons.
Although it is better to get it replaced from a proper mechanic, you could try it yourself as well. However, it is necessary that you have basic mechanical as well as car knowledge to carry out this task. Here are some instructions on ignition key replacement.
List of Instructions
- Adjustable wrench
- Small screwdriver
- Replacement ignition key assembly
Pick up your car hood and carefully disconnect the negative terminal on the car battery. You should always disconnect the car battery while working, as there is a possibility of you getting electrocuted. Unscrew the lower and upper steering columns.
After you have disconnected the steering columns, you need to remove the steering wheel. For this, lift the center cover of the steering wheel and then unplug the horn wire and take out the washer and retaining nut as well. Carefully, pull the steering wheel out from its slot and keep it aside.
Disconnect all the wiring connected to the turn signal and windshield wiper switch. Once this is done, take out the spacer sleeve from the steering wheel.
Take out the mounting screws and carefully pull out the ignition switch from its position. Ensure that you disconnect the wiring and loosen the switch so that it comes off easily. Take this switch to a nearby auto supply store where you can purchase a new replacement switch.
When you have the new switch assembly with you, insert it in the old cylinder itself. Properly arrange and secure contacts inside the cylinder and also arrange the entire assembly. Connect all the wires to the switch and screw it back in position. Also, re-attach the windshield wiper signal and turn signal to their respective positions.
After completing the installation successfully in your car, connect the detached terminals to the battery. Attempt to start your car and if it starts, you have successfully replaced your ignition key. Also, check whether the turn signals and windshield wipers are functioning.
Replacing a Lost Key
Figure out whether your car keys were regular ones or the coded ones. In case they were the former, you will need to locate a dealer in your area who is able to imprint the code on the new key. Car manufacturers came up with this type of key to reduce car thefts.
Find a locksmith in your locality who is specifically works on auto keys and preferably has had some experience in the same. If you are having trouble locating a locksmith, refer to the internet or yellow pages.
Call the locksmith and ask him for a replacement. He will need a few hours to check the keys he has in stock for your car or to create a key depending on the size and shape of your original car key.
Once you have the new key with you, check it on your car by inserting it into the ignition slot. If the car starts immediately, there is no problem. But if it does not, then you need to take the car key to your dealer, as it may require some programming.
These were the replacement procedures that you can follow. You can get the key replaced from the dealer itself. It will definitely take more time at the dealer's place, and you will have to do without your car for a few days. In case you are taking your car to the dealer for getting a new ignition key, remember to carry a proof of vehicle ownership with you.