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Car encyclopedia

Ignition Switch

The ignition lock electrical assembly—or ignition switch—is connected to the ignition lock cylinder. It turns the vehicle’s electrical system on and off and also supplies the initial electrical signal that starts the engine.

Symptoms of Wear or Failure

  • Car may not start or start intermittently
  • Engine may continue to run after key has been removed
  • Key may be difficult to remove from ignition
  • A failed switch may cause the radio, lights, blower motor, and other electrical components to stop working
  • Steering wheel may be difficult to lock or unlock

Related Repair Advice

  • The term "ignition switch" commonly refers to the assembly, which includes the ignition lock cylinder and the ignition switch. Depending on the type of failure, these parts can be replaced individuality or as a unit.
  • Most newer vehicles require some type of theft system "re-learn" after replacing the ignition switch and/or the ignition lock cylinder
  • If the ignition lock cylinder is hard to turn with the key, the key should be inspected for wear and/or damage before replacing the ignition lock cylinder
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