Diagnosing And Repairing Ignition Switch Problems

Most people will not expect an ignition switch problem in a modern car, but it’s fairly common. The symptoms depend on the nature of the fault. You may not be able to turn the key in the cylinder or nothing may happen when you turn it.

If you are facing ignition switch problems in Manchester, we can help you. Usually, a faulty ignition switch prevents you from starting the car, but it can also cause a running engine to shut down. Either way, it’s a big inconvenience. Here are the common causes of ignition switch faults.

Are You Using The Right Key In The Right Car?

It may seem silly, but it has happened to many people. It can happen in a parking lot when two similar cars are parked close to each other. People with more than one car of the same make may also make a mistake with the key.

Car-door locks are not as secure as people think. They have far fewer tumblers than what you will find in ignition cylinders. So, you may be able to unlock the door with the wrong key, but it will not start the car.

When you use the wrong key, either the key won’t go in or you will not be able to turn it in the cylinder. Even if you manage to turn it, the immobilizer in modern cars will not allow the engine to start. If this is the first time you are having trouble with the ignition switch, first check if you have the right key and right car.

A Steering Wheel Lock Problem

Car Ignition Mechanism

Most cars have a steering wheel lock that’s physically linked to the ignition cylinder. This makes theft more difficult, but in some situations, the lock can get stuck and prevent the rotation of the cylinder.

The problem usually occurs when you turn the steering wheel after switching off the engine or you switch off the engine with the steering wheel turned to one side. If your steering wheel lock has jammed your ignition cylinder, you can easily free it by gently turning the steering back and forth and simultaneously turning the ignition key.

Incorrect Gear Selector Position

In some automatic models, you can’t turn the ignition key unless the gear selector lever is in park or neutral. If your car has this feature, check if the gear selector is in park. If it’s already in park, shift it to another position, return it to the park position and then try to turn the key again.

Worn-out Key or Ignition Cylinder

Keys and tumblers of the ignition cylinder wear with use and over the years, may become so worn that the key no longer works properly. Wear is accelerated if the key is on a heavy keychain because this puts additional stress on the key and the tumblers. If you have a worn key, you will need a replacement. For worn out cylinders, it will probably make sense to get a new set of locks for the car.

Ignition Switch Contact Problem

There are several contacts in the ignition switch which connect it to various electrical systems. Bad contacts can cause the switch to malfunction and prevent you from starting the car. It can also cause a running engine to shut down. In such cases, replacement of the faulty ignition switch is the best solution.

A Problem With The Security System

Most modern cars have a built-in security system which immobilises the engine to prevent theft. It allows the engine to start and run only if it recognizes the key being used.

Every key in these cars comes with a transponder chip that transmits a unique code to the security system when it is brought close to the cylinder. The security system compares the code with a list of codes programmed into it. Engine start is disabled unless the key transmits a matching code. If the chip on the key is damaged or there is a fault in the wiring or components of the security system, this check may fail. Only a mechanic will be able to diagnose and fix this problem.

Damaged Key

A bent key may not be able to line up all the cylinders of the ignition lock and may refuse to turn. In some models, poor design of the key and the ignition cylinder results in faster key wear and damage. For example the later issue is quite common in Volkswagen models between 2009 and 2013. In such cases, take the help of a good garage.

For ignition switch problems in and around Manchester and North Manchester, you can count on Servicing Master. You can get a quick repair quote from a local premium garage close to you by using our simple car repair quote form. We also offer a collection and drop off service and online payment to make things hassle free. A convenient, friendly and affordable service, try Servicing Master once and you’ll never go back. Give us a call now on 0161 302 0201.

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