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Ignition Switch

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Ignition Switch

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What is ignition switch and where is it located?

Along with the ignition lock cylinder, the ignition switch is where it all starts. Your vehicle’s ignition switch, also referred to as a starter switch, is the electrical switch that is activated by the ignition lock cylinder when the vehicle’s key is inserted into it and is turned. This switch is commonly located in the steering column, on the dash, or in the center console. When you insert and then turn and hold the key at the “start” position, power is supplied from your vehicle’s battery to the starter motor to start the engine. Once started and the key is released, the key will then return to the “on” position as a result of the “start” position being spring loaded, power supply to the starter is cut, and this then allows for all of the vehicle’s electronics and accessories to be powered. The “accessory” position of the ignition lock cylinder allows for power to be supplied to other eletrical accessories such as the radio and GPS without powering the components necessary for the vehicle to run. The ignition switch is essentially responsible for making the electrical connection that makes all of this possible, while the ignition lock cylinder is what activates it.

Some applications have the lock cylinder and switch incorporated into a single unit rather than simply being connected to each other, and many modern cars and trucks use a small transponder chip inside the key as part of the vehicle’s anti-theft system. Vehicles that use these anti-theft key chips may need additional programming for the new ignition switch to work and replacement is generally a bit trickier due to the reduced access to the switch. Replacing most car ignition switches however can often be done with simple hand tools, a quality repair manual, and a little bit of mechanical ability.

How do I know my ignition switch needs to be replaced?

If your lock cylinder is working properly but there is no power going to the car's electronics or accessories, and you know your battery and fuses are good as well, a failed ignition switch may be the cause. So what can cause your ignition switch to fail? Well, as with any electrical switch on your vehicle, it can eventually fail due to age and repeated use. It may also get damaged during a theft attempt. Testing an ignition starter switch can be done with a basic multi-meter. If it is determined that your car or truck’s switch has indeed failed, and a replacement is needed, it is recommended that you obtain one as soon as possible.

Can I replace an ignition switch myself?

The amount of time and level of difficulty will range depending on the vehicle, but there is a common list of steps among many. You'll probably have the door hanging half open, so it's a good idea to disconnect the negative battery cable. Then, usually you'll have to remove the lower dash panel beneath the steering wheel column. Depending on the vehicle you may or may not have to remove the lower steering wheel column trim. Then you'll want to unbolt the ignition switch wiring harness from the ignition switch. Once that's been completed and you've disconnected the wiring harness, you should be able to remove any bolts that hold the ignition switch in place.

Reinstallation is just a reversal of the prodecure. Make sure your ignition switch is positioned correctly and bolt it into place. Then connect and bolt the wiring harness into place, and insert any remaining trim or plates back into place. Then reconnect the battery if you disconnected it, and test the switch.

Need an ignition switch replacement?

An ignition switch is a critical component and if it has failed, the car or truck may not be able to start or power its accessories. Therefore, if you are in need of an ignition switch replacement, it is imperative that you obtain one and install it as soon as possible so that you can get your vehicle running again. At 1A Auto, we have a large selection of aftermarket ignition switches for many cars, trucks, and SUV’s to meet your needs so that none of these inconveniences occur.

Shopping for an aftermarket ignition switch replacement for your car, truck or SUV is also incredibly easy at 1A Auto - we're here to help you select the right part for your vehicle! Call our customer service toll free at 888-844-3393 if you have any questions about our switches, warranty, compatibility or to purchase, or you can buy online right here at 1aauto.com. Order your replacement ignition starter switch today and get your vehicle back on the road!

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