The Common Causes of Ignition Switch Malfunctions

As the gateway to getting your vehicle running, the ignition switch system is undoubtedly the most critical part of a healthy vehicle. Typically, the ignition system begins with the ignition switch located on the steering wheel column. Once the key is inserted and the switch turned, the engine is triggered to move forward or backward as directed. Unfortunately, just like any other part of a vehicle, the ignition system has multiple issues that can arise as a result of its constant use. Here we bring up some of the most common ignition system issues and how to address them.

Car Key

Broken-off Key is Stuck Inside Ignition Switch

Unfortunately, when a key is subject to daily wear and tear and constant turning of the ignition switch, it can become weak and eventually break off while in use one day. This is obviously inconvenient and not necessarily an easy fix; your best bet is to contact a Mesa car locksmith to remove the key and quickly craft a new one.

An issue can arise if the old key is too worn out to be copied and you have no spare key – the only solution to this problem is to have a new lock cylinder system installed with a brand new key. While most reputable locksmiths can easily repair a worn out car ignition in Mesa, sometimes it just is not possible if the key is very old. Additionally, if it happens to be a smart key, you may need your car towed to a Mesa repair shop to be reprogrammed with the new key.

Bad Wafers

Wafers are the unique set of cuts inside every ignition switch that cause it to recognize the key specific to that vehicle. Oftentimes these can get jammed up with dirt and grime from everyday wear and tear and simply need a good cleaning. If they are just worn down and no longer responding to the key insertion, a good Mesa auto locksmith or key service can either fix the individually worn down wafers, or simply replace the entire switch.

Bad Key

Over time, keys simply become worn down and beaten up by daily use. The unique grooves on each key become worn in and run together, and no longer cause the ignition to respond. To double check that it is the key and not a bad ignition switch, simply give your spare key a try. If there are no issues, then it is likely you just need a quick key replacement. Thankfully, if you have misplaced your spare key and are left stranded, a reputable locksmith such as US Key Service can replace lost Mesa car keys quickly and affordably, or will create a new key for you using a key code from the owner’s manual for the vehicle. If this is not a possibility (lost owner’s manual, no spare key), then you will unfortunately need to replace the entire ignition switch and get a new set of car keys.

Manufacturer Defect

Sometimes a defective ignition switch causes the whole issue. If the vehicle is still under warranty, most car manufacturers will do a free replacement since they are at fault. If your vehicle is no longer covered by its warranty, then you will need to find an experienced locksmith such as US Key Service to replace the system, and you will have to cover the cost out of pocket. This is something to keep in mind when purchasing a vehicle – do your research to make sure ignition switch fails are not a common issue with the specific brand you are considering.

Key Insertion Fails to Make Ignition Switch Turn

Sometimes the ignition switch will not turn once the key is inserted. The first thing you can try is to jiggle the steering wheel to make sure it is not locked into place by the steering linkage. If this does not work, you will need to call a Mesa mobile auto locksmith to take a look and repair the issue.

In some cases, the ignition switch does turn but it is tough to do so. This may simply mean it needs some lubricant to get it going smoothly again. However, do not use a penetrating oil to grease up the inside or you will cause a shortage with the electrical circuits inside the switch.

Transponder Does Not Communicate with PCM

If the vehicle’s security system or key malfunction light indicate a problem, this means the computer chip has likely malfunctioned or completely lost its programming. Generally, you will need to either reprogram the original key or copy it to make a new key. Either way, it will require Mesa car lockout services to remedy the issue.

Key is Stuck Inside Ignition After Turning Engine Off

In some instances, after turning the car off, your key may be stuck inside the ignition switch. If this occurs, make certain your car’s transmission is actually in park. Sometimes it is easy to forget this little step, especially if we had a long day or are just lost in thought. If you are in park, then try jiggling the steering wheel back and forth until it clicks into a locked position. If they key still does not come out after the “click”, it is likely you have a damaged locking mechanism and will need an automotive repair shop to check it out. US Key Service is a reputable Mesa emergency car locksmith, willing to provide quick, mobile services for your ignition switch issues.

Because there are many small ignition switch issues that can arise from multiple daily uses, it is important to have a good locksmith in mind to call when something happens. Inevitably, at some point in its lifespan, either the keys, ignition switch, or door locks to a vehicle will fail, and you will need a Mesa car door lock repair to replace worn out car locks. Keep US Key Service in mind as the #1 auto locksmith in the Phoenix and Mesa area. We offer mobile services, emergency services, and affordable pricing, and will gladly help diagnose and repair any of your ignition or car key fails.

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US Key Service

US Key Service

4065 E University Dr #500
Mesa, AZ 85205

Phone: 480-983-6149


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