Starting the car can be as simple as waking up in the morning–just insert the key in the ignition switch, turn it, and your car should start running.
The process is easy, but that initial act of turning the key is followed by a series of complicated steps that should ultimately cause your car to power up. A miss in one of the steps means the car won’t start, and this can usually be traced to the ignition.
Problems with the ignition don’t go away even if you’re able to eventually start your four-wheeled friend. On the road, you could encounter electrical issues and unexpected shutdowns.
What Is an Ignition Switch?
Ignition switch is also known as the starter switch or start switch in your car. It controls the supply of power to your vehicle’s electric components. This switch is also connected to your car’s battery, helping it send an electric surge to the starter engine.
Many car owners mistakenly believe that the ignition is where you insert the key to turn the engine on. Actually, the spot where the key is placed is called the ignition lock cylinder. The ignition is located just behind it.
Ignition systems are composed of complex electrical components. They can read anti-theft codes in your keys before activating your car’s electrical systems. This is also applicable to vehicles equipped with push button ignition features.
Starter Switch Positions
The standard ignition or start switch has four positions as listed below.
This is also called the first or “off” position. Car accessories like the radio, will not work, and your key could be taken from the keyhole when the switch is locked. The steering wheel, electrical circuits, and transmission gear are turned off.
This is the second position of the ignition switch where you can use accessories like the dashboard lights and the radio. The car key, however, still could not be removed from the lock cylinder.
This third starter switch position will activate your car accessories and will also power the vehicle’s engine controls and circuits, with the exception of the starter motor. The key will still remain in the keyhole and could not be removed.
in the fourth position, the car key retains the same position, but if you turn it all the way, the engine gets cranked, which turns on all of the controls.
Symptoms of a Bad Ignition Switch
Problems with your starter switch can be anything from flickering interior lights to a no-start condition. However, a common problem with the ignition is a general difficulty in turning the key while inserted in the switch. This is usually an indication that you may already have a damaged ignition system.
Causes of a Faulty Ignition
Just like the different parts of your car, the ignition system will eventually have issues due to regular use. Below are some of the common reasons you could have a damaged ignition.
1. Worn-Out Wafers
Wafers are the unique set of cuts found in every start switch that allows it to identify a given car key. These can become clogged with dirt and grime due to long-term use. They just need to be cleaned, but if this doesn’t work, you may have to refer the ignition to a skilled auto locksmith either for repair of individual wafers or replacement of the system.
2. Damaged Key
Keys become worn and damaged over time. When this happens, you could have ignition key problems as the system will no longer respond when you place the key in the lock cylinder. A quick solution is to use the spare key just to be sure that the problem is not with the ignition system. If the duplicate works, then you only need to have an extra key made.
3. Manufacturer Defect
A damaged ignition switch is not uncommon. If you encounter it, most car manufacturers will offer a free replacement if the vehicle is still covered by warranty. If not, It is important that you do your research before purchasing a car. Ensure that ignition systems are not common issues with the auto brand that you are interested in.
4. Non-Turning Ignition
Sometimes, a car key won’t turn after inserting this in the ignition and this can be due to lack of lubrication. However, it is not recommended that you use penetrating oil to grease the inside of the switch. This could lead to more serious ignition switch problems, including a short circuit of your car’s electrical systems.
5. System Malfunction
Modern-day vehicles have computerized security systems, but these are not exactly fool-proof. Vehicle computer chips can refuse to function or their programming can suffer from a glitch. Either way, this can result in a malfunctioning ignition switch that may need to be reprogrammed and a professional auto locksmith can effectively handle this.
6. Stuck Key
Sometimes, your key can get stuck in the start switch after turning the car off. In this case, try jiggling the steering wheel until it clicks and goes into lock position. This should automatically cause the key to come off the ignition. If this doesn’t happen, it means that the stuck car key has damaged the locking mechanism of the ignition. An auto locksmith will have to be sought to make the repairs.
There are many minor issues with the ignition system that can crop up over time, often due to the daily use of your car. While some can be easily resolved by simply jiggling the steering wheel or by greasing the ignition with lubricants, others will require the involvement of auto locksmiths.
It is thus important that you have a spare car key on hand in case an emergency occurs. Likewise, you should consider keeping the contact numbers of a trusted locksmith or a professional locksmith company, so concerns like a damaged ignition can be quickly addressed.
Get top-notch auto locksmith services only from Alexius Denver’s Locksmiths.
For fast and efficient repair of your car keys, ignition systems, or door locks, you only have to reach out to Alexius Denver’s Locksmiths.
Our Denver, CO, locksmith is not only adept at auto lock repairs, replacement and installation also fall within his expertise. We also provide a range of locksmith services that include residential and commercial requirements. Call us today and expect excellent service from us.