How does an ignition switch work?


Quick Answer

An ignition switch works by turning the car's ignition system on and off. It is operated by an ignition key that flips it on and off. This switch is located on the car's steering column or dashboard.

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How does an ignition switch work?
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Full Answer

The ignition switch features four positions; Accessories, Off, On and Ignition. These positions determine the car's electrical system under use.

Accessories is the first position of the ignition switch, and it turns on the car's radio when the ignition key is turned toward it. It also controls the power window adjustment. In this position, the car's engine remains calm.

Off is the second position of the switch. When the ignition key is turned toward this position, the car's ignition system is restored to its default setting, and depending on the type of electrical system, parts such as the head lights, power locks and interior lights may or may not work when the switch is in this position.

On and Ignition are third and fourth positions respectively. While the former starts all the car's electrical systems, the latter turns on the engine. The Ignition position is loaded with a spring that returns the switch to an On position after starting the engine to cushion the ignition switch from burning out.

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