What Are the Steps to Replace an Ignition Switch?

steps-replace-ignition-switch Credit: Steve Jurvetson/CC-BY 2.0

An ignition switch is replaced by disconnecting the car battery, removing the steering wheel, taking off the turn signal and wiper, removing the ignition switch and key cylinder and installing the new ignition. The tools needed to replace an ignition switch include small screw driver, wrench and new ignition assembly.

First, disconnect the negative battery cable from the terminal, and unclasp and remove the upper and lower steering columns. Next, life off the steering center cover, and disconnect the horn wire. Remove the retaining nut and washer. Mark the steering wheel and wheel spline to help with lining later. Pull the steering wheel straight back to remove it from the shaft.

Remove the turn signal and windshield wiper switches, and disconnect the wires. Slip the spacer sleeve off the steering column. Unscrew and pull out the ignition switch mounting screws. Disconnect the wiring connector located at the back of the ignition switch by loosening it and pulling the tabs.

Insert the car key into the ignition, and turn to the lock position. Free the cylinder by turning the key to the off position while depressing the retaining pin. Turn the key back to the lock position once the cylinder is free and the key cylinder is removed.

Finally, attach the key cylinder to the new ignition assembly, ensuring all the parts line up. Reattach the ignition switch wiring and push the component into place. Tighten the mounting screws to hold it in position, and reassemble the steering wheel and switches.