You jump into your car after a quick stop to break up your drive from Melbourne to Sydney and your ignition lock won’t engage, and there is no Locksmith in sight. In the middle of nowhere, you have a great view of the surrounding hills at sunset but the panic sets it when you realise you are stranded if you can’t get the car started.

This is a common scenario whether you are in the middle of the bush or stranded miles from home on a rainy night these ignition lock problems always seem to happen at the most annoying time.

Why do ignition switches have issues? Here are some of the most common reasons:

1. Inbuilt defect from the manufacturer

It could be that the ignition switch is faulty. Hopefully the vehicle is still under warranty when the problem is discovered – this is one of the most common reasons that ignition switches stop working.

2. Inbuilt anti-theft functionality

If the key or pins are worn out and the pins don’t line up then the switch won’t turn to start the car. Also if the smart or fob key is defective or damaged and the computer cannot receive the correct code the car will not start.

3. Interlocking ignition switch

The ignition switch has a dual purpose, it starts the car as we know but it also locks the steering wheel when the car is turned off – an additional anti-theft function. If there is a problem with the column lock then the engine may not turn over.

Diagnosing the Ignition Switch Problem

You need a qualified Automotive Locksmith to properly diagnose and fix any issues that you are having with your ignition switch here are some examples to give you an idea:

1. The key won’t turn in the ignition

It may be that the steering lock has engaged because of the way that your wheels are turned towards the kerb.  You can try to move the steering wheel at the same time that you turn the key to fix the issue.

This could also be the sign of a worn key, if the spare key doesn’t work then you need to get an automotive locksmith to repair it.

2. The ignition turns and the engine turns over but doesn’t start

This could be due to a number of possibilities:

  • It may not recognise the key because of a fault or damage
  • Is there plenty of fuel and is the fuel pump working – it makes a buzzing noise when you first turn the ignition on
  • If the engine turns over slowly then the voltage could be low

3. Engine dies suddenly whilst driving

This could be a worn ignition switch with the contacts inside losing voltage briefly causing the engine to stall.

4. You can’t get the key out of the ignition

If the key is stuck try moving the steering wheel until it is in the locked position. If you still can’t remove the key you may have a damaged locking mechanism.

When to call in a professional Locksmith

If you are having a problem with your ignition switch don’t try to fix it yourself it may just end up costing you a lot more in the long run. Locksmiths with automotive qualifications can fix and even change your ignition switch so at the first sign of trouble get it checked out so you don’t end up stranded.

If you want to know more about ignition switches and how we can help you contact us at Five Star Locksmiths.


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