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What to Do When You Experience Ignition Cylinder Problems

Ignition cylinder issues can come in many variations. In some cases, you may suddenly find yourself stranded in a car that won’t start, in others the damage may be more gradual and inconsistent. Either way, a locksmith may be the best resort for your troubles.

Before we get to that, though, let’s focus our attention on the ignitions themselves – how these work, and the issues you may encounter along the way.

Your car’s ignition switch does more than enabling you to turn the vehicle on and off. It’s also a crucial security mechanism designed to prevent car theft. In the old days, thieves could easily pry their way into cars by dismantling the cylinder and hotwiring the vehicle. Modern cars have more sophisticated systems, which won’t start unless the ignition receives the right code from the key fob and the inserted key lines up with the cylinder’s pins. This is why worn out keys and/or internal components can lead to some of the signs and symptoms we will focus on right now.

Think you have an issue? Here are some symptoms to look out for:

1.) Powering on the vehicle becomes more difficult 

Usually the result of wear and tear, this is one of the most common signs of a malfunctioning ignition switch. Worn out components mean that the key and ignition only respond to certain positions, gradually worsening until the components are no longer responsive. Stay vigilant, and if symptoms persist we recommend you get in touch with a qualified professional before any of the worst-case scenarios come to play. An automotive locksmith will be able to advise you whether or not you need to replace (or even reprogram) your keys or your ignition cylinder.

2.) Everything starts okay, but then the engine fails while driving

A very common symptom of a worn out ignition switch. Over time, the electrical contacts inside your ignition may become corroded, leading to losses in voltage which will cause your car to unexpectedly come to a halt. In some cases, it may even cause the engine to misfire or stumble.

- One thing to note: heavy keyrings may put more stress on your ignition that you bargained for, ultimately speeding up the wear and tear of its inner components. If possible, avoid carrying your car keys alongside extra fobs, pendants, or bulky keyrings.   

3.) The car will not start at all 

This can be the sign of different problems, like a flat battery or a faulty sensor, but is quite common with ignition troubles too. In this case, it’s highly recommended to ask a locksmith to inspect the damage for you before making a full diagnosis. When the problem is the cylinder, though, you’ll likely need a replacement as this often emerges as the result of internal damage.

- If your ignition cylinder turns, the engine cranks but your car won’t start, the likely culprit will be a malfunctioning anti-theft device. Check if the anti-theft lights are flashing – if yes, your key is not being recognized by the vehicle and you may need to get it reprogrammed. Otherwise, the fault may not necessarily be in the ignition cylinder (it could as easily be a fuel issue as a glitch in the control model of your cylinder switch).

4.) Difficulties inserting and removing the key  

This is where key extractions tend to come into play. Worn cylinders can bind the key in an awkward position, making it difficult to remove it once inserted. Interference in the powering of your vehicle will ensue, eventually leading to the key no longer being able to fit the cylinder at all. Once that happens, your car will no longer be able to be powered on with the key in your possession.

- Key stuck after turning off the engine? Try steering the wheel back into lock position. If that doesn’t help, you’ll need to call a locksmith. 

How an auto locksmith will help 

Because of the way ignition cylinders are designed, it is safer and easier to get a repair or replacement from a credible professional.

Automotive locksmith services are often created with the intention of making repairs and replacements convenient and accessible. Without a locksmith, you’d need to get your car towed away into an expensive garage or you may even need to request specialist parts from a local car dealer. A credible auto lock and key services provider will be able to work on all kinds of vehicles and will have equipment and tools on site so they can easily deal with some of the most common troubles car owners will be faced with.

To find a good professional to hire, make sure to ask around. Referrals and word of mouth are still the best way of identifying a good business. Also check every locksmith business online, make sure they are local, and request a consultation and full price quote from them (most businesses don’t charge for these types of queries). Also, make sure to ask if they actually work with automotive matters as some locksmiths may only provide a small portion of services – like residential help or commercial assistance.

If you happen to live in Riverside, CA, our licensed and insured professionals are able to sort your ignition cylinder troubles out for you. Automotive lock and key matters are among the various specialist areas that Riverside Locksmith focuses on. In urgent cases, we can dispatch one of our locally-based professionals in your general direction 24/7. Just remember to tell us your issues so we can come with the right tools on-hand to apply the best fixes. In most cases, all you’ll need is a key extraction, but if your ignition cylinder is damaged beyond repair we’ll be able to replace it quickly. Get in touch to consult with us, find out about our automotive solutions, and feel free to request a price quote too.

Now you know what to look out for, you’ll be able to get the help that you need, as soon as you need it.