How to Install an Ignition Switch

How to Install an Ignition Switch

What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial

Before taking out an ignition lock cylinder withou

Before taking out an ignition lock cylinder without a key or drill it on your own, we would like to suggest you hire a car locksmith or technician for the removal of this component. DIY steps should only be taken if no professional is available.


Here are separate tutorials that you can follow and apply to your car from Ford or Chevy, when you lost the key and have to remove the ignition lock cylinder:

  • Remove Ignition Lock Cylinder Without Key (general instructions)
  • Remove Ignition Lock Cylinder Without Key Ford
  • Remove Ignition Lock Cylinder Without Key Chevy



How do you remove an ignition lock cylinder when the key won’t turn?

To remove the ignition lock, the key has to turn the cylinder into ACC (accessory) position. Without the key, this can be a bit of a challenge. If your lock is very worn, you may be able to turn it with the key from the replacement ignition lock, a random key, or even force it with a screwdriver.

If none of the tools works, you’ll have to use a power drill and destroy the tumblers and move the cylinder. Once you’ve done that, simply depress the lock catch and the cylinder can be removed easily.

How do you drill out an ignition cylinder?

You need a metal-drilling bit for steel, a power drill, and stable hands. You want to start with a bit of smaller diameter that can easily wedge into the key hole. Put the drill at the same angle as the key used to go in, and start drilling.

After the first round, try to turn the lock with a screwdriver. If it’s still stuck, switch to a bit of larger diameter and repeat the process. I would not recommend moving the drill around if you’re inexperienced with drilling metal – putting too much force on the bit can snap it in half.

How do you rekey a lock without the original key?

Removing the lock without the key usually involves destroying the cylinders, which means you’ll have to get a new set of ignition keys that will not match your door locks. However, if you manage to take out the ignition lock on your own, or at the very least remove the entire ignition assembly and take it to a locksmith. They’ll be able to make a new key based on your lock.

How do you break an ignition with a screwdriver?

People like using a demolition screwdriver and a hammer to punch through the lock and forcefully break it. I’m not a fan of this method as the force of impact can disconnect random wire connectors or bend the ignition assembly screws.

Try to pry the lock, by wedging and pushing the screwdriver in. If you can’t get in there, then drilling through is better than hammering the screwdriver in.

Part 3 of 3: Replacing your ignition switch

Your ignition switch is typically located right behind the key cylinder (where you insert your key). This may be in the steering column or in the dash. You will need to remove any covers or dash panels to access the switch.

Materials Needed

Step 1: Park your vehicle and turn the ignition off.

Step 2: Install the memory saver per the manufacturer’s instructions. Using a memory saver will keep your vehicle computer from losing its memory, which prevents future drivability issues.

Step 3: Loosen the negative battery cable clamping

Step 3: Loosen the negative battery cable clamping bolt. Remove the cable from the battery and secure it away from the battery to prevent accidental contact.

Step 4: Remove the securing screws from the bottom

Step 4: Remove the securing screws from the bottom steering column cover. There are typically three to four screws securing the lower column cover in place.

If your car has a dash-mounted ignition switch, then you will remove the dash panel around the key lock cylinder to access the switch.

Step 5: Remove the lower steering column cover by

Step 5: Remove the lower steering column cover by separating it from the upper cover. The two covers are usually clipped together where they meet.

Gently pull them apart to avoid breaking them. You may also need to tilt the steering column up or down to gain better access.

Step 6: Remove the upper steering column cover.

Step 7: Locate the ignition switch behind the igni

Step 7: Locate the ignition switch behind the ignition key cylinder.

  Warning: If the vehicle is equipped with airbags

  • Warning: If the vehicle is equipped with airbags, your airbag wiring will also be located under the cover. The airbag wiring is identified by its yellow covering. You must use caution when working around airbag wiring so that you do not cause any accidental airbag deployment.

Step 8: If necessary, remove the key lock cylinder. Every manufacturer will have different instructions for removing the key cylinder.

Some of them will be bolted in place. Others can be removed by inserting the key and turning it to the run position, then pulling the cylinder out. Make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s repair manual instructions on how this is to be done.

Step 9: Disconnect the electrical connector from the ignition switch.

Step 10: Remove the ignition switch. Some ignition switches are bolted in place, and some use locking tabs that must be pressed to release the switch.

Step 11: Install the new switch. Make sure that it is mounted securely, and that its electrical connector is snapped into place.

  • Tip: Some ignition switches must be aligned before installing them. Check your manufacturer’s repair manual to see if the switch has any special alignment instructions.

Step 12: Install the key cylinder.

Step 13: Install the upper steering column cover. If the dash panel was removed, install it now.

Step 14: Install the lower column cover. Snap it into place with the upper cover.

Step 15: Install the lower cover mounting screws. Tighten them until they are snug.

Step 16: Install the negative battery cable. Tighten the clamping bolt until it is snug.

Step 17: Remove the memory saver.

Your ignition switch is the primary part of your electrical system and will fail over time. Every vehicle will have a different process of testing the switch depending on the way that the electrical system is designed. Proper testing should always be done prior to replacing the ignition switch. If you have further issues, or if you are not comfortable replacing the switch yourself, a certified mechanic from YourMechanic can replace your ignition switch for you.


  • Not all steering assemblies are the same. Check your owner’s manual to find the parts mentioned and how to disassemble them on your particular vehicle.

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Now that you have knowledge on how to remove an ignition lock cylinder without a key, we bet you can handle any issues with the ignition lock cylinder system of your car, especially if it is a Ford or Chevy.

What do you think about the information provided in this article? If you find it helpful, leave a comment below to let us know. Plus, do not forget to share this with friends and family on social media as well!

Thank you for reading.

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