Symptoms of Car Ignition Issues
Your car’s ignition is as much a security mechanism as it is a way of powering on the vehicle. Gone are the days when thieves could easily hotwire cars by dismantling the ignition cylinder: newer makes and models have special code systems that make it near impossible to start a vehicle without the right code from the key fob as well as the right alignment between a key and the cylinder’s pins.
As you’re about to see, ignition issues tend to come in different variations, and may be a bit tricky to diagnose. Here are some common signs to look out for before contacting an automotive locksmith.
1. You experience issues when trying to start the car.
This tends to be the most common sign of ignition cylinder damage. It’s usually the result of gradual wear and tear of the ignition’s inner components – an inevitable reality for all car owners that needs to be addressed immediately. Worn out components will prevent the key from responding to certain positions, eventually making it impossible to power on the vehicle altogether. That being said, this issue could also be the result of a key that needs reprogramming. It’s always best to talk to an automotive locksmith in your area and get them to inspect the damage and clarify the source of your troubles. Remember: The sooner you get things sorted out, the less likely you will get locked out of your vehicle.
2. Your car won’t start at all
This is one of those symptoms that can indicate different types of damage. In this case, you could just as easily be dealing with a flat battery or a faulty sensor as you could be facing an ignition cylinder problem. When the problem lies with the cylinder, it will need to be replaced. Tell your locksmith your suspicions so they can come and inspect things for you: if it is an ignition cylinder fault, they’ll be able to deal with it promptly.
3. Ignition cylinder turns, the engine cranks but the car won’t start
Again, this may be an ignition problem, but it’s more common for other issues. A malfunctioning theft protection mechanism will be the most likely culprit in this scenario. Check your anti-theft devices: if you see a light flashing, you’ll need to get the key reprogrammed as it is no longer being recognized by your vehicle. A glitch in the cylinder switch can cause this problem too, or you could be facing a fuel system problem. Definitely ask a locksmith for help in this case, as the diagnosis will likely be difficult to make without technical knowledge and training.
4. The car starts but the engine fails while you’re driving
This is another issue that may arise because of a worn out ignition switch. Over time, the electrical contacts inside your ignition cylinder are likely to become corroded, making it easier for the car to lose its voltage and unexpectedly come to halt. There are some cases when the low contact may cause the engine to misfire or stumble.
Wear and tear is unavoidable, but there are ways to slow down the process. One thing to remember is that the more stress your ignition cylinder is under, the quicker it will wear out – for that reason, avoid carrying your car keys on a bulky keyring with multiple fobs and pendants.
5. Inserting and removing the key becomes more difficult
Worn cylinders can bind the key into awkward positions, making it difficult to both insert and remove them. Over time, this will cause electrical interference that will render it impossible to power on the vehicle. Not only that, but a worn out cylinder will also mean that your key will no longer fit inside. If your key is stuck after you’ve powered off the engine, try moving the steering wheel from side to side: you won’t be able to remove your key if your wheel is still in lock position.
Sometimes, the only way to get a key out of a worn out cylinder is through an extraction – locksmiths are trained to do this in a way that doesn’t break the components inside. On that note, if your key is jammed, avoid trying to pull it out briskly: that will just cause it to break inside the cylinder, and you’ll be left with more damage than you bargained for.
Finding the right auto locksmith for your ignition cylinder troubles
Need an ignition cylinder replacement? Is your key completely stuck in the ignition? These are just some of the different situations a qualified locksmith in your area will be able to help you out. While some locksmiths may choose to focus on a specialist area, many professionals out there offer a fully-inclusive set of automotive, residential and commercial lock and key solutions. They will save you the hassle of getting new keys and security components from your local dealership, and will keep things timely and cost efficient so that you don’t need to resort to taking your vehicle into an expensive garage.
Maple Grove Master Locksmith will be able to help all car owners in Maple Grove, MN with their ignition cylinder issues and other aspects of their automotive security. Likewise, your local lock and key services provider should be able to do the same for you. Our licensed and insured team members offer free consultations and price quotes for additional peace of mind – as do many businesses in our industry.
If you’ve never had to hire an automotive locksmith professional before, here are a few quick tips to simply the research:
- Always go for a locally-based business. Companies from elsewhere will sometimes charge extra for mileage.
- Find a locksmith before you actually need one. Ask for referrals, do a bit of background checking and get a price quote from a couple of licensed and insured professionals to get the best value for money.
- Make sure to ask about rates for after-hours services as these often incur additional costs.
- If the company you are considering hiring doesn’t have a physically verifiable address, and refuses to provide you with information about license, insurance and local client references, they are not to be trusted.
- To be on the safe side, check if any complaints have been filed against the business through the Better Business Bureau and see if you can find any online reviews too.
We hope this blog post has demystified some of the issues you may encounter with your car’s ignition cylinder. If in doubt, make sure to discuss some options with a locksmith in your area.