A Guide to Your Ignition


There are times when automotive problems result from tiny parts that go unnoticed. The time and money spent troubleshooting often exceeds the amount needed to do the actual repair. The ignition in a vehicle has several parts that can cause big problems if not remedied. Usually the car will not start at all if a part of the ignition has gone bad. Fortunately, these parts can be easily replaced. It is important to understand how your ignition works and the warning signs of complications.

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The Ignition Switch
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The ignitions switch is attached to the cylinder.  The lights on your car may start to dim when this switch is going out. If you notice that your headlights are not as bright as usual, it may be time to replace the ignition switch. The dashboard lights will also dim or go out completely.

Since this is the beginning of the electrical part of starting your car, it is important to replace immediately. There should be some subtle warning signs so you can avoid a complete failure. If you find that you need to start your car more than once before it turns over, this could also be due to a bad ignition switch. This part is a simple and inexpensive fix,

Take notice of switch that feels hot to the touch when you start the car, as well. Like many electrical items, overheating is a common sign of problems. Take the time to rule out the ignition switch before having extensive electrical work done by a mechanic.

The Key Cylinder

The key cylinder is what makes the connection between you and a running vehicle. This part is usually a heavy piece with a keyhole at one end. Keys will come with this part, as your old ones are specific to the lock they came with. This part is usually replaced for good measure when the ignition switch and actuator pin are replaced. It is good to get an entirely fresh ignition system in place when something wears out in this area.

The key cylinder can also be easily disfigured if a car is broken into and a start is attempted. Thieves will often use basic tools to turn the ignition, tearing up the ignition system in the process. A locksmith is often called to do this repair when individuals become stranded. There is usually no need to send the car to the shop for an entire day.

The Actuator Pin

This tiny pin is actually a delicate plastic piece that extends from the cylinder when placed correctly. When the key is turned in the cylinder, this part turns as well. This part can break into while the ignition is in place, or easily snap while taking apart the cylinder. It is an inexpensive part that should be kept on hand whenever ignition work is being done. An extra pin can save time if it breaks during another repair or is found to be the main culprit after investigation. If the actuator pin is completely broken, the car will not start with the key.

The ignition is the first part of the car that drivers interact with on a daily basis. There are subtle warning signs that give an indication of possible failure.  The ignition of a non-starting car should be checked before extensive mechanic work gets underway. The ignition is a simple fix and can often be done at home or by a locksmith. Take the time to investigate further if you notice starting inconsistencies, an overheating switch, or variation in the brightness of lights. The ignition can seem complicated, but is actually very simple.

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A Guide to Your Ignition

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