Whether you're competing on the racetrack or not, your ride starts the same way: through the ignition switch. This switch is the part that connects the starter to the battery. This enables the battery to send high-voltage electricity to the starter for cranking up the engine. And inside every ignition switch is another crucial component-the ignition lock cylinder. This part is where you insert your car's ignition key to start your engine and allow your electrical components to receive voltage even when the engine isn't running. In some vehicles, ignition switches and lock cylinders are already combined. Most of the time, however, they are not.
The typical ignition lock cylinder is crafted from either hardened steel or iron. Such durable construction helps it withstand damage caused by moisture and dirt, which always seem to find their way to the tightest nook and cranny in a vehicle. Moisture could corrode the tumblers and internal components of the lock cylinder, while dirt could accumulate inside it and cause those internal parts to jam. Combined, they can cause your ride's lock cylinder to get stuck.
Though ignition lock cylinders could be repaired by having them opened and cleaned up, it's not always the case that the cylinder is still reparable. Besides, reassembling a lock cylinder is 10 times harder than disassembling it. So when this part finally succumbs to wear and tear, be ready to replace it as soon as possible. You have to remember these when removing your old ignition lock cylinder. First, detach the negative battery cable using a wrench. Second, unfasten the screws from the steering column and take the covers off. Third, trace the wire connected to the old cylinder and remove the plastic connector attached to it. With the key inserted and turned to "start" position, insert an Allen wrench into the hole on top of the cylinder. Push the wrench and the retaining pin will release the part.
Once you've removed the old cylinder, you can now install the new car ignition lock cylinder. First, position the new cylinder on its housing; don't forget to align the locking and positioning tabs with the slots on the housing. After that, place the new cylinder in the housing assembly, insert the key, and turn it in all directions. Then, connect the cylinder connector to the harness and place the covers back onto the steering column. Of course, before you call it a day, don't forget to reconnect the negative battery cable.
Now that you know how to replace your ignition lock cylinder, all you have to worry about is getting a good replacement part. Make sure that it matches the specifications of your vehicle to avoid any installation problems. Also, make sure you get a replacement from a brand that you trust so that you don't end up on the losing end. Luckily, you'll have an easy time doing these by shopping at Parts Train.