Car ignition repair

While it’s important to be able to get into your vehicle, it won’t do you much good if your ignition simply won’t turn. There are many things that can go wrong with your ignition cylinder and its lock mechanism, as well as problems that may come from your car’s immobilizer or your transponder key. Narrowing down the source of the malfunction can be tricky, which is why an automotive locksmith is so essential if this ever happens to you.

Ignition cylinder repair and car key replacement are core services provided by most automotive locksmiths near you. No matter whether the problem can be traced to the ignition cylinder itself or to your key, an automotive locksmith can provide quick and dependable solutions that get you back on road, safe and sound.

Why car ignitions stop working

There are several reasons why a car’s ignition might stop working. Some of the most common reasons why a car’s ignition cylinder can fail include:

  • Car keys are worn out or damaged
  • Ignition cylinder lock pins and/or tumblers are broken or worn out
  • Failed electrical components, e.g. starter relay, ignition switch
  • Debris or foreign objects are obstructing the lock mechanism
  • Ignition cylinder is worn out or damaged

There are a few telltale signs that your ignition cylinder may be failing or has failed. These include the engine not being able to start (or difficulty in trying to start the vehicle), key not coming out of the ignition cylinder properly, the steering wheel is locked in position, or if you’re hearing strange noises or vibration when inserting the key and turning it in the ignition cylinder.

Another common reason for ignition cylinder damage is if your car has been the target of burglary or theft.

Ignition repair

Table of contents:

How auto locksmiths repair car ignition cylinders

The process of repairing an ignition cylinder can vary quite a bit, depending on the nature of the problem you’ve encountered. How can you tell what the source of the problem is? A qualified and experienced automotive locksmith will diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of action to resolve the problem most efficiently for the customer.

Think about it: an ignition cylinder is repeatedly turned perhaps thousands of times over the lifetime of your vehicle, so it’s definitely going to experience wear and tear. Many locksmiths also note that customers that use heavy, oversized keychains are also putting a lot of unwanted friction on the key within the ignition, exacerbating the wear and tear on the ignition cylinder.

Sometimes, the problem may be obvious, such as a key that’s snapped inside of the ignition cylinder. In these cases, broken key extraction and key duplication may be all that are needed for you to get on your way.

Other times, the entire ignition cylinder will need to be disassembled and dismounted from the steering column. After a thorough diagnosis by a skilled locksmith, the problem may be found to be a faulty component, worn out tumblers within the cylinder lock mechanism, or electrical problems.

If the steering column needs to be taken apart to dismantle the ignition cylinder, the locksmith will list out all of the steps required to resolve the problem, replace any faulty parts or components, then reassemble the ignition cylinder.

Once this is done, a responsible locksmith will always work with you to test out the ignition to ensure that it works properly and safely.

How automotive locksmiths replace car ignition keys

Quite often, the problem that vehicle owners face with regards to the ignition has nothing to do with the ignition cylinder itself, but rather the key. Just like the ignition cylinder and its locking mechanism, car keys wear out over time and can be prone to breaking or snapping.

If this is determined to be the case after a thorough diagnosis has been performed, your locksmith may recommend that you replace your car key with a new one. Fortunately, car key cutting and key fob programming are routine and everyday tasks for a qualified car locksmith, and the cost of duplicating a car key or programming a transponder key can be substantially lower than if your entire ignition cylinder needs to be disassembled from the steering column.

Why you should use an auto locksmith for car ignition cylinder repair

If your car’s ignition has stopped working, you may be inclined to call your nearest dealership and have them take a look at the problem. This can be an effective way to solve the problem, but you should probably consider the logistics involved. Presumably, your car won’t start, so how the heck do you intend on getting it to the dealership in the first place? Towing it there and paying the high markups charged by dealerships can turn what would have been an affordable job for a locksmith into an exorbitantly expensive affair.

Ignition cylinder problems can vary widely in complexity, with some being quick fixes and others being more complexed, as mentioned in the previous sections. In order to resolve the problem quickly and efficiently, it is therefore highly recommended that you contact a car locksmith near you to diagnose the problem and to offer practical solutions.

Moreover, auto locksmiths such as those found on Auto Locksmiths come directly to your location to solve the problem, and they won’t leave until the problem is solved and you’re ready to get back on the road again.

Cost of car ignition cylinder repair & key replacement

Given that the types of problems you may have with your car’s ignition cylinder can vary so much in terms of complexity, the average cost of repairing or replacing your ignition cylinder can likewise vary by quite a bit.

If the problem is just the keys and they need to be replaced, or if you need to have your ignition cylinder rekeyed, the job can cost anywhere from around $105 to $250. The cost can vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle, with luxury foreign cars costing gneerally more to repair.

If the ignition cylinder needs to be completely disassembled and repaired, expect to pay around $250 or more to have the problem resolved. If the ignition cylinder needs to be completely replaced, the cost can go up from around $250 to $500. This includes sourcing the correct ignition cylinder, disassembly of the original, and installation. Rekeying and key cutting will add onto this cost.

Frequently asked questions about car ignition cylinder repairs

How do I know if my ignition cylinder needs repair?

Signs that your ignition cylinder may need to be repaired or replaced include: the key is turning with difficulty, it’s difficult to remove the key from the ignition cylinder, you hear strange noises or vibrations when turning the ignition on, or if the steering column is completely locked.

Can I fix my ignition cylinder myself?

While it is possible to repair or replace an ignition cylinder by yourself, it is strongly recommended that you leave this task to a qualified automotive locksmith. DIY ignition cylinder repairs can be dangerous and can cause damage to your vehicle.

How long does it take to repair or replace a car ignition cylinder and key?

It depends. It may only take a few minutes to an hour to remove a broken or snapped key from the ignition cylinder, but more complex problems that require disassembling the ignition cylinder from the steering column may take anywhere from an hour to two hours to resolve. Complete replacement of the ignition cylinder can take a day or longer if the replacement must be sourced and delivered to the customer.

What types of car keys can be replaced by an auto locksmith?

A qualified and experienced automotive locksmith should be competent and able to replace car keys for almost all vehicle makes and models, including traditional physical keys, transponder keys and key fobs. Most car locksmiths will also provide key programming services to ensure that your transponder keys are compatible with your vehicle’s immobilizer.

Can I use my old car key after having the ignition cylinder repaired?

If your ignition cylinder was repaired and your key is in reasonably good condition, it can still be used. If the vehicle’s immobilizer was reprogrammed, however, a new transponder key will be required that is compatible with the newly reprogrammed immobilizer and the ignition cylinder. If the ignition cylinder was completely replaced, you will need to have new keys cut and programmed.

How much does it cost to repair or replace a car ignition cylinder and key?

The average cost to repair an ignition cylinder or to rekey an ignition can vary from around $105 to $250. The average cost to completely replace an ignition cylinder can range from around $250 to $500 or more. It is generally better to repair your ignition cylinder by a qualified automotive locksmith than it is to replace it outright, unless absolutely necessary.


Auto locksmith near you

Keep on rollin’ with Auto Locksmiths

If you’re keen on keepin’ your eyes upon the road and your hands upon the wheel, you’ll be glad to have the dependable and affordable services of a qualified car locksmith near you when you need them most.

Auto Locksmiths is the ideal platform for finding local, genuine automotive locksmiths across the United States. Our network of vetted and approved car locksmiths covers towns and communities from coast to coast, so whether you need your ignition cylinder repaired or if you’ve locked your self out of your car, call one of our member partners today.