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Ignition Switch Replacement

What is an ignition switch?

An automotive ignition switch operates the starter system for an engine and also controls the power source for the majority of electronic devices in a vehicles. Most ignition switches function with the turning of a key while more modern cars have updates to push button style ignitions. The design of the switch allows for different modes to be selected such as accessories where only lights and entertainment will be powered, run where all components are powered, and start where power is primarily directed to the starting of the car. Security components may be installed into the ignition switch that will not allow the car to start without the proper key, or in the case of push button ignition, the transmission of the proper signal.

What are the symptoms of a faulty ignition switch?

Typically, you'll know if you have a faulty ignition switch if you find it difficult, or are completely unable to turn the key, or turn it and nothing happens. The ignition switch and lock cylinder are two of the most used items, and add the human element of jamming, yanking, jiggling and rough turning will only make it worse.

How severe is a faulty ignition switch?

Significant. Unfortunately, this repair gets pushed off and ignored by most drivers. They find a way to jiggle the key to turn and start the car, so the repair gets pushed down the road. Best to get the repair done without paying for a tow, so find a good mechanic, one who specializes in keys and ignition systems and schedule an appointment. Most repairs can be completed within the day unless parts need to be special ordered, however, it is a good idea to drop off the car.

What is the typical cost to replace a faulty ignition switch?

  • Estimated part(s) cost = $60 - $100
  • Estimated labor cost= $75 - $150
  • Estimated total cost = $135 - $250

Much of the cost will be dictated by make and model of the car, yet the condition of the key/lock cylinder will have a part as well. Many ignition switches price out around $60 to $100 depending upon their complexity. Some ignition switches are part of an assembly with the lock cylinder and some form of security device, and the price will rise accordingly, somewhere in the $200 to $400 range. For the most part, an ignition switch or assembly can be a straight-forward repair where labor costs are around $75 to $150. If the key will not turn, despite best intentions, then labor prices will rise because removal usually requires the turning of the cylinder. If security systems are attached to the ignition switch/assembly, then further programming is needed to recode the keys, which will add another $100 to the bill.

Keep in mind, pricing will vary by location and your vehicle make and model. If you're not already, by using Openbay to compare pricing and book an appointment with a qualified repair shop in your area.

Service article written by an ASE Master Technician