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Common Problems With Car Ignitions

Posted by on Dec 8, 2015

Common Problems With Car Ignitions

The ignition of an automobile is something that is often overlooked in routine maintenance schedules. However, the ignition is obviously an integral aspect of running your car-without it, you aren’t going anywhere. If you are experiencing difficulties with your car ignition (the most common being that it will not turn), there could be several causes to the problem. Whatever you do, do not force-turn the key while it is in the ignition. Keys are made of soft metal, which means if you use tools to force the key to turning, the key can easily break off in the ignition-a much more complex and expensive problem than you originally started with. Thanks to our friends at Columbus Locksmith Pros, here is a list of common problems with car ignitions:

faulty ignition switchFaulty Ignition Switch: If you find the ignition system isn’t being triggered, and the engine is unable to start, the primary cause of this is likely to be related to the ignition switch. The best solution to this condition is having the ignition switch replaced entirely.

You should also ensure that your car is parked in the right way. Many vehicles will not let you start the engine if the car is not in “park” or “neutral.” Check to make sure your car is in park, then try to turn the ignition.

Dead Battery: A common reason for issues with the ignition system relates to the failure or malfunction of the main vehicle battery. It is found that the battery might experience problems as a result of the failure of the alternator that causes the ignition system to fail. By repairing the alternator and having the car battery recharged the problem is likely to be resolved with the ignition system.

Locked switch problem: Your steering column lock may be applying pressure to the ignition mechanism, prohibiting it from turning. To diagnose this issue, first, you will need to try to find a position where your key is able to turn in the ignition. Apply pressure to the key, as if you were going to start your vehicle, and gently turn the steering wheel from left to right until the key is able to turn.

dirty lock cylinderThe lock cylinder is dirty: Dirt and grime can prohibit your lock cylinder from functioning properly. Use electrical contact cleaner to remove the dirt from the mechanism. Then add a small drop of graphite lubricant. Do not use oil on the lock cylinder. Dust and dirt are attracted to oil. As the cylinders get dirtier, the tumblers will be prevented from moving, which means they will have trouble unlocking. Acceptable Lubricants include graphite and silicone. Be sure to leave your car door open when cleaning the cylinder, as the fumes from the cleaner can be hazardous.

Blockage in the tumbler: Tumblers (included on some lock cylinders) can get stuck in a locked position. Try tapping the lock cylinder with a tack hammer, which can cause the springs in the tumbler to release it from the locked position.

A bent key: While this is not the most common problem, your key can become bent, which will prevent it from fitting correctly in the ignition, and turning. Your key may not be visibly crooked, so lay it on a flat surface to see if the key is bent. If your key is bent, use a wooden block (or similar tool) to tap it gently back into the original shape (while it is laying on a flat surface). Again, do not use a metal hammer or similar object to bend your key, as keys are made of soft metal and can break easily.

worn spark plugWorn spark plugs: A further issue that is often found to cause problems with the smooth operation of the ignition is the spark plugs that might be starting to wear out. They can’t be repaired, so it is just a case of having them replaced with entirely new parts.

All in all, if you really want to ensure the smooth operation of your vehicle, you should ensure that it is given regular vehicle service. In situations where ignition problems are detected, it is highly beneficial if the necessary repairs are carried out as soon as possible. By keeping your car under constant maintenance is the only way you can avoid abrupt failure of the engine.

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