Despite its simple design, the ignition key cylinder is a very important element that requires proper attention from the driver. A car can only be started if this component is in good working condition.
In the unfortunate situation when this part was to fail, the key will not turn because the cylinders inside don’t shift into position or the cylinder will turn along with the key because the tumblers inside are stripped.
How much does the ignition lock cylinder replacement cost?
There are several factors that will affect the replacement costs for an ignition lock cylinder, including the geographical location, the dealership/mechanic you chose, and the vehicle you are driving. When talking only about the part, you should expect to pay around $45 for a basic aftermarket ignition lock cylinder, while for a “smart” lock cylinder, which is designed for an anti-theft system, you will have to get around $470 out of your pocket.
And, when we talk about labor, the job can be done by a trained mechanic in one to two hours. This means that the labor costs would be anywhere between $75 and $220, depending on your location. In total, plan on spending anywhere between $290 and $550 for both the professional labor and parts. In some situations, a locksmith can help you solve this problem for less than $170.
However, in some cases, though rare, there are situations where the anti-theft devices or airbags have to be removed, so the mechanic can install a new ignition lock cylinder. Usually, this process can be met with higher-end vehicles like Porsche and BMW.
In this situation, the labor costs could rise considerably, usually to more than $760. But again, if you don’t have a luxury car, then you probably won’t see this estimate. In some circumstances, if the car has an anti-theft device, specific tools may be necessary to be used or otherwise, the vehicle may be considered out of service.
In the table below you will find the average costs of replacing an ignition lock cylinder for different car models.
|Make/Model||Cost including labor|
How does the ignition lock cylinder work?
When you insert the right key into the ignition lock cylinder, the lock sensor, which is located inside of it, will permit rotation of the small actuators, actually starting the vehicle. In the majority of vehicles, as long as the vehicle is in the neutral or park position, the ignition switch will be locked in order to avoid the car from starting in a baneful way.
Ignition lock cylinder replacement overview
In order to confirm that the ignition lock cylinder is really the problem, at first the mechanic will want to use the key to see how it works with the ignition lock cylinder. The mechanic will know which parts have to be replaced after he inserts and removes the key several times.
The repair can be done quickly and easily or be pretty complicated, depending on the way in which the switch is damaged. If, for example, the whole lock cylinder and ignition switch are one part, then the entire repair process may be difficult. Though, if the cylinder works, then it will not be that hard to remove the switch itself.
In order to get access to the ignition lock cylinder, the mechanic will disconnect the battery and remove the steering column bolts.
Then, he will remove the steering column cover and the ignition lock cylinder cover, which can be made of plastic or metal, and in the end will remove the entire part. The whole removal process will depend on each manufacturer.
The next step is to remove the cylinder from the housing by inserting the key and unlocking the steering wheel, which will let the mechanic free it from the car.
As the ignition lock assembly is removed, it will be unscrewed and the new part installed. But again, it depends on the manufacturer.
Finally, when the new lock cylinder is installed, this will be installed back onto the car in reverse order. The mechanic will connect the battery back, verify whether there are any error codes, and start the vehicle to make sure the problem is solved.
Symptoms of a faulty ignition lock cylinder
In case the ignition lock cylinder fails, you will have to shake the key or wiggle it excessively before starting the car.
In some situations, you can remove the key, even when the vehicle is in the start position, or, in some situations, even without the key, the ignition can run. According to the Repair Pal website, in this situation, the ignition lock cylinder can be repaired much easier because the mechanic will not have to remove the entire steering column in order to remove thee cylinder.
Also, a damaged ignition lock cylinder can keep your key, but not let you remove it from the cylinder or you may not be able to fully insert the key.
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