The ignition switch is one of the most important electronic components in your car. Every modern car has an ignition switch, usually found on the steering column located right behind your ignition lock cylinder. In fact, these two components work in tandem to power your vehicle and turn it on. Obviously, if you can’t turn your car on, it’s not going anywhere, so it’s important to pay attention and keep an eye out for any signs of failure in your ignition switch.
The ignition switch has multiple positions, each of which is responsible for powering various systems. It is for this reason that you can turn the key a few degrees and achieve a different result than turning it all the way. Many ignition systems will activate your electrical components with the first position, and activate the power for the fuel and ignition systems with the second position, and then crank the engine with the third position. Your ignition switch gets used regularly — literally every time you turn your vehicle on, you use the ignition switch. This means that wear and tear will be the number one cause of failure in this part.
There are a few key symptoms that you can look out for as a driver that will indicate a potential problem with your ignition switch. One of the symptoms you might notice first and foremost is that your vehicle suddenly stalls even though the engine is operating perfectly fine otherwise. If your ignition switch starts to fail while your engine is still operating, it could turn off that power connection to the ignition and the fuel systems, which causes your engine to stall. Depending on the issue itself, your vehicle could be restarted a very short time later.
Another symptom is that your car will only be able to turn on, but not crank, or crank and then immediately turn back off. The ignition switch might work in the first and second position, powering the fuel and ignition but it will fail at the on position where it turns the engine. This could cause your vehicle to start and then stall. Your ignition switch might momentarily give power to your fuel pump when it’s in the cranking position, which is what causes it to start, but then it cuts off power immediately, which is where the subsequent stall comes in.
The third symptom of ignition switch failure is simply having trouble powering the accessories. You might insert the key and turn it to that first position that should turn on the interior lights and your center console, but then nothing happens. If this is the case and your accessories are simply not powered properly your vehicle could have a problem with the ignition switch, but it could also have a problem with the battery, lock cylinder, or the fuse and wiring systems. That’s why it is important to bring your car in immediately when you notice these symptoms.
The longer you wait with issues like these, the worse it’s going to get. Once you start noticing symptoms, if you fail to bring in your vehicle and have it properly inspected, diagnosed, and repaired, issues like these could continue to happen. Eventually they could lead to a car accident or leave you stranded at an inconvenient moment.
Ignition switches are integral and essential to the operation of your vehicle, so it is important to follow up on any issues you think yours might have. If you think that your vehicle is having a problem with ignition switch failure, it is imperative that you have your car inspected by a professional technician.
If you are having problems with your ignition switch, call us at St. Matthews Import to schedule your inspection. Our team of professionals will review the internal and external components on your vehicle in order to give you a proper diagnosis. We have years of combined experience, training, and certifications under our belt so we are highly qualified to offer excellent service and reliable repairs on your vehicle. We offer a home base in Louisville, KY with multiple locations throughout the area for automotive service and repair.