A gentle twist of the wrist is all it takes to get most cars running. Thanks to the ignition switch, which makes this possible. For those who don’t know, the ignition switch is an electric apparatus that activates the car’s engine when you turn the car key. Turning the key energizes the electric components of a car.
Consequently, the starter motor receives an electric current to start the car. Basically, the ignition switch wakes up a car. Like all other car parts, the ignition switch may not always work 100% of the time. If the ignition switch fails, your car will be in a non-operational state unless you fix it. If you don’t know the cost that goes into fixing an ignition switch, keep reading.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace an Ignition Switch?
The average estimated cost for an ignition switch replacement sits around $100 to $300. The part sells for $60 to $225, and the labor costs are approximately $50 to $120. The good news is that it’s an easy fix. It’s simply a matter of changing the old part with the new one.
|Walmart||$60 – $115
|NAPA||$140 – $250
|Mr Tire||$150– $270
|Midas||$155 – $285
|Your Mechanic||$175 – $300
Of course, not all cars are the same. A few cars out there have a complex starting mechanism, and they bear expensive parts as well, which shoots up the cost of repair. In such a scenario, you can expect your repair cost to fall into the high price range.
Important Pointer: If you can start your car, you can drive it to the repair shop. If not, you will have to spend extra money for towing the vehicle. If the mechanic detects a wiring issue at the time of repair, you will have to fix that as well. The cost also varies with respect to the quality of the part and the place from where you get the job done. As you might already know, most repair shops have different hourly rates.
To avoid hard lessons, check the quote before committing to the deal. It’s an obvious point that this will save you some nasty surprises.
What are the Signs of a Faulty Ignition Switch?
While you may hardly experience any issue with an ignition switch, it can occasionally fail. Now, how do you tell that you are dealing with a bad ignition switch? Well, look for one or more of these symptoms:
- You will notice that nothing happens when you turn the ignition switch. When the ignition switch has undergone excessive damage or wear inside of it, it prevents the key from aligning properly with the keyhole. As a result, it fails to start the vehicle. Sometimes, even the key may fail to go in.
- Flickering dashboard light is another prominent signal of a failing ignition switch. This usually happens when there is an issue with the wiring of the ignition system. Of course, a flickering dashboard light can mean many different things. So, it’s better to get things checked up at the earliest.
- A problem with the ignition switch can also affect other car parts, such as the radio or the air conditioner. Although this thing is rare, your car can also stall while driving due to an ignition switch problem. Of course, it’s better to pull your car to the side of the road and get immediate assistance if this happens.
Needless to say, a proper diagnosis is a must because other car problems may exhibit the same symptoms. From diagnosis to treatment, the estimated labor time would be around 1 to 2 hours, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.
Is it Safe to Drive with a Bad Ignition Switch?
If you are lucky enough, you might be able to drive with a faulty ignition switch. In such a case, you should make your way to the auto repair shop at the earliest. After all, it’s an issue that needs immediate attention because there’s no guarantee that you will be able to crank the engine the next time you are getting ready to drive the vehicle.
Not to mention that there is real danger involved as well as your car can cut out on you while driving, leading to a dangerous outcome, especially if you are driving on a busy highway.
Ignition Switch Replacement Procedure:
Geographically, the ignition switch is located at the dashboard or the steering column (where the key is inserted) of the vehicle. Here are the steps that you need to follow for ignition switch replacement:
- Park the vehicle at a safe place and turn off the ignition.
- Disconnect the battery cable to prevent accidental contact.
- Remove the steering column by disconnecting the screws.
- Locate/inspect the ignition switch with the help of a test light.
- Disconnect the wirings from the ignition switch.
- Remove the existing ignition switch.
- Install the new ignition switch in place of the old one.
Make sure that the new switch is mounted properly, and snap back its electrical components. Also, take a look at the instruction manual to see if there are special alignment instructions mentioned in it.
Keep in mind that installing a new ignition switch on some of the modern-day cars is not easy because they come equipped with anti-theft devices that make the repair job more challenging than usual.
How to Save Money on Ignition Switch Replacement Cost?
If you follow the directions given earlier, you will be able to do the work yourself, which will save you a handsome chunk of money. Basically, you will be able to eliminate the labor cost entirely. Of course, if your car has a complex starting mechanism, it’s better to leave the job on the experts.
You can still save money on parts by ordering them at cheaper rates. Alternatively, you can compare prices from different mechanics and pay a trusted mechanic who charges lesser than usual.