Top 5 Bad Ignition Switch Symptoms

How do you know if you’re dealing with a faulty ignition switch or relay? Here are five of the most common signs the ignition switch may be bad. When you notice at least two or three of these symptoms, it’s fairly likely the ignition switch is the culprit.

  • Key Doesn’t Turn

When an ignition switch has excessive wear or damage inside of it, it will often prevent the key from correctly aligning with the keyhole. This is usually something that gets worse over time. You may notice the key not going in as smoothly as before and the issue gradually gets worse until the key doesn’t even go in or it goes in but fails to turn.
Make sure the ignition lock is not engaged by turning the steering wheel back and forth while you try to turn the key.

  • Car Won’t Start

The ignition coil draws battery power and uses that to fire up the spark plugs. If something goes wrong with this switch, your car won’t start. There are a few other things to check, such as the battery, but the ignition system is an excellent place to start.
Listen to the noise that your car is making. Is it completely dead and won’t turn over at all? Then, it’s probably a dead battery.
It doesn’t leave you in the clear, though. The battery could also drain as a result of a faulty ignition system.

  • Dashboard Lights Flicker

With older vehicles, wear and tear can cause failure in the switch over time. If the switch starts wearing out, one of the first signs is that you don’t hear the primary relay clicking over. Check the lights on the dashboard to be sure.

Now, put your key into the second position. If the ignition is the problem, then the dashboard will usually go dark. Move it into the starting position and take note of the warning lights that appear.
If the lights go out when the key is moved back to the second position, there’s a problem with the wiring to the ignition switch. Many times, you will experience flickering lights in your dashboard while you are driving. This is a warning to get things checked out.

It is something that you should leave to a qualified auto-electrician. The current running through these wires could cause severe injuries if you don’t know what you’re doing.

  •  Accessories Won’t Power On

If there’s not enough power to get the car started, there won’t be enough for the accessories in the car, either. If your radio won’t work, or the air conditioner doesn’t start up, check the ignition system.

  • Car Stalls While Driving

If your car cuts out for no reason while you’re driving, it’s not getting enough power. It is often a sign that there’s a problem with the ignition system or the battery. If your car cuts out for no reason at all, then pull to the side of the road and call for help.

We can’t stress how important this is for road safety. If the car’s started cutting out while you’re driving, it’s a real emergency.

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