Having a bad ignition switch can be stressful, especially if you need to start your car and get somewhere quickly. However, there are several tips and tricks you can use to start your car with a problematic ignition switch without having to completely replace it right away.
These methods can come in handy when you find yourself stranded without any help around to assist you. Whether you’re on the road or at home, these DIY techniques can save you from getting stuck and keep you moving forward.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” -Winston Churchill
This guide focuses on simple steps that anyone can follow, regardless of their level of knowledge about cars. Since ignition switches have different problems, we will cover several techniques to start your car even with a defective ignition switch.
You might already know some of these tips, but others might surprise you! One thing is for sure – this article will give you viable solutions to tackle a faulty ignition switch so that you no longer have to panic when your key refuses to turn.
Sit tight as we take you through step-by-step instructions on how to circumnavigate this bothersome situation!
Use a screwdriver to bypass the ignition switch
Understand the risks involved
If your car has a bad ignition switch, you may be tempted to start it using a screwdriver. Before attempting this method, it’s important to understand that this is not an ideal way of starting a car and can be risky.
You should only attempt this method if you have no other options available and need to start your car urgently.
“Starting a car with a screwdriver can cause damage to the ignition system, or even lead to accidents in case of any mishaps during ignition.” -CarFromJapan.com
Locate the ignition switch
The first step to using a screwdriver to start your car is to locate the ignition switch. The ignition switch is typically found on the steering column or dashboard, near the key slot.
Before inserting the screwdriver, make sure that the gear is in “Park” position, and the handbrake is engaged for safety reasons.
Insert the screwdriver into the ignition switch
Once you’ve located the ignition switch, insert the screwdriver into the key slot while applying some pressure downwards. Make sure to choose a screwdriver that fits snugly so that it won’t slip out of place.
You’ll feel some resistance when inserting the screwdriver, which is normal given that you’re trying to bypass a security feature.
Turn the screwdriver to start the car
After inserting the screwdriver, turn it as though starting the car. Apply pressure downward and make sure to keep the screwdriver inserted firmly until the engine starts.
If done correctly, the engine should start without much effort, and the car can be driven normally.
“Starting a car with a screwdriver should only be done when the person is experienced in connecting wires and can avoid causing further problems.” -ItStillRuns.com
Keep in mind that bypassing the ignition switch with a screwdriver will disable a number of vital safety features. It’s essential to get your ignition switch fixed as soon as possible by a professional mechanic rather than relying on this method for an extended period of time.
Although using a screwdriver to start your car with a bad ignition switch is not ideal, it can be an effective short-term fix if you follow the steps outlined above carefully and exercise caution while using this method.
Try a remote starter switch
If your car’s ignition switch has gone bad, it may be impossible to start the car with the key. However, there is still hope! Using a remote starter switch is one way to start your car without relying on the faulty ignition switch.
Locate the starter motor
The first step in using a remote starter switch is to locate the starter motor. The starter motor is usually located in the engine compartment near the bottom of the engine block. Look for wires that are connected to the motor from either the battery or the ignition system.
Another way to locate the starter motor is to refer to your vehicle’s owner manual. It should have a diagram and instructions on how to find the starter motor. If you do not have the manual, you can search online for the manual specific to your vehicle model and year.
Disconnect the wiring harness from the starter motor
Once you have located the starter motor, the next step is to disconnect the wiring harness from the motor. This will prevent the electrical current from reaching the starter when you use the remote starter switch. You may need to remove a few bolts or screws before being able to access the wiring harness.
Make sure to follow proper safety procedures while working under the hood of your car. Disconnect the negative battery cable before proceeding further to prevent any potential electrical hazard.
Connect the remote starter switch to the starter motor
With the wiring harness disconnected, connect the remote starter switch according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure all connections are secure before moving to the next step.
Once everything is set up, turn on the power supply to the remote starter switch. Press the button on the remote starter switch to give power to the starter motor. Your car should start if it was in working order and all connections were properly made.
“It’s not always easy to diagnose a faulty ignition switch, but these switches do wear out over time. If you notice anything unusual when starting your car or turning on electronics, have a professional mechanic check the switch.” -Mike Hagerty
If the remote starter switch does not work, there may be other issues with your car that need fixing. These issues could include problems with the battery, alternator or starter itself. In such cases, taking your car to a mechanic is highly recommended for proper diagnosis and repair.
Starting a car with a bad ignition switch can be challenging, but with the right tools and knowledge, it is possible. Using a remote starter switch is an effective method that bypasses the faulty switch. However, remember to exercise caution while handling electrical components and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Jump-start the car
If you have a bad ignition switch and need to start your car, jump starting may be the solution. Here are some steps to get started:
Get a set of jumper cables
In order to jump-start your car, you will need a good set of jumper cables. If you don’t own a pair, you can borrow them from someone or purchase a set at an automotive store. Be sure to choose cables with enough length to comfortably reach both cars.
Locate the battery on both cars
Once you’ve got your cables ready, you’ll need to locate the batteries on both cars. In most cases, this is easy enough – just open the hood and look for a rectangular-shaped object with two metal terminals on top.
Attach the jumper cables to the battery terminals
Now that you’ve located the batteries, attach one end of the positive (red) cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery. Connect the other end of the positive cable to the positive terminal on the good battery. Next, connect one end of the negative (black) cable to the negative terminal on the good battery. Finally, attach the remaining clamp to an unpainted metal surface on the engine block of the car with the dead battery. This creates a safe ground connection.
Start the car with the good battery and let it charge the dead battery
With all of the cables securely attached, start the car with the good battery. Allow the car to run for several minutes, which will allow the good battery to bring the dead one back to life. If the battery was completely drained, you may need to wait longer. Once you are satisfied that the dead battery has charged sufficiently, turn off both vehicles and remove the jumper cables in reverse order.
“Whenever you see a successful person, you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices to reach them.” – Vaibhav Shah
Remember that jump-starting your car is a temporary solution. Once you turn off the engine, the battery may not have enough power to start up again. If this happens, it’s likely that you will need to replace the ignition switch. Consider contacting a professional mechanic if you continue to experience issues with your ignition switch or car battery.
Tap the starter with a hammer
If your car’s engine refuses to start, it could be an indication of a failing ignition switch. However, before scheduling a trip to a mechanic, you can first try tapping the starter motor with a hammer.
“When the starter is going bad, sometimes it will work when you tap on it.” -Mechanic Matty Hargrove
This tip may sound unconventional but may startle the stuck starter enough to get that crankshaft spinning again. It’s critical to note that this isn’t a permanent fix and that any “fix” may only persist for one or two starts.
Locate the starter motor
To begin, find where the starter motor is located in your vehicle. Popular mechanics warn that attempting to tinker with the wrong component or not having a clear view of what part needs servicing can cause even more damage to your automobile. The starter might either be underneath the hood or at the bottom of the engine compartment under the car.
“Finding the starter motor can often have some variations depending on the model of the vehicle in question. Referencing its manual or consulting a qualified mechanic who works familiarly with your type of automobile is recommended.” -Expert Car Mechanic James Willis of Corfe Mullen Automotive Ltd.
Tap the starter motor with a hammer
Once the starter motor has been found, use a small hammer (preferably rubber or wooden mallet) to gently tap the solenoid side while someone else tries starting the car. Make certain to avoid hitting other sections of the starter as it may result in additional harm. This procedure is dependent on the state of the starter,
“If the starter motor’s got so rusty up inside that it doesn’t move, tapping usually won’t do it.” -Mechanic Mike Phillips
If the hammer approach does work, also note that this suggests a weak spot in your starter and is just a temporary solution. To avoid sudden breakdowns on the side of the road or devastation to your engine, a replacement may be necessary.
Try starting the car again
If you’ve successfully tapped the starter motor with no additional issues, you should give your car another try to see if it starts. If not, there might be some other underlying problems. If after several attempts, the ignition switch continues to display signs of failure, it’s recommended that drivers consult with a licensed mechanic or technician for analysis and repairs.
“As soon as you discover anything odd like grinding noises at startup, unusual dash indicator lights, dimming headlights, erratic tachometer readings, short-circuiting electrical switches, or similar, which allude to an Ignition Switch issue – take immediate action,” -Auto Guru Alberto Garcia III
Combining these tips can provide a quick repair for those stranded with a failing starter motor and possibly save people some cash by minimizing trips to mechanics for small non-permanent fixes. These recommendations/hints are only intended for those instances where their vehicle refuses to start due to a bad ignition switch (not any of the exploding or “big bang” recalls). As always when working with cars, safety precautions must always be taken!
Replace the ignition switch
If you’re having trouble starting your car, and suspect that a bad ignition switch is to blame, don’t panic. You can easily replace the ignition switch yourself with these simple steps.
Disconnect the battery
The first step when replacing an ignition switch is to disconnect the battery from your vehicle. This will minimize the risk of electrical shock or short circuits while you work on the switch.
To disconnect the battery, locate the negative terminal (marked with a minus sign) and remove the cable clamp from it using a wrench. Make sure to place the disconnected cable away from any metal parts of the car to avoid accidental contact during your repair.
Remove the steering column cover
Once you have disconnected the battery, you’ll need to remove the cover from around the steering wheel in order to access the ignition switch. Different cars may require different methods for removing the cover, but most covers are held in place by a series of screws and clips.
You can usually find a guide outlining how to remove the steering column cover specific to your make and model of car in your owner’s manual or via online tutorials.
Remove the old ignition switch
Now that you have access to the ignition switch, you can begin removing the faulty component. The switch itself is generally secured in the steering column by two screws, which will need to be removed before the switch can be lifted out of the steering column.
It is important to closely follow the instructions for disconnecting the ignition switch as set forth in your vehicle’s owner’s manual – failure to do so could result in damage to other components inside the steering column.
Install the new ignition switch
One you have successfully removed the old ignition switch, it’s a simple matter of installing the new one. The installation process is generally just the reverse of the removal process you followed earlier.
Make sure that the new ignition switch is properly aligned inside the steering column before re-attaching any screws or clips. Once the switch has been installed, double-check all connections and cable attachments before reconnecting the battery.
“Your car will react in many different ways when the ignition switch isn’t working properly, but identifying the problem and knowing which steps to take can help save you valuable time and money.” -Angie’s List
By following these simple instructions for replacing your car’s ignition switch, you should be back on the road again in no time. Remember, if at any point during the DIY process you feel uncomfortable or unsure of what you’re doing, it’s always best to consult with an experienced mechanic in order to avoid accidentally damaging your vehicle further.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some signs of a bad ignition switch in a car?
Some signs of a bad ignition switch include difficulty starting the car, the engine stalling while driving, the key not turning in the ignition, and the dashboard lights flickering or not turning on at all.
Can you start a car with a bad ignition switch?
It is possible to start a car with a bad ignition switch by using a screwdriver to turn the ignition. However, this is not recommended and can cause further damage to the car’s electrical system.
What are some temporary fixes for a bad ignition switch?
Some temporary fixes for a bad ignition switch include tapping the key lightly with a hammer, wiggling the key in the ignition, or using a graphite powder lubricant on the key. However, these fixes may only work temporarily and the ignition switch should be replaced as soon as possible.
How can you replace an ignition switch in a car?
To replace an ignition switch in a car, remove the steering column cover, disconnect the battery, disconnect the ignition switch wiring harness, remove the ignition switch retaining screws, and install the new ignition switch. Then, reconnect the wiring harness, battery, and steering column cover.
What tools do you need to replace an ignition switch?
You will need a screwdriver, pliers, a socket wrench set, a drill, and an ignition switch replacement kit to replace an ignition switch in a car.
Do you need to take your car to a mechanic to replace the ignition switch?
No, you do not need to take your car to a mechanic to replace the ignition switch. However, it is recommended to have some knowledge and experience with car repairs before attempting to replace the ignition switch yourself.