The ignition lock cylinder is a crucial component of your car. Despite how important it is, most car owners give don’t it too much consideration. They take it for granted until over time it wears down and then you can’t use it properly or start your vehicle. That is when you may need to replace it.

If you have the key, then removing it is a relatively simple task. Without it, the process requires some extra steps.

Tools You’ll Need To Change An Ignition Key Lock Without A Key

To complete the job of removing an ignition lock cylinder without a key successfully, you need to make sure you have the following tools:

  • Power drill
  • Drill bit
  • Flathead screwdriver

Step One – Battery Disconnection

The first part of removing or changing and ignition lock cylinder without a key involves disconnecting the battery. This is a safety precaution to make sure you do not short anything in your car or get an electric shock.

To do this, you need to remove the negative cable terminal.

Step Two – Steering Wheel Removal

Next, you need to remove your car’s steering wheel so you can have full access to the lock cylinder. Remove all the screws from the upper and lower covers of the steering wheel and once you have lifted off the covers, lift the steering wheel upwards and pull at the central cover. You can now disconnect the wires to the car horn.

Be sure to put the nuts and washers in a safe place and then pull the steering wheel completely out of its shaft.

Step Three – Remove the Wipers and Indicator Switches

These are easy enough to find, following your car owner manual and just need to be pulled away from their place.

Step Four – Steering Column Sleeve Removal

Within the car’s steering wheel column, you should be able to locate the spacer columns. Once you have found them, slide them up.

Step Five – Electrics to Ignition Switch disconnection

Find the mounting screws for the ignition switch and unscrew them and then pull out the ignition switch.

You need to be careful to disconnect all the wires from the appropriate connector on the bottom of the ignition switch. Loosen off the tabs and pull the switch out.

Step Six – Mounting Bolts Removal

Use either a screwdriver or socket wrench to remove the mounting bolts or screws from the ignition switch. Completely unbolt the housing and switch assembly that holds the lock cylinder.

You will find that most models of car have interchangeable, universal lock cylinders. These are easy enough to remove using a pin in the pinhole to operate the release mechanism.

Step Seven – Check the Ignition Switch Housing Mounting Bolts

You will find that some models of cars, depending on the manufacturer, have easy-to-remove snap-off safety bolt heads. This component was designed to prevent thieves from breaking into your car and replacing the ignition lock so that they can drive your vehicle without a key. It may be that you need to use a power drill with special extractors that can remove the bolts on the ignition switch to remove it from the steering wheel column.

Step Eight – Key Cylinder Locking

Take the Ignition lock cylinder and a straightened paperclip and insert the clip into the slot and then turn it anti-clockwise. This locks the cylinder and stops the ignition from starting.

Step Nine – Screwdriver

Take your screwdriver and insert it into the ignition lock cylinder. Turn it as far round in a clockwise direction that you can. Then pull the paperclip to the right as much as you can. You should then be able to slide the switch out easily.

This is all there really is to it. If you have an older vehicle and this is the first time you have ever tinkered with the ignition lock cylinder it may not be the easiest thing to work with. This is because there will be a lot of accumulated dust and debris in and around the cylinder.

Step 10 – Replacing the Ignition Lock Cylinder

It will all depend on the individual components and their condition as to whether cleaning and replacing an ignition lock cylinder without a key is necessary. You can use the same keys and rebuild it if everything looks okay and seems to be working fine after a good clean-up and oil. However, it may be time to buy a brand-new ignition switch.

You need to bear in mind that, unless you know for sure that any generic ignition switch lock cylinder (or the individual components you need to replace) will work in your car, it may be a good idea to speak to a manufacturer dealership for information on how to get replacement keys. Be sure to quote the exact model, year, and manufacturer of your vehicle along with the VIN number, so you get the right part.