How To Replace Ignition Switch Without Key? [Complete Guide]

If you are in a situation where you need to remove and replace your car ignition switch without key. They this can be done is few simple steps. You do two screw drivers and an electric drill machine (optional). First remove battery and then remove all plastic covering around ignition switch. To remove switch, press the clips and slide remove the switch. To remove lock cylinder, press the retention pin and use screw driver to rotate and pull the lock cylinder.

You might run into a situation where your car ingnition switch does not work any more. It accept the car key and even allow it to go into on position but does not start ignition. There is only one solution of this bad ignition switch and that is to replace that ignition switch.

Now its worth mentioning here that in most of the cases where ignition switch does not work when key is rotated inside it, is either due to bad electrical connection (broken wire or blown fuse) or problem with igniton key lock cylinder. So in most cases replacing igniton switch means replacing ignition lock cylinder switch.

Now you woundering how to replace ignition switch without key? or how to replace the ignition lock cylinder without key? Well for that there are some very simple steps that you can follow to remove and replace your car ignition switch or lock cylinder.

As each and every car brand has its own ignition switch and lock cylinder design, working mechanism, and sfaety feature. So the procedure of changing will be little different for different car brands and models.

Although the procedure will be little different for each car type but still there are some common steps for this and we have discussed them in detail.

What is an ignition switch?

An ignition switch is a specially designed switch that work with a car key to turn on or off the ignition process in car engine. Each and every ignition switch is a unique as no two ignition switches are made idential for security reasons.

Each switch has its own unique key that set perfectly with its locking mechanism to unloack the switch start or stop the ignition process. As no two ignition switches are idential so there is no key replacement for same switch or no switch replacement for same ignition switch.

So replacing a ignition switch means removing the ignition lock cylinder and replacing it with a new ignition lock cylinder having its own unique key.

How to replace ignition switch without key?

Here is a short tutorial on how you can remove and replace your vehicle’s ignition switch without any sort of key.

Disconnect the Battery

Safety first, so remove the battery negative and positive terminals and try to switch on the car. It will not turn on due to bad switch or removed battery but this will drain all remaining charge from the circuit

Locate and Approch your Ignition Switch

Now in most of the car ignition switch is on side of the steering wheel and its entire mechanism in under the plastic covering. You need to remove the plastic covering to asses the switch body. You may need to unscrew several piece including one that cover steering wheel upper and lower portion.

Removing the Ignition Switch and Lock Cylinder

Ignition switch is a separate assembly from lock cylinders and are connect throught electrical wiring. To remove and replace the switch only you need to press clips holding the switch by one hand and slide remove the switch from other hand. Remove all wiring attached to it and replace it with a new one. Its all done for switch but not for lock cylinder.

In some ignition switched there is a retention pin that hold the cylinder and switch from rotating free and limit the rotation of switch and its cylinder upto a predetermined position. Pressing the retention pin will make the entire switch rotate freely.

So press the pin using any tool that can press it Like a screw driver and then use any tool that can slide in key position and rotate the cylinder and pull it out.

If there is no retention pin then there will be a small hole, that is the safety catch that work same as pin. Put a screw driver there and press it a bit. Now same as above use another screw driver to pull out the cylinder.

In some cases thses step does not work and you have to drill hole in the ignition cylinder and they you can bring the cylinder out. To drill the switch, first take drill bit whose diameter is not bigger then the key slot. Now mark the key lenght on drill bit to prevent from drilling to deep and damaging the entire steering column.

Now drill the ignition switch lock cylinder and then repeat the above steps on pressing the retention pin or safety catch to remove the cylinder.

Installing New switch and lock cylinder

Now if it was only the bad cylinder than replacing the lock cylinder in the same old switch will solve the problem. If with was the complete switch then, replacing the entire switch is need and this involve replacing the electrical connections. Its higly recommended to let professionals do this job.

Replace Ignition Switch Without Key Infographic

Final words

Now you know how to replace ignition switch without a key, so you don’t have to worry when you’ve lost your key or the key is being malfunctioned. 

Still, we would recommend you not to use this method if your are not sure about your mechanic skills, it’s because this might damage your vehicle’s mechanics. So, go to the car dealership and get replacement as soon as possible.

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William Baldwin

This Is William Baldwin, The Founder & Managing Editor of this website. Me and my team share automotive tips, tricks, and news

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Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at with a passion for the automotive industry.