Symptoms of Car Ignition Issues

When we grab our keys and jump into our cars to go somewhere, the last thing we expect is to have ignition cylinder problems. As drivers, we know from an early age that you insert the key, turn it, and the engine starts. Unless we are just going for a Sunday drive, we have a destination in mind. It may be a simple errand to pick up cat litter, or it might be more important, like a job interview or a date (gasp!). We expect our ignitions to work and work on-demand. Unfortunately, this won’t always happen. That’s why Locksmith Miramar has put this post together; so that you know more about car ignition issues and how better to deal with them.

Auto ignitions; the basics

We all know that starting the ignition, starts the car. What you may not know, is how it does that. In the early days of driving, the ignition simply supplied the engine with electrical current from the battery. Nowadays, an accessory switch is used to also supply power to other components of your car. These can include air conditioning, radio, power seats, heater, power windows, GPS, windshield wipers, headlights, etc. You can see how vital your car’s ignition system really is; it expertly powers over a dozen essential components of your vehicle so that your driving experience is safer, more convenient and enjoyable!

Signs that your ignition system is experiencing problems

Auto health is much like human health; all parts seem to be interconnected and able to affect each other on an ongoing basis. Both show symptoms when something isn’t working right and this can often be confusing if you are not a mechanic or car enthusiast. Here in Miramar, FL we experience very hot summers and high humidity and sometimes these temperature fluctuations can have an impact on how our vehicles drive and respond to our direction. Some signs that you might be having ignition system issues include:

No response – Did you turn the ignition key and nothing happened? Were you in the START position but no response?

Engine turns over repeatedly – Did you turn the key and hear the engine turn over again and again? You may have a short in the electrical system. If you have a multimeter you can run a test to see if this is the cause.

The ignition switch feels hot to the touch – This is a “hot” one! Sorry for the pun but seriously; get your car checked out if you try and start your engine and the ignition switch feels overly hot when you touch it. You may have a frayed wire or loose connection. Don’t take chances.

Car idles – Do you notice your vehicle idling when you pull up to a red light or stop sign? Does it often die on you when you do this? Be sure to have this checked out, too! You don’t want your engine cutting out when you are actually driving!

Play that radio! – Seriously; turn on the radio and make sure that the volume is turned up enough to hear it. While you are at it, try out the headlights and windshield wipers. Why do all this? If your car won’t turn over but the other items work; it’s not your battery and most likely the ignition switch.

Your ignition key is stuck – This one really confuses a lot of people! They go to start the engine, it won’t turn over and now the key won’t come out either! It HAS to be your ignition, right? Not always! Many times all you need is to turn the steering wheel (jiggle it back and forth) or make double sure that the car is in PARK and your key will come out just fine. If the problem is your ignition, none of these efforts will work.

Locked steering wheel - Sometimes the steering wheel locks when pressure is put on it. 99% of the time, this is purely accidental. Maybe you leaned on it a little while getting out of the vehicle or when taking a jacket off. When this happens, the ignition usually won’t make your key stick but it WILL prevent you from turning the ignition. Please note – this is NOT an ignition switch problem! Your steering wheel is just locked. Move it back and forth a bit until your key is released. The car will start now.

It won’t turn off! – If you notice that your car won’t turn off, you more than likely have a problem between your ignition lock and the starter switch itself. Your best bet in this case is to call an automotive locksmith in Miramar, FL as you’ll need to replace the key tumbler assembly as well as the ignition switch. An experienced mechanic can do the job but just might pay a higher price in addition to tow fees.
Not in gear – This is often the usual culprit and is easily remedied. If your vehicle is not in the PARK position, it won’t start; period! Many confuse this for ignition switch issues but it really isn’t. Each car has a safety feature built-in where the engine won’t turn over if the vehicle is not in the right gear. It needs to be firmly in PARK and nothing else. Before you call for a Miramar, FL lock professional to come to your aid; check your gears first!

Did that help?

If you’ve tried these suggestions and nothing helped, it may be time for the professionals to get involved. You can call a mechanic, roadside assistance, your car dealer, a friend or family member that knows auto repair, or a trusted local locksmith shop like ours. Keep one thing in mind. Calling the right lock and key shop saves you time, money and towing charges. Many offer fast service and 24-hour emergency help. Your nonprofessional friends or family members may mean well and try to help. Be careful taking them up on it though as further damage is always possible if they do something wrong and you are the one left paying the price.