JAM | May 18, 2023

Car Care Tips | Lighten your keychain and check your ignition

Candice Stewart

Candice Stewart / Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Most of you enjoy trinkets that you can add to your keychains and those trinkets often get added to the same keychain that holds your car keys. You also, sometimes, add other keys to the same keychain making it a heavy and bulky bunch.

If you drive a car that requires a key in the ignition, a heavy keychain on which your car keys hang indicates that you may be seeking a car care professional to help you with repairs.

The weight of your heavy keychain, combined with bouncing while you drive can wear out the tumblers inside the ignition and eventually lead to ignition switch failure.

Lighten the load and check the ignition switch!

Add years of service to your ignition switch and take these important steps:

  • Purchase a lightweight keychain
  • Separate your car key(s) from the others
  • Drive with only the car key in the ignition

Otherwise, check with your car care professional on other dos and don’ts when it comes to your car key(s) and your ignition switch.

If your ignition key “sticks” when you try to turn on the car, it’s a warning that your ignition switch is about to fail. Replace it before you get into a sticky situation.

Signs of a faulty ignition switch

Car care professionals might tell you that the ignition switch is supposed to last for thousands of engine starts and key cycles. However, we operate in a dynamic world and there may come a time when it fails. Sometimes it is by your own doing and other times it is caused by situations out of your control. If the ignition switch fails, here are some signs to look out for:

  • the key is hard or impossible to turn in the ignition. If you encounter issues in smoothly turning the key, it might be either the cylinder itself or the switch behind it that’s jammed or binding.
  • The engine won’t crank. If the electrical contacts inside the switch have failed, turning the key to crank the engine might not result in any response.
  • The engine starts and stalls. If this happens, it could be an issue with the anti-theft system. It allows the engine to start but doesn’t recognise a valid key so it shuts the engine off again.
  • There are electrical issues or inoperative accessories. Sometimes, a faulty ignition switch can prevent the accessories and auxiliary functions to stop working since their circuits may not be receiving a signal to power up.
  • Stalling when driving. A faulty ignition switch may lose an electrical connection while you drive. This may happen while you drive over rough roads or bumps or even in turning the steering wheel.

It is important to note that these ignition switch symptoms can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. They may begin as intermittent concerns and slowly progress to a worse situation. As such. check in with your car care professionals and stop weighing down the ignition switch with you bunch of keys!

This is the 13th article in the weekly series, ‘Car Care Tips’ where we highlight various aspects of a car, how to provide care and maintenance for optimal performance while ensuring safety. This series may feature your favourite mechanic or others from the motor vehicle industry.

Read the 12th installment of Care Care Tips: Car Care Tips | Is your spare tyre in good condition?

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