The Average Cost for Replacing an Ignition Switch Is $98-$215 Depending on If You Go to the Mechanic or DIY.
This price range is based on national averages for all vehicles and does not factor in taxes, fees, or your particular make and model. For a more accurate estimate based on your make, model, and location, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.
Cost at the Mechanic: $175-$215
Parts: $98 -$117
It generally takes a mechanic less than an hour to replace an ignition switch, though it can take longer on some models. The process typically involves removing the trim pieces around the steering column, removing the ignition lock, and then unplugging and removing the ignition switch itself. Sometimes security features may prevent easy access to the switch, requiring more time and labor costs.
Cost to DIY: $98-$117
- Difficulty Level: Intermediate-Advanced
- Parts Needed:
You can save some money by taking on this repair job yourself, but you should be confident that you know what you’re doing before you start taking your car apart. Refer to your vehicle’s owner and repair manuals before you start the job, as instructions to replace your specific model’s ignition switch may be different from another vehicle’s. This could be a time-consuming job if the ignition switch is difficult to reach or replace for security reasons. Different vehicles also require different types of switches. If your vehicle has a push-button ignition, you will have some different concerns compared to someone with a conventional key ignition, which is what we are focusing on here.
What Is an Ignition Switch?
Your vehicle’s ignition switch is an essential component of its starting and ignition systems. The ignition switch’s primary job is to turn on the power to the car’s electrical systems and to start the engine. A failed ignition switch may not enable some electrical systems, from the entertainment system to the engine computer, to turn on properly. It may also prevent you from starting the engine.
What Does an Ignition Switch Replacement Include?
A simple ignition switch replacement should take a mechanic under an hour to replace. However, some models have more complex systems that may take longer and cost more to replace. Ignition switches can also be a part of a greater assembly that will require you to replace more than just the switch itself, which will further increase the price.
The new assembly or ignition switch may need to be reprogrammed to keep things such as security systems in working order. This increases the amount of equipment and skill required for the ignition switch replacement job. Keep this potential increase in difficulty in mind as you read your owner’s manual to decide if this is a job you can do yourself. If special programming is required, it’s probably best to let a shop or dealer take care of this.
What Happens If You Don’t Replace Your Ignition Switch?
If your ignition switch decides to stop working, many of your vehicle’s components may lose the ability to draw power. Your vehicle may be unable to start. In less severe cases, the power to other systems such as the entertainment system will be cut off.
Your ignition key can also get stuck in the “on” position. This will render you unable to shut your vehicle down through normal means.
If you’re able to drive at all with your faulty ignition switch, you may be putting yourself in a dangerous situation by doing so. Your vehicle can stall and turn off in the middle of your drive, leaving you stranded.
How Often To Replace Your Ignition Switch
Ignition switches are meant to last as long as your vehicle does, but sometimes they can go bad before they’re supposed to. This is especially true in high-mileage vehicles. There is not a recommended interval at which you should replace your ignition switch — this is an “as needed” job.
When you start to notice any problems that point to a bad ignition switch, it’s important that you address the issue as soon as you can. By letting the problem sit and grow worse, you’re opening yourself to the cost of towing your vehicle or being stranded on the side of a road.
Common Symptoms You Need To Replace Your Ignition Switch
Look out for these symptoms that point to a faulty or failing ignition switch:
- Your vehicle won’t start
- You can’t turn off your vehicle
- Some of the systems of your vehicle stop working, such as the radio
- Your vehicle is stalling while you’re driving
- You have to turn the key or push the ignition button several times to get the vehicle to turn on or off
As soon as you notice any of these things happening, you should either schedule an appointment to have your vehicle’s ignition switch looked at or have it towed to the shop. Don’t let this problem get worse before you try to fix it, as you can put yourself in a precarious position by doing so.
Related Maintenance Services
The following services are commonly performed with ignition switch replacements:
- Steering column assembly replacement
- Security system recoding
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