Every car has an ignition switch which is nothing but a low voltage electric switch with a multipole. The switch is turned on by a car key and not a knob or a paddle.
Four states of the ignition switch:
Every ignition switch has four states: off, accessory, start and run. Even when the switch is in off position many car accessories like the radio, wipers, hazard lights and indicators are supported.
The start position triggers the ignition process. The key has to be turned to the right and held in the same position for it to turn the circuit ON. When the key is released to the former position, the spring acting puts the car in ‘run’. Start position differs from run. In start, the starter motor is first powered followed by the activation of the solenoid which pushes the car into flywheel. The ‘click’ noise that is heard when the keys are tuned while the car is running is the connection that the start position is trying to make. By doing so, there are high chances of burning out the starter.
The run position activates the electrical circuit apart from the starter circuit. Cars of an older model operate on a coil circuit. They battery can be jumped with ease unlike new cars.
Fixing an ignition switch problem
- Ignition related problems are fairly simple to rectify, in most cases. A problem in the system arises when a component is faulty. There are three important supporting components- steering wheel, battery and gear selector.
- A dead battery will not support the ignition switch. The first step of troubleshooting must therefore be checking to see if the battery is dead.
- The gear selector problem is faced only by those cars which are automatic. The inherent system is such that the ignition switch will not fire up till the car is in neutral or park gear.
- When the steering wheel gets stuck, the keys get lodged. Till the time the keys are released, the car is ceased. To loosen the keys, try moving it to the left and right to release the pressure built up.
- If the supporting parts aren’t a problem, the culprit can be the keys. Check to see if the key is bent. Straighten out the key by hammering it down gently. If the grooves are worn out, use a replacement key. This should solve the issue. Also, it goes without saying that the car will not start if the wrong keys are used.
- In a few cases, the problem lies in the ignition lock cylinder. Check to see if there any foreign particles lodged inside the system that is preventing the keys from making contact.
Call for help if the problem persists.