Ignition Lock Cylinder
If you have ever gotten into your car and tried to turn the steering wheel you will notice that it will not turn unless you put the key into the ignition lock and turn it. If you don’t have the key or if the lock sticks the car will not start. Inserting the key into the ignition lock will release the steering column and make it possible for the car to start. The ignition lock cylinder is located on steering column precisely so that it can use it to lock the steering wheel into place. It is essentially a two part component. Not only does it contain the ignition switch, but it locks the ignition cylinder in place to help deter auto theft. Indirectly the ignition lock cylinder also affects the electrical portion of the ignition cylinder which is what supplies the power to your car’s electrical components like the windshield wipers, electric windows and radio. This is because this is the component that the key goes into to turn and activate the electricity needed for these devices and to start the car. The ignition switch in the ignition lock cylinder is what gives the electrical power needed to start the engine.
In the past, cars were not fitted with an ignition lock on the steering column. These cars were easy targets for professional auto thieves. The inventor of this lock designed it so that it would make it more difficult to steal cars and trucks. Before this invention, it didn’t take much to hot wire a car and drive it off without even needing a key. Nowadays, it is more difficult to steel a car.
As an anti-theft device, the ignition lock prevents the car from being started unless the key is in the ignition. If the key is not inserted into the ignition lock and turned, the steering wheel on the vehicle is not able to turn. It is locked solidly into place. When auto theft occurs it is usually because the ignition lock was pried apart or taken out. Every now and then the ignition lock cylinder may become faulty or wear out and will have to be replaced. One common sign that your ignition lock is faulty and will have to be replaced is when the ignition key is difficult to turn or when it will not turn at all. The most common cause for this to happen is when the retainer cap comes loose. Another sign it needs to be replaced is when the steering column will not lock or you have difficulty locking it.
If you are going to replace an ignition lock cylinder you will need to remove the trim panels around the steering wheel. There will be hardware attached to the lock assembly that will have to be removed as well. Once all the hardware is removed you can then take out the ignition lock and replace it with a new one. Once the new one is back in place then re-attach the hardware and trim panels. You will need to make sure your ignition lock cylinder is in good condition so that your car can continue to be secure from auto theft. Most people prefer to call a reputable licensed locksmith to repair or replace the ignition lock however.
A steering lock is also useful to lock the wheels in place to a certain extent when you are parked on a hill and have your wheels turned towards the curb. Another use for the ignition lock involves cutting edge technology. The latest technology is allowing breathalyzers to be installed to work in conjunction with the ignition lock to deter drunk driving.