Despite it being a crucial part, the ignition housing is often an overlooked component in a vehicle. So car owners often get surprised when they learn that it needs to be replaced. In this guide, we discuss the ignition lock housing, as the part is also called, its function, and common problems that lead to replacement.
What is An Ignition Housing?
Also called the ignition lock housing or ignition lock cylinder housing,, the ignition housing is a cast metal casing that contains the ignition switch lock and cylinder. It also has a wiring harness connector that supplies power to the ignition switch. This connector can be found at the back of the housing.
Different cars will have slightly varying design for the housing. However, its function, which is to contain the ignition lock and switch assembly and mechanism, remains the same. Having said that, let’s see why the ignition lock cylinder housing as the part is also called, is such an important component in your car.
What does the Ignition Housing do?
The ignition cylinder housing performs several functions. First, it protects the ignition switch and cylinder from damage. Second, it keeps moisture and dirt out of these components to prevent corrosion. But most importantly, it forms part of the assembly that secures your car’s starting system.
Typically, the housing attaches to the steering column and has a tumbler for the lock cylinder on the side.
When the key is inserted into the ignition and turned, the parts inside the housing align in a specific way. This allows the ignition switch to engage, which sends power to the starter motor. Your car’s ignition cylinder
Ignition Lock Housing Problems
The ignition housing is where the ignition lock cylinder is contained. It is a small, simple component that most car owners never think about – until it breaks and the car cannot start. When that happens, getting your vehicle back on the road can be costly and time-consuming. Several things could possibly go wrong with this part. Some of the most common ignition lock housing problems include:
Cracked Ignition Housing
A cracked housing can cause parts to become misaligned, making it difficult or impossible to turn the key. In some cases, cracked ignition housing may also allow the entry of dirt and moisture and cause further damage. This ignition housing problem may be caused by manufacturing defects or physical damage. If you notice a crack in your ignition housing, it’s important to have it replaced as soon as possible.
Broken Ignition Housing Parts
The parts inside the housing can break making it difficult to turn the key. This mostly happens over time due to wear from normal use. In some cases, they may also break due to physical damage. If any of the parts in your ignition cylinder housing are broken, consider replacing the entire ignition housing unit.
Worn Ignition Housing
If the parts of the housing that secure the ignition lock cylinder become loose, the ignition housing will not secure the cylinder. This can make it difficult to engage the starting mechanism. A broken or worn ignition housing may cause one of the following symptoms:
- The key will not turn in the ignition
- The ignition switch will not engage
- The key is difficult to either insert or remove from the ignition
Ignition Housing Replacement
The ignition switch housing is a relatively simple component, but it is vital to the proper functioning of your vehicle starting system. If the housing breaks or is damaged in another way, it will need to be replaced. Different cars have different ignition cylinder housing replacement procedures. However, there are general steps that apply to most cars.
How to Replace Ignition Housing
Here is how to replace ignition lock housing of a Chevy Equinox in simple steps. As earlier indicated, your car may include steps not mentioned here.
What you’ll need:
- Replacement ignition housing (make sure to get one that is compatible with your car model)
- Socket and ratchet set
Warning: On cars that have airbags, take care to avoid their accidental deployment and only continue if you are confident in your ability to do so safely. To disable the airbag system or SIR system, follow this procedure: disconnect the negative battery cable, and wait for at least 3 minutes to allow the system to discharge.
Ignition Housing Removal
Here are the steps for ignition lock cylinder housing removal.
Step 1: Disconnect the negative battery cable. This will prevent electrical shorts while you work on the ignition switch.
Step 2: Disable the SIR Supplemental inflatable Restraint system using the steps outlined in the warning above.
Step 3: Next, take out the steering wheel. On most cars, you’ll need to remove a center cap or nut first. Then, use a steering wheel puller to remove the wheel.
Step 4: After the steering, remove the steering column covers. These are usually attached with screws or bolts.
Step 5: Next, take out the multifunction levers.
Step 6: Pull out the housing’s wiring harness.
Step 7: Remove the park lock cable. This is a rod that goes from the housing to the transmission.
Step 8: Finally, remove the bolts that secure the ignition lock housing to the steering column.
Step 9: Turn the key to the “ACC/ACCESSORY” position.
Step 10: Separate the ignition lock and switch from the ignition housing unit.
Ignition Housing Installation
After removal, follow these steps to install the new ignition lock cylinder housing.
Step 1: With the ignition key in the “ACC/ACCESSORY” position, start by attaching the new ignition housing to the steering column. Make sure that it is in the correct position and aligned properly.
Step 2: Replace all parts in the reverse order of removal.
Step 3: Connect the negative battery cable.
Step 4: Test the new ignition housing by starting the car. If everything is working properly, re-enable the airbag or SIR system.
Ignition Housing Replacement Cost
The ignition lock cylinder housing replacement cost depends on several factors. These include the make and model of your car, the complexity of the job, and whether you do it yourself or have it done at a garage.
On average, replacement costs between $100 and $250. The labor cost is usually between $50 and $150, while the cost of the parts is between $50 and $200 or higher.
Although time consuming, ignition housing replacement is something that you can do yourself. However, if you’re not confident in your ability to do so, it’s always best to consult a professional mechanic.
Ignition Housing Cost
When you have a broken ignition housing and need to replace it, the cost will depend on the make and model of your car. For some cars, the housing cost can be as low as $50 while for others, it could be as high as $200.
The ignition housing cost will also vary across different manufacturers and car parts sellers. Regardless of the price, though, our advice is to always ensure you’re buying a quality ignition housing. That means doing your homework and finding a reputable manufacturer or seller.
The ignition housing, despite being hidden from view, plays an important role in the starting process of your car. If it is damaged or broken, it needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Doing so can save you from more expensive repairs down the road. Plus, as we have seen, the process to replace the part is relatively simple and can even be done at home with the right tools.
We hope that this guide has given you all the information you need on the ignition housing replacement process, cost, and other tips.