For most car owners, getting in and cranking their vehicle up is not something that they think about. In order for a car to crank properly, a number of different components will have to work together. Among the most important of these elements is the ignition lock cylinder. Inside the assembly where your key goes is the cylinder, which the key fits into and allows for the assembly to be turned. Once the assembly is turned, the ignition coil will fire and ignite the fuel and air mixture in the engine. This lock cylinder has to work every time that you attempt to crank your car.

The ignition lock cylinder is supposed to last for as long as the car does, but usually this does not happen. When the ignition assembly is installed, the lock cylinder will have a bit of lubrication in it that makes turning it with a key much easier. As time goes by, the lubricant will begin to dry up and make it harder to operate the ignition assembly. As soon as you start to notice that there are issues with the lock cylinder, you will need to get them addressed in order to avoid breakdowns.

There are a variety of things that can render the lock cylinder of your ignition system useless. In some instances, the key that you have will only fit into this cylinder a certain way. Trying to force the key if it is turned the wrong way may lead to internal damage to the lock cylinder. Rather than causing this type of damage, you will need to pay attention to how to insert the key and how to care for the lock cylinder properly. In some cases, the issues with a lock cylinder can be fixed with some spray lubricant.

The following are a few of the things that you may notice when it is time to get your ignition lock cylinder.

  • The cylinder is freezing up when trying to turn the key
  • It takes a lot of force to get the key to turn
  • The key will not turn at all or is stuck in the ignition

Having the damaged ignition lock cylinder replaced as soon as signs of trouble surface will help you to reduce the amount of downtime you experience.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does an Ignition Lock Cylinder Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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