Has your key all of a sudden stopped turning in your ignition? This happens occasionally and there are a few different events that could have caused it. The most common reasons ignitions all of a sudden stop turning are (1) stuck wafers, (2) broken wafers, (3) exploded spring caps and (4) broken ignition housing gears.
This specific blog post is going to discuss scenario (4) broken ignition housing gears. But first let’s quickly cover the first three option.
1) A stuck wafer can typically be unstuck. Then we remove and clean the cylinder and wafer. This is common in Chrysler ignitions.
2) A broken wafer typically requires the ignition to be drilled out and the wafer or lock cylinder to be replace. This is common in high security Honda 4 tracks. A different article will be devoted to this topic.
3) Exploded Spring Caps: if we can remove the cylinder without damage we can replace. More often than not we need to drill it our and replace.
Ok now, for scenario (4) a broken ignition house gears, lets start with the symptoms. The key and ignition all of a sudden stops working. Now, typically, we can check the first three options first. Here is the catch, when the lock is in place, we cannot always tell if it is one of the first three scenario’s or the last one. We have to first remove the ignition cylinder from the housing to separate and see if the problem is in the key and ignition cylinder or if it is in the ignition gears in the housing.
So, once the lock is removed, if the key and lock cylinder does not turn, it is more than likely the first three scenario’s. If the key and cylinder do turn outside the housing, than it is likely the ignition gears in the housing. We can check the ignition gears manually.
If the ignition gears in the housing are broken or jammed, the ignition housing has to be replaced. If this is the case, this job just became outside our normal scope of work and competency and we recommend you take the vehicle to an auto mechanic or dealer to replace the necessary parts. The good news it that your existing key and ignition cylinder still work and are available to put pack in with your new housing.
We have seen ignition gears break or stick on GM’s and BMW’s. It is also possible to happen on other vehicles.
We realize this is a very specific situation and scenario and hope it helps the few who need to understand it. Stay turned for more about scenarios 1,2 & 3.