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The ignition lock cylinder requires a key be inserted to start the engine. It is essentially a security device that prevents the vehicle from being started without a key. The ignition lock cylinder also acts as a switch to turn on and shut off the engine, interior functions, and the lights. Inside the ignition cylinder are pins and tumblers that ensure only the correct key will be able to start the vehicle. If those tumblers are worn out or sticking, the ignition lock cylinder may not turn even with the correct key inserted. If the key or another foreign object breaks off in the ignition, the key will not be able to be inserted all the way and won’t turn. Sometimes, the ignition lock cylinder may stick in the ‘on’ or ‘run’ position, and the ignition won’t be able to turn all the way off.
If the ignition key becomes difficult to turn or sticks, the key is cracked, or if the key will not turn all the way back to the ‘off’ position, it may be time to replace your ignition lock cylinder.
If the ignition lock cylinder will not turn and your vehicle will not start, you can be left stranded waiting for a tow and a cab. If the ignition cylinder is stuck in the "on" position, your vehicle can be left vulnerable to theft with the keys stuck inside. Replace the ignition cylinder when symptoms begin.