What is the Steering Column Actuator all about?
When the ignition key is turned in older vehicles, a mechanical set of levers moved in the steering column. A rod in the steering column is attached to the a device to start the car, and a link from the ignition cylinder moves that rod. The link that is moved by the ignition cylinder is known as a steering column lock actuator. The purpose of this part is not only to start the vehicle, but to prevent the key from coming out of the ignition when the vehicle isn’t in Park. It is common for the end of the actuator to break off, rendering the vehicle unable to start and creating the conditions where the key can be removed when the shifter is in any position.
Keep in mind:
- The steering column actuator only applies to a particular set of older vehicles.
How it's done:
- The vehicle's front wheels are put straight and the vehicle battery is disconnected
- The defective steering column actuator is removed
- The new steering column actuator is installed
- The vehicle battery is reconnected
- The vehicle is started and checked for steering column actuator operation
The steering column actuator is buried deep inside the steering column, and does not require maintenance or servicing. If your key doesn’t start your vehicle and there is no resistance or spring when you turn the key, it may be that your steering column actuator needs to be replaced. Have one of our expert mechanics inspect and repair it if required.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Steering Column Actuator?
- Ignition turns with no resistance on the key
- Key can be removed when the vehicle is not in Park
How important is this service?
The steering column actuator is vital to the operation of your car. Since your vehicle will not start if the actuator is broken, you will need to have it repaired right away.