If you’ve lost your keys, it’s a good idea to take your vehicle to a dealership to have them delete the keys from your car’s computer system. Doing this would prevent whoever found your keys from unlocking the doors with the fob.
They can also start the ignition with the key, but they could still unlock the door, trunk, and glove box with the key. This would require buying replacement keys and having them programmed at your dealer.
If someone has stolen your vehicle and you’ve then got it back in your possession, it’s a good idea to have all the lock cylinders on the vehicle replaced. Most dealerships will offer a kit that will come with all brand new lock cylinders and keys with a new key code.
By having this done at the dealership, the new key code will be registered to your VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number. If you ever need a replacement key, they will be able to cut you a new key matching the new cylinders now installed on your vehicle.
How Much Should It Cost?
Labour can range from very little to a lot, depending on which component is being replaced. Also, it is dependent on location.
Assume a labour rate of £70 an hour for an independent shop and £100 an hour for a dealership. Additional fees may be required if rekeying the lock cylinder is needed or if the new ignition switch needs to be programmed to the vehicle.
- 2008 Chevrolet Impala
The labour time to replace the ignition switch is estimated at 0.9 hours and 0.6 hours to remove and replace the ignition lock cylinder, not including rekeying labour.
To replace the ignition switch assembly at an independent shop, the labour would cost around £63, and the switch assembly can range between £56 and £93 depending on the brand. This aftermarket ignition switch comes with the lock cylinder and keys. If you wish to have the new lock cylinder match the original keys, you will be charged an additional hour of labour to rekey the new lock cylinder.
At the dealership, the labour would cost around £95 for just the ignition switch service, and the ignition switch price alone would be between £23 and £37. With this repair done at the dealership, just the switch can be replaced, whereas aftermarket parts would be the entire ignition switch assembly.
If you only need the lock cylinder replaced at the dealership, the labour would be around £168 to remove the old lock cylinder and rekey the new lock cylinder. The cost of the lock cylinder at the dealership can range between £46 and £84.
- 2011 Honda Civic
The labour is estimated at around 1 hour to replace just the switch portion. If the housing or lock cylinder is being replaced, it is estimated at 1.5 hours, not including rekeying labour.
At the independent shop, the labour cost of replacing just the switch would be around £70. The cost of the ignition switch alone would range between £23 and £37 for an aftermarket switch; no programming required.
If a lock cylinder is needed, it would cost £105 in labour, and a full ignition switch assembly (housing, switch, lock cylinder, and new keys) would range between £140 and £210. Rekeying the new lock cylinder would cost extra, and the new ignition switch assembly may need to be programmed.
At the dealership, the labour for just the switch component would cost around £105, and just the switch part can range between £46 and £93. If the entire assembly or just the lock cylinder needs to be replaced, you would need to buy the entire assembly.
The labour to replace the entire assembly would cost around £157, and the cost of the assembly would range between £350 and £397. Rekeying the new lock cylinder would cost extra, and the new ignition switch assembly would need to be programmed at an additional cost.
If your 2011 Honda Civic was stolen and you needed to replace all the lock cylinders on your car, it would take an additional 1.9 hours to replace the front door lock cylinders, trunk lock cylinder, and glove box lock cylinder. This would be on top of the 1.5 hours to replace the ignition lock cylinder.
Most dealerships/manufacturers offer a full kit that will come with new keys that match all lock cylinders being replaced. These kits are typically only available at the dealership, and the cost of the kit can range between £560 and £655, not including labour.
If done at the dealership, they will update the new key configuration to your VIN, so if you are ever in need of just a replacement key, they will be able to get you one.
- 2014 Toyota Camry
The labour to replace the ignition switch assembly is estimated at 2.1 hours, and the labour to replace just the lock cylinder is 0.8 hours.
At the independent shop, the labour to replace the ignition switch assembly would be around £145, and the switch assembly would range between £93 and £140 for an aftermarket switch assembly. Programming may be required.
The lock cylinder alone is not an available part. However, if the lock cylinder needs to be rekeyed, it would cost £56 in labour to remove the lock cylinder and an additional hour of labour to rekey it.
At the dealership, the labour for the entire ignition switch assembly would cost around £220, and the entire assembly would range between £140 and £235 depending on which type of ignition switch your vehicle has, as there are two options.
Additional Costs That Might Be Required
Depending on the vehicle and the manufacturer’s security system, you may have to have the ignition switch programmed to the vehicle, which usually costs an additional hour of labour.
If you are having your lock cylinder re-keyed to match your original key, most dealerships and independent shops will charge an additional hour to perform this. These two additional hours are usually an additional cost and are not built in to how much it costs to fix the ignition switch assembly.
Older vehicles don’t require programming of the ignition switch assembly, or the programming is very simple and does not require any special software or scan tools. On the other hand, most modern vehicles from 2007 and up will likely need to be programmed by your dealer.
What Is An Ignition Switch?
An ignition switch is a device used to start the engine when a key is inserted into the lock cylinder and turned. The ignition switch is made up of three components.
The first component is the ignition switch housing. The housing is bolted or connected to the steering column and is usually secured with anti-tamper bolts to prevent thieves from removing it and bypassing the need for a key.
There may be additional components on the ignition switch housing, such as the immobiliser, anti-theft key reader, or transponder reader. The immobiliser unit reads the transponder inside the key and verifies that it is a key that is registered to the vehicle.
The second component is the lock cylinder. This is a cylinder that has little springs and tumblers that when the correct key is inserted into the cylinder, the tumblers lineup on the different grooves on the key and allow the lock cylinder to be turned.
The wrong key will not allow the tumblers to slide into position, making it impossible to turn the lock cylinder. If a thief manages to break the lock cylinder and tries to start the car, the immobilizer/anti-theft unit will prevent the engine from starting.
The third component is the ignition switch. The switch is either connected to the back of the housing or integrated into the housing itself. On some cars, this is a serviceable component, and on other cars, the entire switch assembly needs to be replaced.
So Which Component Do You Need To Replace?
If your key goes into the lock cylinder but doesn’t turn or binds when trying to turn, it’s very likely that your lock cylinder has worn out. Replacing just the lock cylinder is going to save you money, and if you have it re-keyed to match your original key, everything will work just fine.
Many times you won’t have to program the key if you only replace the lock cylinder, which will save you money if you replace the entire switch assembly.
If your key is able to turn in the ignition switch but the engine does not start, you might have a failed ignition switch. Depending on the vehicle, it may be just the switch component, or it might be the entire assembly. You could also have a bad anti-theft/immobiliser reader that has failed, causing these same symptoms.
The housing is usually only replaced due to it being a full assembly or due to damage from theft. At an independent shop that uses aftermarket parts, you’re likely to always get an entire ignition assembly. Aftermarket ignition assemblies come with the switch, the housing, and the lock cylinder with precut keys. However, these keys are not going to match your original keys. The new aftermarket keys will start the car but will not unlock the doors, glove box or trunk.