Causes, Signs & Symptoms of Bad Ignition Switch Problems(How to Start/Fix)  

Last updated on January 14th, 2023 at 10:12 am

Ignition System Problems and Solutions: As a car owner, experiencing ignition switch or system issues is a common occurrence that is known for being quite troublesome and there are some common and unsuspecting symptoms of the bad ignition switch, which I will discuss in the article.  

Having these bad ignition switch signs solved as soon as possible is the best way to prevent future issues, and that is why I will also show you how to test ignition switch and how to start car with bad ignition switch in the article. 

The fact that ignition system issues can prevent you from being able to start your car can be quite troublesome. While solving this issue yourself can be quite difficult, you don’t have to worry because this article contains all the necessary information. 

Please continue reading to learn more about the various ignition system problems and how to solve them.

Read also: How to Bypass Ignition Switch to Start Car

how to start car with bad ignition switch, symptoms of bad ignition switch

Problems & Symptoms of bad ignition switch

Catching the symptom of an issue before it becomes a full-blown problem is the best way to solve it. While there are various signs and symptoms of your car facing faulty ignition issues, below are the most common symptoms that can be easily observed. 

1. Light flickering on your dashboard

While driving your car, you might experience your dashboard light flickering from time to time. While there might be other reasons for this to happen, one of the most common causes is that your car ignition switch is developing issues. Getting your car checked up by a specialist is the best move to make as some as possible. 

2. Ignition Key Getting Stuck 

Ignition switches tend to wear out and require fixing or replacement from time to time. While tending to your car, this is another important symptom you need to consider. Your car may develop ignition issues if your key gets stuck while you try to turn it. This issue must be solved quickly because there might come a time when your car might continue running even after taking out the key. 

3. Car Engine Doesn’t Start 

When the ignition switch is unable to provide power to the car engine (most importantly, the ignition system), your car engine will not be able to start. While many issues can prevent your car from starting, having a faulty ignition system can be considered one of the major causes. In this situation, all you need to do is either contact your mechanic or mobile mechanic within reach. 

4. Stalling Car Engine

This symptom can simply be described as a momentary lapse in the power supply to the car engine before or after the ignition is turned on. This situation especially happens when your car key is in the on position and fails to turn on the engine. This issue is usually caused when your car ignition system has worn out over time. Taking your car to a mechanic will help you solve the issue in no time. 

5. Starter Motor Is Silent 

When you turn the ignition and don’t hear any noise, it is a sign that it might be faulty. One of the known causes of this is when your car has developed a blocked electrical pathway. While many reasons might cause this to occur, the best way to be certain is to have your car checked by a mechanic. 

how to start car with bad ignition switch

Ignition System Problems and Solutions

1.    Broken Key in the Ignition

Having your key broken inside your ignition is no small issue, but it can be easily solved with the right hands. Car keys tend to break when you use too much force, especially when they are already worn out. 

The best way to prevent this is by applying as little pressure as possible when turning on your car. Facing this issue puts you in a bind because you will need to fix this issue before being able to turn on your engine. 


Before calling your mechanic, there are a few tricks you can try out to remove the broken key part. By using a hacksaw blade or plier (whichever one is accessible, you can try pulling out the key. If pulling it out directly doesn’t work, you can try using a WD-40 or any other lubricant to make the process easier. 

2.    Stiff ignition: key doesn’t turn 

You might experience this problem when you try to turn on your car ignition, but the key wouldn’t bulge. This issue is quite common in new-generation cars. It might appear to be troublesome, but the best move is not to force it to prevent your key from breaking. Your key can get either because the ignition cylinder is worn out or even because of a steering lock. 


To remove a stuck key, try turning your steering wheel from side to side while rotating your car key. It would help if you kept in check how much pressure you try to use in removing the key. The last thing you want to do is worsen the situation. 

3.    Faulty Wafers

Your car ignition can steer up issues when the wafers are worn out. Wafer designs are the key patterns made inside the ignition switch and come in 3 clear-cut sizes. When your wafer gets old, worn out, or jammed, your key will not be able to move properly or even allow you to turn on your car.


Sometimes, this issue might be caused when something gets stuck in the ignition hole. You can either try to clean out the hole or replace the whole ignition switch if it is already worn out. 

4.    Faulty Push Start Switch

Push start switches to make starting your car much easier; however, they can be tough to deal with when they get faulty. When the push start fails, it might mean that the transponder does not resonate or is not recognized by the switch. Applying too much pressure to the switch can also play a part in making it faulty.


Push start switches are very delicate, trying to fix it by yourself when you don’t have the expertise will only make things worse. Taking your car to a mechanic specialist is the best move to make. 

5.    Using the Wrong Key

This is a common issue faced by car owners, especially by those with more than one car. When trying to turn on your car, you must use the right key for the right car. Cars naturally come with several key combinations, which might seem similar in some rare cases, but they are infinitely different. 


Pay close attention when you try to turn on your car at any time. If close attention is not paid, issues like the key beginning stuck or even breaking inside the ignition might occur. 

How to Test Ignition Switch

This section will lay out the various steps to lest your ignition switch with a multimeter. 

Step 1: 

To test your ignition switch, you first need to take off the casing covering the important parts of the ignition system. You will need to locate the shroud under your steering to test the ignition switch. After removing the shroud, you need to look for metal connectors. 

Step 2:

In this next step, you must run the test by setting your multimeter to 20 DC. You will need to consider your car battery in this part of the test. The normal car voltage range is usually set at 12 volts, therefore, using the 20 DC voltage range will make your reading all the more accurate. 

Step 3:

The next step is knowing where to place the multimeter probes. You can place the black probe on any metal part of the car (close to the ignition switch) while placing the red probe on the metal connectors close to your ignition switch. It is important to test the wire on the opposite part of the ignition switch to ensure the switch system is supplied with current.  

Step 4:

The last step is turning your ignition to the run position and checking the multimeter results. If the voltage test reading is close to your battery voltage, your ignition system works properly. You must check your car or replace it when you don’t get any reading from your multimeter.

How to start car with bad ignition switch

There are various ways how to start car with bad ignition switch or to turn on your car even when the ignition switch is faulty, let’s take a look at two simple methods. 

How To Start A Car With Bad Ignition Switch

1. Jump starting 

This method requires you to connect your car battery to the ignition coil. It would help if you connected the ignition coil’s positive side to your battery’s positive side. 

Next, find and connect the starter solenoid to the battery’s positive terminal and unplug the ignition switch wires connected to the solenoid. The final step is to short your car solenoid positive with the ignition switch, with this, your vehicle should start up if there are no other issues.

2. Hotwiring

To hotwire your car, you must locate the wire harness connector below your steering wheel. The main wires you need to look out for are the starter, battery, and ignition wires. For most vehicles, battery wires are usually colored red, and ignition wires are yellow or brown. After removing the insulation or the wires, you need to connect the ignition wire to the battery wire. Your car should come on after this. 


What’s Bad Ignition Switch Sound?

When your ignition switch is bad, there is usually no sound. This is because the ignition system cannot transmit or receive current; therefore, your car will not come on or make any sounds.

Will Bad Ignition Switch Cause Check Engine to Light?

Yes, most vehicle check engine lights will come on when the ignition switch or system malfunctions. The check engine light is convenient because you can easily decipher your vehicle’s issue.    

Can A Bad Ignition Switch Cause Rough Idle?

Yes, in some cases, a bad ignition switch can lead to a rough idle. This is why it is advisable to deal immediately with the ignition switch or system problems to prevent more issues in your car engine. 

can a bad ignition switch cause electrical problems?

Yes, a bad ignition switch can cause loss of power due to the fact that; the ignition switch, a starter responsible for activating all of the main electrical systems, which is crucial in keeping your car on the road.  You might experience problems with your ignition switch if you have or see any of the listed ignition switch bad symptoms. Your car might not start, or you may be unable to operate the radio or the vehicle’s power windows.

Can A Bad Ignition Switch Cause Transmission Problems?

No, having a bad ignition switch will not cause any transmission issues. 


This is where we draw the curtains on this topic. We have gone through a series of ignition system issues as well as their respective solutions, I hope this article ignition switch bad symptoms and how to start car with bad ignition switch was of help to you. If the issues with the car are hard to handle or fix by yourself, it is advisable to visit a mechanic to ensure that your car gets the best treatment.

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