A Stepwise Guide On How To Remove An Ignition Lock Cylinder Without A Key

Key Takeaway

  • To remove the ignition lock cylinder without a key, take a screwdriver and place it inside the ignition lock cylinder and rotate the cylinder as far clockwise as you can. Then, take a paperclip and pull it as far to the right as you can.
  • You must disconnect the negative cable from the car battery while removing an ignition lock cylinder.

My brother bought a new car last year and handed the old one to his daughter, who lives in the same city as me. My niece treats her new buddy like a baby and is completely smitten with it. Knowing my love for cars, she frequently calls me for advice on how to maintain her vehicle.

A couple of days ago, she called me in a panic as her key got stuck in the ignition. I drove over to her place and tried to remove the key but broke it in the process. I removed the broken portion of the key from the ignition lock cylinder using a pair of tweezers, but I needed assistance from my mechanic friend for the next step. He told me to change the ignition lock cylinder, but we had no spare keys. 

As a result, I had to find out the steps to remove the ignition lock cylinder without a key. After thorough research and having hands on the procedure, I can tell that it is possible to do so, and hence, I decided to write an article on the same. 

In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the steps of how to remove the ignition lock cylinder without a key. 

Signs That You Need To Change The Ignition Lock

Signs That You Need To Change The Ignition Lock

Following are some signs and symptoms that you might need to change your ignition lock cylinder. But I have noticed occasionally that these issues could be caused by other problems as well, so it’s important to diagnose the problem well before replacing the lock cylinder.

Difficulty in starting the vehicle: If your key turns, but the vehicle won’t start, it could be a sign that the ignition lock cylinder needs to be changed.

Unusual sounds when trying to start the vehicle: If you hear a clicking or grinding noise when turning the key, it could mean that the lock cylinder needs to be replaced.

Key is stuck in the ignition: If the key is stuck and you can’t get it out, it could mean that the ignition lock cylinder has become worn and needs to be changed.

Worn keys: If the key is visibly worn, scratched, or damaged, it might mean that the lock cylinder needs to be changed.

How To Remove Ignition Lock Cylinder Without A Key

Removing an ignition lock cylinder without a key is generally not a challenging process. I will take you through a stepwise guide for the same in this guide.

Material Required

Before starting the process of removing and replacing the ignition lock cylinder, you will need to collect a few essential tools:

  • Safety glasses 
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Paperclip (straightened)
  • Needle-nose pliers 
  • Replacement ignition lock cylinder 

Steps To Remove The Ignition Lock Cylinder Without Key

  • Step 1: Before beginning any work on a car, it is important first to disconnect the negative cable from the car battery in order to prevent potential electrocution.
  • Step 2: To access the ignition cylinder in a car, first remove the screws that hold the upper and lower covers of the column. After doing so, remove the wheel and center cover. Additionally, note if there are wires connecting the horn to the steering wheel; disconnect these when removing them.
    ignition cylinder
  • Step 3: Look for the wiper and indicator switches on the steering wheel and remove them.
    indicator switches on the steering wheel
  • Step 4: Now that the wiper and indicator switches have been removed, you will be able to easily spot the spacer columns from their original position near the steering wheel column. After reaching behind these components, slide the sleeves up, so they are fully extended.
  • Step 5: To disable the keyless start feature, first locate and remove the mounting screws for the ignition switch. Next, disconnect the wires connecting to the ignition lock cylinder switch at its rear. Finally, loosen the tabs on this switch and pull it out.
  • Step 6: To remove the mounting screw and bolt, first locate the housing and then unscrew or loosen the bolts that hold it together. After doing so, identify the cylinder on top that needs to be removed as well. Insert a pin into a pinhole to trigger the cylinder’s mechanism to release.
  • Step 7: To secure the cylinder and prevent the engine from starting, insert a straightened paperclip into the lock slot on the side of your car. Turning it to the left will do this.
    straightened paperclip
  • Step 8: To open the cylinder, place a flat-head screwdriver in the hole near one of its ends and push it towards the center. Be sure to move your tool as far left as possible before trying to pull it back out; once you reach your limit, use a paper clip straightened outwardly to twist off the lid.
    flat-head screwdriver
  • Step 9: Finally, please switch your ignition lock from the initial position. If you do this correctly, your cylinder should slide out easily
    ignition lock .

Precautions While Removing Ignition Lock Cylinder

Before attempting to remove an ignition lock cylinder, it is important to ensure that you are taking the necessary safety precautions. 

  • Make sure to turn off the engine and remove the key from the ignition.
  • Disconnect the negative battery cable. This will prevent electrical shock from any of the wirings in the car.
  • Unplug any airbags and other sensors that are connected to the steering wheel. This will prevent them from being damaged during the process.
  • Wear protective clothing such as gloves and safety glasses.
  • Check for any hidden screws or clips that may be holding the lock in place.
  • Take note of any special instructions that came with the new lock cylinder.

Following these safety precautions will help to ensure that you don’t cause any damage to your car or yourself during the process of removing an ignition lock cylinder without a key.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why would I need to remove my ignition lock cylinder?

Answer – You may need to remove your ignition lock cylinder if it becomes damaged or if you need to replace it with a new one. This could be due to wear and tear over time, lost or broken keys, or if you want to upgrade your security system.

Q2. How to change the ignition lock cylinder without a key?

Answer – Follow the steps given below to change the ignition lock cylinder.

  • Step 1: Carefully remove the old cylinder from the steering column following the steps given above.
  • Step 2: Place the new cylinder in the same spot, lining up the notches with the slot in the steering column.
  • Step 3: Secure the new lock cylinder into place with the retaining screws.
  • Step 4: Test that the new lock cylinder works properly by turning it “on” and off a few times. If it works properly, you’re done!

Q3. How much does it cost to remove an ignition cylinder without a key?

Answer. Removing an ignition lock cylinder without a key can be done at home with a few simple tools, so you won’t have to worry about additional costs for professional services. However, if you do choose to take it to a locksmith, it can cost anywhere from $50 to $100, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.


Removing and changing an ignition lock cylinder without a key can be challenging, but it can be done if you follow the right steps and have the right tools. With patience and care, you can successfully remove an ignition lock cylinder without a key, allowing you to start your car again and drive safely. Be sure to double-check all connections before putting your ignition lock cylinder back in place, and always consult with a professional if you need clarification on any step in the process. Good luck!

For any other assistance with car ignition locks, feel free to write in the comment section. I shall be happy to guide you.

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Hey! I am Mark. Though I am not a locksmith by profession, but locks have always fascinated me since my teens. And it all started when I got locked out of my house and I had to pick the lock. Since then it has become my hobby to learn more about different kinds of locks, understand their working and methods to pick them up. In due course of time, I have also become better aware of how installing the right lock goes a long way in ensuring iron clad security. I aim to share my passion (about locks) through this blog. If you are also passionate about picking locks or are just looking to beef up the security, hop on the ride.