Automotive Column 56 Failed Ignition
Syndicated Newspaper Column
Too many keys on a ring or fancy heavy key rings can damage an ignition. Keeping extra items to a minimum will help keep the lock working its best.
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Dear Motor Medics,
Our 2004 Pontiac Grand Am is giving me trouble. It’s my daughter’s car and yesterday when she left work at five she couldn’t get the key to turn on. She said it was like it was the wrong key, she has two keys and she tried both. We had the car towed and they ended up replacing the ignition switch with a brand new part. I assume it was a quality part because we were at a dealership. Now two weeks later we are having the same issue with the key sticking but if you wiggle it just a little bit it will turn on. I took it back to the shop and they can’t verify the sticking issue because it only fails every few days then works fine for a while. Do you think the switch is bad again and why won’t they just give me another one?
Martin in Nebraska City Nebraska
Yes you may have a repeat bad switch but you could also have a bad cable from the shifter to the ignition lock cylinder. They don’t want to replace the switch again if it’s not bad and you don’t want to have to come back again when it still won’t work. Work with them and get some options so you get it resolved. Next, get that other key off her ring. Using the wrong key in a GM lock can damage it so eliminate that possibility.
Take care, the Motor Medics
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Advice given by the Motor Medics is for entertainment only. Each problem is different and requires different approaches and answers given here are opinions and just one possibility. In order to make an accurate diagnosis a qualified technician should make a hands-on diagnosis. Always follow all recommended safety procedures and consult with your own qualified technician before attempting repairs of any kind.