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How to Program a New Ignition Lock Cylinder? – 13 Steps

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to program a new ignition lock cylinder

Over the course of time, a lock and its key will not work due to rusting or broken internal mechanisms, and the ignition lock cylinder and your car key are not an exception. That is why you sometimes have to get a new ignition switch, so you can gain access to your car again.

However, there are certain steps you need to complete to have a perfectly working new ignition cylinder with key. The most important part of the replacement is the programming.

So, I will show you how to program a new ignition lock cylinder in this article.

Step-by-Step to Program a New Ignition Lock Cylinder

It is important to follow LockSmart ignition lock cylinder instructions or the manual of whatever product you have. However, if you do not have an instruction available, you can still follow these steps to program an ignition lock cylinder replacement with key:

Step 1. Set your parts and tools on a nice clean surface. This way, you can immediately grab the parts you’re going to work with.


Step 2. Get your old ignition lock cylinder and locate the part where the pin is going to come out. One telltale sign is that there is a circle space where the pin comes out.


Step 3. Flip the ignition lock cylinder and locate the space where you can insert your pick.


Step 4. Insert the pick inside the space. The pin should fall out the other side as soon as you go deep enough.


Step 5. With your fingers, remove the pin out of the cylinder and set it aside.


Step 6. Check the number on the removed pin and write it down on the ignition lock cylinder diagram.


Step 7. Get a spring from your ignition lock cylinder replacement set and insert it into your new key and ignition lock cylinder.


Step 8. Get a number three pin from your ignition lock cylinder replacement set and insert it above the newly attached spring. This is the recoding ignition lock cylinder process.


Step 9. Check the newly attached pin by inserting the key and turning it. The pin should be set if everything is working correctly.


Step 10. Repeat steps two to eight until all of the pins in your ignition lock cylinder are accounted for.


Step 11. After the pins are installed, try inserting the key. All of the pins should move when you turn the key.


Step 12. Lubricate your lock cylinder so that it will work smoothly. You now have a new ignition lock ready to work.

Step 13. To program the key in your car:

  • Insert the new cylinder into the ignition slot and reconnect the battery.
  • Put the key into the On position for 11 minutes. This will work for GM ignition lock cylinder coding and most cars in general. When the security light stops illuminating, it means you’re done with this step and can move the key to the Off position.
  • Repeat the above process with key two times before starting the vehicle.

Helpful Tips

Do you have to reprogram car after changing ignition switch?

The key must be programmed to the ECM in the car, so you either have to reprogram the key or take the old one to a dealer and have a new ignition built from it. Honda and Ford, for example, will require you to code ignition cylinder.

For you to be sure, you might want to either take a look at your vehicle’s manual or consult a car professional or the manufacturer.

Where is the ignition cylinder code?

The ignition cylinder code is usually located on the left side of the cylinder, which is where you put your keys into.

Does a new ignition switch come with a key?

Yes. The new lock cylinder will come with a key. Generally, it’s a must to use the new key if the car has an immobilizer system. You can also opt for a new lock cylinder that matches your original one to avoid the trouble of changing keys.


Just like doors, cabinets, and drawers, the security features of your car should also be checked and updated when necessary, especially when your work involves driving to places.

Knowing how to program a new ignition lock cylinder will go a long way. Head to your local car shop and buy a new ignition lock cylinder if yours no longer works.

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