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How to Remove an Ignition Lock Cylinder Without a Key: Guide for Popular Cars

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to remove an ignition lock cylinder without a key

A lock cylinder for ignition plays a vital role in any car engine as its sparks ignite the air-compressed mix and fuel inside the engine. Without the key, it is impossible to turn on the ignition cylinder to start a car.

Due to the distinctiveness of a car key and its lock cylinder, losing this key means you will have to remove and replace the latter unit. So how to remove an ignition lock cylinder without a key easily even for inexperienced car owners?

Rely on our clear instructions to replace ignition switch without key for some of the most popular types of cars on the market, including Ford and Chevy. Keep on reading this article to follow the best guidance you can get.

What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial


Before taking out an ignition lock cylinder without a key or drill it on your own, we would like to suggest you hire a car locksmith or technician for the removal of this component. DIY steps should only be taken if no professional is available.


Here are separate tutorials that you can follow and apply to your car from Ford or Chevy, when you lost the key and have to remove the ignition lock cylinder:

Step By Step Instructions


Method 1. Remove Ignition Lock Cylinder Without Key (general instructions)

Removing ignition lock cylinder without key, in general, is not a difficult process. We will guide you through each step to ensure the best result possible.

  • Disconnect car battery

This is the very first thing you have to do because it will guarantee your safety by preventing electrocution while you work on the car. Take the negative cable terminal out to disconnect the car battery.

  • Remove steering wheel

By getting the steering wheel out of its position, you can access the ignition cylinder easier. Taking the screws out will remove the column’s upper and lower cover.

Next, lift the wheel after pulling the center cover. You should disconnect the horn’s connecting wires, and do not forget to keep the nuts and washers while removing the steering wheel. Pull this component from the shaft.

  • Get the wiper and indicator switches out

Identify the location of the wiper and indicator switches. Remove the items from your steering wheel.

  • Take the sleeves out of the steering column

You will find the spacer columns quite visible from the position of the steering wheel column. After you have removed the wiper and indicator switches, slide the sleeves up.

  • Turn off electrical connection for the ignition switch

After you found the ignition switch’s mounting screws, remove them then pull this switch out. There are wires at the ignition lock cylinder switch’s rear, and your job is to disconnect them. Loosening the tabs helps you draw this switch out.

  • Get the mounting bolts out for a check

In this step, you will need to do a mounting screw and bolt removal on the ignition switch. Take a flat screwdriver or a socket wrench for the task.

Identify the housing and the assembly that consist of the cylinder to remove their bolts. For your information, nearly all cars have ignition lock cylinders that are similar to each other. Get a pin, put it into a pinhole; that way, it will trigger the cylinder’s mechanism to release.

  • Enter a straightened clip

Insert a straight paperclip into your lock cylinder slot and turn it to the left. This action secures the cylinder to stop the commencement of the ignition.

  • Put in a flat-head screwdriver

Move the flat-head screwdriver to the right after you place it into the cylinder. Try to move it as far as possible. When you find the screwdriver reaching its limit, it is time to pull the straightened paper clip to your right.

  • Get the ignition lock out

Slide your switch from the initial position. We are certain that your ignition lock cylinder will slide out quite easily if you follow our instructions properly.

Recommended read: Guide to pick a lock with a paperclip.

Method 2. Remove Ignition Lock Cylinder Without Key Ford

In terms of Ford cars, the removal process of its ignition lock cylinder without a key is similar to our guide above, but there are some extra steps to take.

  • Get the airbag out

Your first move is to remove the battery’s negative terminal so you can work as close as possible to the airbag. Taking the bag out will help avoid unwanted injuries.

  • Remove steering column and lower dash cover

In order to reach your ignition lock cylinder, remove the steering column and lower dash cover. After releasing the clip, gently pull this cover. Get the cover of the upper steering column and also the lever of the steering wheel.

  • Use a screwdriver & a straight clip

Take a small screwdriver and insert it along with a straightened clip. Turn the screwdriver, then remove your clip. You will see the cylinder sliding out easily.

You should be highly careful pulling your cylinder. Get the lock cylinder’s snap rings out and put them aside.

  • Use the new lock for tumbler saving

This is when the new lock’s tumblers require re-configuration so they can match the initial key. Match the old and new tumblers together, then the last step is to reassemble your new cylinder.

Check out this video for more information on ignition lock cylinder removal without key:

Method 3. Remove Ignition Lock Cylinder Without Key Chevy

Tumblers inside an ignition lock cylinder from Chevrolet are prone to wearing out, or its key might fall apart, sticking in the ignition. In these cases, it is important to replace this ignition lock cylinder. Do not forget that you need to make a battery disconnection before you begin.

  • Access your ignition switch

Use a screwdriver and a tension wrench to remove your steering wheel cover. By pulling the dashboard panel, you will be able to work with your ignition switch.

  • Take out electrical connections

Remove all of the electrical connections from your ignition switch cylinder.

  • Get bolts out from the switch

Proceed with a screw removal from the ignition so that you can disconnect the ignition switch’s assembly and housing.

  • Replace the old unit

After you have removed the old components, replace them with a new switch.


Now that you have knowledge on how to remove an ignition lock cylinder without a key, we bet you can handle any issues with the ignition lock cylinder system of your car, especially if it is a Ford or Chevy.

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Thank you for reading.

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