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How to Remove Ignition Lock Cylinder Chevy Without Key- 6 Easy Steps!

How to remove the ignition lock cylinder in your Chevy without a Key… this is a common question for many Chevrolet owners. The ignition lock cylinder needs a key to get the engine started but below, I have outlined the steps required to remove the ignition lock without a key from your chevy truck.

You may be asking why anyone would need to do this unless they had something unlawful planned?

Well, I’ll tell you:

The ignition lock cylinder consists of tumblers and pins that make sure the vehicle can be started only with the right key. In some cases, those tumblers stick or become worn out. Consequently, the cylinder might not turn even when you insert the appropriate key.

Furthermore, if the key or some other object gets broken inside the ignition, you will have a bit of a problem getting your car started.

Another experience you may have, is the cylinder might stick in the ‘run’ or ‘on’ position, and you cannot turn off Ignition the whole way.

If any of the above is true for you, read on and find out how to remove the Ignition lock cylinder in Chevy without the key.

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High-quality ignition lock cylinders at a glance

Ready to buy a replacement?

If you need to replace your ignition lock, have a look at our list of high-quality ignition lock cylinders below:

AppearanceIgnition Lock CylinderDetails
APDTY Ignition Lock Cylinder: Including New Keys And Passlock Chip
Dorman Heavy-duty Ignition Lock Cylinder
Strattec Ignition Lock Cylinder- Ford Focus
Dorman 924-793 Auto Coding Ignition Lock Cylinder
Original Engine Management Ignition Lock Cylinder
Motorcraft Ignition Switch and Lock Cylinder
Beck Arnley Ignition Lock Cylinder
ACDelco GM Original Equipment Black Ignition Lock Cylinder
LockCraft For Select Ford Ignition Switch Lock Cylinder
ACDelco GM Original Equipment Uncoded Ignition Lock Cylinder

What is the ignition lock cylinder?

Put simply,

it is the thing that you insert your key into.

The ignition lock cylinder of a car is an important mechanical component that is required for you to start your car. Each and every ignition lock is unique and its corresponding key is designed to lift the internal pin so that the ignition can turn and start up.

This is mounted within the ignition switch. This is an electrical component that provides power to the vehicle, which allows the engine to turn by activating the starter motor.

Most ignition lock cylinders are found on the right side of your steering column and have four turning positions with the following functions:

  1. unlocking the steering wheel
  2. providing power to the vehicle’s accessories
  3. turning on the vehicle’s computer and fuel system
  4. Starting the engine

Traditional ignition lock cylinders are still common in many trucks and cars being driven on the roads these days. However, many of the newer cars are now made with keyless starting systems and simply have push-buttons that power on your car:

Keyless start push button

Why is the ignition lock cylinder important?

It is a vital component to starting a car but its is important because it is a barrier that prevents thieves from stealing a car.

As previously mentioned, each ignition and key is unique and very difficult to replicate so anyone with unlawful intentions is going to have a hard time starting your car without the correct key.

To summarise, it reduces the concerns of car theft… one of the biggest problems for any vehicle owner.

How to remove and replace ignition lock cylinder without key (in 6 steps)

how to remove ignition lock cylinder chevy without key

You need various tools for the removal process. These include:

Now that you have gathered the tools, let’s get started with how to remove ignition lock cylinder chevy without key step-by-step.

The steps are below but this video also provides all the detail you need to remove your ignition switch:

Step 1: Disconnect the Battery:

Disconnect your negative battery cable from the car. This will eliminate the risks of getting a shock while you operate the ignition switch assembly.

In case there is an airbag in your car, disable it. Remove the cover of the airbag switch on the side or bottom of the steering wheel.

Also, disconnect the electrical connection that leads straight to the airbag. Let any accumulated charges dissipate from the electrical wiring of your car. This will take around 10 minutes.

Step 2: Disassemble the Steering Column cover:

Disassemble the covering of the steering column with a socket wrench and a screwdriver. Lower the panels of the dashboard in order to get access to the ignition switch.

There are varying panel combinations in various vehicles that have to be taken out. But you have to see the entire ignition switch assembly and steering column.

Step 3: Unplug All-Electric Cables:

Unplug the electrical connection that leads to the ignition switch. A few cars might have two connections which have to be disconnected.

Step 4: Remove Ignition Switch:

Unscrew the ignition switch screws or mounting bolts with a socket wrench or screwdriver. Unbolt its assembly and ignition switch housing that comprises of the lock cylinder.

A few models comprise of interchangeable lock cylinders, and these can be taken out by turning the vehicle’s ignition key to the position of the accessories and introducing a pin inside a pinhole having a release mechanism.

But you cannot get this option with all the vehicles.

Step 5: Checking Security Issues:

Check the mounting bolts for the housing of your ignition switch. There are snap-off bolt heads for safety in a few models, which can prevent ignition switch replacement and thieves running away with your car.

You require a power-drill for drilling out the bolts used for mounting the housing of the ignition switch to the steering column. The drill needs to have screw extractors.

Step 6: Finalizing the Procedures:

Have the locking cylinder assemblies and ignition switch replaced? A few models might need you to introduce the cylinder into the assembly of the ignition switch in case the two components are separately sold.

It should best be done before the installation of fresh components into your car’s steering column. You might have to turn the car’s new ignition key into the accessories position in the lock cylinder before you introduce it into the vehicle’s ignition switch.

Reconnect the cable of the negative battery terminal to the electrical connections, to test the car’s ignition switch. Switch the car on. In case it properly cranks, you will only have to reconnect the steering column panels and covers and the airbag.

If the switch works properly, your problem will easily be resolved. In case you lack the original key, you have to replace the complete ignition switch assembly instead of just the lock cylinder.

As automobile keys are complex, picking a Chevy lock cylinder is much more complex than a regular doorknob. But following the above steps will help you to remove the ignition lock cylinder easily from Chevy models without keys.

How to Remove and Install New Ignition Lock Cylinder

The above steps should have shown you how to bypass ignition switch on chevy truck but due to the reason you needed to remove it you will likely need to replace it as well.

This video will provide some insight:

Do I need to replace my ignition switch?

When an ignition lock cylinder develops problems, there are quite a few signs that can notify drivers of the probable issues. It is essential to keep this component in proper condition in order to maintain the security of a vehicle.

Over time, natural wear and tear can occur and if the damage cannot be repaired you may have to replace it. If it is not replaced, turning the key could be difficult and there can be problems in bringing the engine to a halt even if you remove the key.

Common ignition switch problems and symptoms:

Just like other car performance problems, the failure of the ignition lock cylinder results in particular issues that drivers have to stay aware of. The signs and symptoms of the failure can alert drivers of possible problems.

Key won’t come out of ignition lock system

This is one of the first and foremost symptoms of a potential failure of an ignition lock cylinder. As you turn it on repeatedly, it will ultimately start wearing out each time you start the car.

An ignition cylinder that is worn out might not properly operate once you insert the key.

This can pose some problems with some of the key positions. In some positions, the key might not work properly or might have to be jostled before the key begins to work.

Generally, the problem can get worse until the whole unit fails entirely over time.

Car won’t start when you turn the ignition

A no-start condition is another common symptom of potential problems with an ignition lock cylinder. The cylinder is associated with an electronic car ignition switch.

It helps power a vehicle on and makes it start. If the cylinder breaks or wears out, it can prevent the car from starting when you insert and turn the key.

A ‘No Start’ problem might also arise from various other issues. Thus, it is highly recommended that you get the car diagnosed properly.

Problems with inserting the key and removing it

This is another common symptom of a possible issue with the ignition lock cylinder. Once the key is repeatedly inserted, taken out and turned, the key and cylinder will start wearing down and lead to problems with the cylinder’s operation.

A cylinder that has worn out might bind or jam once the key is introduced, turned or taken out. This can interfere with powering on or starting the car.

Generally, such problems continue to worsen until the key does not fit anymore and the cylinder is not properly unlocked when the key is inserted.


In case your car’s ignition lock cylinder does not turn and your car does not begin, you are likely to be left in the middle of the road – waiting for a cab. If your ignition cylinder remains in an “on” position, your car may be susceptible to being stolen, with the keys remaining within.

Once the symptoms arise, you need to remove the ignition cylinder and replace it. The above steps will help you to do that in a proper way.

Although, many newer Chevy models are being shipped with keyless starting systems and push-buttons, ignition lock cylinders are still common in a few of them as well.

In case you feel that the cylinder might have developed a problem, have a professional technician inspect the car and determine whether the cylinder has to be replaced.

Without advanced knowledge about car repairs, you might not find it easy to carry out removal and replacement in a proper way. In such a case, it is better that you order a replacement lock cylinder which has been built as per OEM specifications.

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