Like most Volvo owners, you likely do not take time to think of the complex series of action and reactions that take place each time you ignite your car. That’s because Volvo cars are so efficient you do not have to worry about ignition failure. As such, putting in the ignition key and firing the engine to life looks normal. But it’s still good to know a thing or two about ignition. After all, ignition problems are no fun. Here’s a list of 5 common ignition switch issues and how to fix them.
Steering Wheel Binding
The ignition cylinder is connected to your car’s steering wheel lock. This means a potential burglar or thief will find it impossible to steer the car without its key. While this is a good thing, always remember that if you turn the steering wheel after switching off the car engine, the car’s steering wheel lock will bind. This will prevent you from turning on the ignition. Fortunately, fixing this problem is easy. Simply turn the wheel back and forth gently until the ignition cylinder becomes freed.
Worn Out Ignition Cylinder
It goes almost without saying that mechanical things succumb to wear and tear over time. Key cylinders are not an exception. Heavy key chains may also add extra stress to the ignition cylinder. Eventually, they ignition key may fall out of the ignition cylinder. It may also fail to turn out of its lock position. The solution here is simple. Get a new lockset complete with new keys. Get a new ignition cylinder too. You might also want to consider getting a matched lockset which includes trunk cylinders.
Ignition Switch Fault
The Volvo ignition switch is connected to the ignition cylinder by a lever or a shaft. Inside the ignition switch are several contacts that connect other electrical systems designed to make ignition possible. These electrical systems must work in unison for your car to start. The systems, which include ignition, switch contacts and springs. They may succumb to wear and tear or temperature related problems. Again, the solution here is simple. After making sure that the relays, circuits and fuses are intact, replace the ignition switch with a new one.
Modern Volvo models with mobilizers are fitted with transponder keys designed to either enable or disable the engine. It is simply a chip in the key which transmits a unique code out of several millions. So if the code matches the ones that are programmed into the car, the engine starts. An incorrect key that is not programmed or is damaged does the opposite. It prevents the engine from starting. There’s also what Volvo ignition experts refer to as ‘code confusion’. This mostly happens where you have multiple keys, so you end up using the wrong one over and over.
Electrical problems can also cause immobilizer problems. The most common problem here is a broken immobilizer antenna wiring. The wiring, which encircles the ignition cylinder can easily prevent the engine immobilizer from accurately reading the transponder codes. Keys that have battery amplified transponders can also cause ignition problems if the battery dies. The solution here is simple. Replace the amplifier battery if it is dead. For the other problems, look for a professional to make sure all keys are correctly programmed to the immobilizer and that the entire system is electrically sound.