Whether your engine starts with the turn of a key or the push of a button, the ignition is an essential feature for every car. If you have a problem with your ignition, it’s imperative that you have it checked out by a trusted auto mechanic to ensure your vehicle and the accessories can continue running without trouble. Below are a few symptoms of ignition failure that drivers should watch out for.

How to Tell When the Ignition Is Failing

1. The Engine Is Stalling

Engine stalling can be caused by a variety of component failures, fuel problems, and mechanical issues, such as a faulty fuel pump or an empty gas tank. If your vehicle stalls while you’re driving, however, there’s a strong chance the ignition switch is at fault. The ignition switch can fail when the engine is operating and cut off power to the ignition and fuel system, causing your engine to stall. It may take some time to restart the car after this occurs.

2. Accessories Don’t Power On

When you turn your key auto mechanicin the ignition or push to start, all of your vehicle’s internal accessories should power on momentarily. This includes all of the lights on the dashboard. If these accessories flicker or don’t light up at all, you might be dealing with a faulty ignition switch or lock cylinder. Fuse and wiring issues can produce similar results, so be sure to bring your vehicle to an auto mechanic to find the root cause.

3. You Can’t Turn the Key

Ignition switches wear out with time and frequent use, so it’s not unusual for older vehicles to develop problems. If your key doesn’t turn when you insert it into the ignition, extensive wear may be preventing proper alignment. Your auto mechanic might need to replace your ignition lock cylinder completely.

4. Your Car Won’t Start

A vehicle unable to start at all is a fairly direct symptom of a failing ignition. At most, you might get a weak sputter that ultimately ends in the engine stalling. This is typically due to corrosion of the electrical circuit preventing the proper flow of electricity, but you’ll need an expert to diagnose the true cause. In the meantime, avoid repeated attempts to turn the engine, which will drain your battery.


If your vehicle’s ignition is giving you trouble, the auto mechanics at Car Care Clinic at Gateway Transmissions can help. With two convenient locations in Mount Vernon and Oak Harbor, WA, they offer professional auto repairs and maintenance on all makes and models. Their technicians undergo continuous training and education, so they are equipped with the comprehensive industry knowledge necessary to give every vehicle the ultimate treatment. Visit their website for more information about their services. Call (360) 424-3100 to schedule a car repair at their Mount Vernon location, or dial (360) 679-0700 to contact Oak Harbor.