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Does it really take 4.5 hours to install an Ignition Lock Cylinder

OK, I’m in the nation’s capitol, a high-rent area. Dealership says it will take 4.5 hours to put a new ignition lock cylinder into my 2003 Saturn Ion. Does it really take that long?

shouldn’t…compare price/time with independent locksmith

It depends on how much surgery they need to do in order to get to the part. Installing the actual part takes 5 minutes, but if they have to take half the driver side dash apart to get at it, it could easily take that long.

It took me about an hour when I replaced the one in my 1991 CRX, but that was a car with no airbags, and a much simpler interior layout than the 2000’s cars.

That is likely “book” time. That means that 4.5 is the estimated time in the "book. You will generally be charged for 4.5 hours no matter how long it takes (10 minutes or 8 hours.) That way you know ahead of time what it will cost. If it takes less time, the dealer wins, if more you win.

I don’t worry about how long it takes or how they compute my cost, I just want to know what the final price will be so I cam compare prices.

On my Fords replacing the lock cylinder is a very simple 10 minute job.

Pick up a Haynes manual for your Ion (about 20 bucks at any parts store) and read the procedure for changing the lock cylinder.

Does it look like major surgery or does it look like a job you might want to do yourself??

Thank you for the insight. I note that a good thing to talk about with vendors is “booked” time versus “actual” time. I would do it myself, if I could, but I am so unmechanically inclined that my company won’t even let me clear paper jams from the copier. Thanks again, Betsy

The labor time to replace the ignition lock cylinder in your vehicle is .6 hours. Looks like you’re making someone elses boat payment.


There may be something lost in translation here. If the book time is .6 and the dealer wants 4.5 hours it would seem to me there is a bit or two missing in regards to this repair.

I’ve never done a switch on an Ion but if this repair is deeper than a lock cylinder (say the entire switch, etc, etc) it may be more complicated. Some switches require disabling of the airbags, dropping the steering column, etc, along with what can be a real pain in the neck sometimes; removal of anti-theft bolts and whatnot.

Do you have the keys? Without a key, the lock cylinder can be a real pain in some models. With the key, it can be done in minutes.