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Ignition Cylinders

Recently I have had a problem with my key not being able to return to the off position and then removing it from the ignition. I would turn the steering wheel a couple of times and then the key would come out. Then, 2 weeks ago, my key became stuck in my ignition with the car running. I took it to the shop and they said my ignition cylinder had come apart. Last Friday the same thing happened. I took it back. They said the same thing had happened. They replaced it for no fee. However, it is 3 days after the 2nd repair and my key is still not returning to the off position properly. I looked online and found other 2005 Saturn owners that are having the same problem. They however, say it’s the ignition switch. Is the ignition switch different than the ignition cylinder? If so how? Also, Has any one else had this problem and is there a solution?


Most times, the ignition switch is located some distance from the column lock and is connected to it by a metal rod that runs down the column to the switch…If the switch or the rod jam for some reason, the key can become hard to turn… Column tear-downs can be an expensive nightmare especially on cars they don’t make anymore…On Many GM cars, the actual ignition switch is located on top of the steering column right next to the brake and clutch pedal arms. Very difficult to get to…

To answer your specific question, many people including myself often use the term ignition switch and ignition cylinder interchangably. In your case, based on the problem you’re describing, expect to hear both terms used.

Warning: should you become discouraged and attempt to fix this yourself, be sure to get a good repair manual and follow the directions for disabling the airbag. If that goes off not only might it cause injury but it would also be a very expensive error.