Every car enthusiast probably remembers the disastrous recall of ignition switches by GM. This fiasco led to over 97 deaths. So needless to say, this component needs to be looked after really well.
The most common Ford F350 Ignition Switch Problems includes too such as stuck keys, sudden stalls, tight steering, or an irresponsive engine. This is caused by dirt, damage to components, or wear and tear. The solution is a total replacement of the system.
A damaged ignition switch is one of the most frustrating problems out there as it essentially renders the vehicle useless. That’s why I made this complete guide on how to fix Ford F350 Ignition Switch.
Ford F350 Ignition Switch Problems – Causes Chart
The first step to fixing any problem is to understand it thoroughly. That is why I made this table to correlate the issues to their probable cause.
I’d like to put an emphasis on the word probable here as this is an estimation. It is impossible to accurately diagnose a vehicle without seeing it firsthand.
If any of this information confuses you, don’t worry, I will describe all of these problems and their causes later in the article.
|Key Won’t Turn||Dirt And Debris|
|Car Shuts Off Suddenly||Damaged Ignition Contacts|
|Stiff Steering Wheel||Faulty Ignition Cylinder|
|Engine Won’t Start||Over Usage|
What’s Wrong With Your Ford F350 Ignition Switch?
It is difficult to pinpoint the component that is causing a specific issue in your Ford F350. However, these 4 issues usually warrant a long hard look at the ignition switch.
#1. Key Won’t Turn
This is a fairly annoying issue and it is also the most common one. The key can either feel too loose or just jammed in one place. Either way, you won’t be able to turn the key, no matter how much force you use. In some cases, you won’t even be able to pull it out.
This is one of the few issues that you can directly pin on a faulty ignition switch. The key is only a part of this system.
#2. Car Shuts Off Suddenly
Picture this: you’re in the middle of a highway and your car suddenly shuts off. This is a total nightmare and unfortunately, it is a possibility if you have issues with your ignition switch.
However, it is smart not to jump to conclusions if you encounter this issue as there are a number of reasons why your car may stall. The most likely of which is a malfunctioning battery.
#3. Stiff Steering Wheel
Did you know the ignition switch is also connected to the steering wheel? Most systems in your car are interconnected and this is no exception. There is a lock on the ignition switch that keeps the wheel in place when the car is in the park.
A damaged ignition switch may activate this lock without prompt and lock your wheel. Again, this could also be caused by other issues such as a faulty steering wheel.
#4. Engine Won’t Start
If you are unable to start your engine even after being able to turn the key, it means that your ignition switch is totally beyond repair. That said, the problem may not be your ignition switch at all.
A dead engine is one of the hardest issues to diagnose as it can happen due to so many reasons. The engine is the part that powers the vehicle after all.
Why Is Your Ford F350 Ignition Switch Malfunctioning?
Again, these causes are interchangeable. The symptoms may not show up as expected. Nonetheless, you can rest assured that these 4 factors are to blame.
- Dirt And Debris
A lot of people don’t even consider this possibility because it’s such an obvious problem. Your key may not turn because there is too much dirt in your ignition shift.
Luckily, this means that your component is completely fine. All you need to do is clean it thoroughly and your key should turn smoothly.
- Damaged Ignition Contacts
If your car is having trouble staying on, the issue is likely in your ignition contacts. This is a part of the ignition switch that, as the name suggests, acts as the point of contact between the engine and the switch.
If these contacts are damaged for any reason, the ignition switch can’t connect to the engine. This may cause the vehicle to stall. Contacts are usually damaged by heat or impact.
- Faulty Ignition Cylinder
Remember how I mentioned that the ignition switch locks your steering wheel in place when the car is in a park? The component that does it is called the ignition cylinder. If this part is damaged, it may lock your steering wheel all of a sudden without warning.
- Over Usage
You may know this issue by its other name: wear and tear. Eventually, all parts of your car will succumb to the effects of time. However, this is quite unlikely for ignition switches as they usually last a very long time.
How To Start A Ford F350 Without The Ignition Switch?
Are you in a hurry and you just have to start your vehicle right now? These 3 makeshift solutions and 1 not-so-temporary fix should get the job done.
1. Remote Start
If you own a modern ford f350, you probably have the remote start function. In fact, since 2021, this has been a feature in every ford vehicle. Remote start allows you to turn on the engine without turning the key.
If your engine is functioning and the issue isn’t ‘wear and tear’, remote start should work like a charm.
Legally speaking, this is not allowed. However, since you are breaking into your own vehicle, you won’t press charges I hope. Hot wiring is only possible on older vehicles though.
3. Jumper Cables
If your vehicle doesn’t have a remote start and you don’t want to hotwire your car, you can follow these steps to give your car an emergency start.
- Step 1: Buy a high-quality pair of jumper cables
- Step 2: Ask a friend with a car for help
- Step 3: Connect the engines of the two cars with the jumper cables
- Step 4: Disconnect the ignition switch wire from the positive terminal
- Step 5: Use a screwdriver to short the positive terminal
- Step 6: Check if the vehicle has started
4. Total Replacement
You will have to resort to this solution eventually as none of the aforementioned methods offer long-term solutions. Go to a reliable auto shop and get your ignition switch completely replaced.
What Are Some Other Issues Found In The Ford F350?
The Ford F350 is a smart choice for anyone new to the truck scene. It is a well-rounded vehicle with a feature set that should satisfy your needs without breaking the bank. That said, the vehicle does have a few common issues such as
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Is An Ignition Switch?
An ignition switch is a switch in your car which starts and stops the vehicle. It is activated when you use the keys to turn on the engine. Most people know what it is but they don’t know the name of this component.
How Long Do Ignition Switches Last?
Ideally, an ignition switch should last decades. In most cases, they’ll last as long as the car itself. However, if you face any of the issues I discussed, you may need to replace yours.
Can I Fix My Ignition Switch Myself?
Yes but I highly recommend against it. It is a dangerous process as you need to work with tools next to an airbag. I suggest going to a mechanic for a quick, easy, and reliable fix.
Is The Ford F350 A Premium Option?
As I mentioned, the base model is a good choice for anyone looking for a good deal. But for those looking for a premium experience, the Super Duty F-350 LARIAT is the way to go. It is a total upgrade from the standard version, it caters to a more sophisticated audience.
All in all, Ford F350 Ignition Switch Problems are easy to fix but you shouldn’t delay the process at all. The damage can worsen over time and spread to the other components of your car.
Ensure that you go to a trustworthy mechanic and get your vehicle in good shape as soon as possible. With that said, I wish you the best with all your car troubles.