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Are the number of keys on your keychain ruining your ignition?

This is one of the most common questions we get asked! Most people today own multiple sets of keys for their vehicles, properties, storage facilities, bottle openers and even small flashlights etc, and instead of placing them on separate keychains they are often placed in one ‘safe’ spot – the keychain holder. It’s the obvious thing to do if you have a tendency to lose keys, but what you may not know is the damage that is being done to your vehicle’s ignition system. A heavy keychain can place significant pressure on the ignition switch and can cause it to fail, which then will not start the vehicle.

What damage does a heavy keychain cause to a car?

When the weight of the keychain hangs, gravity continues to do its work and pull down. The ignition has to handle the weight when the car is at rest, while making turns, riding over bumps and going uphill. All this extra force continues to wear out tumblers in the ignition. A worn tumbler from the weight eventually will no longer be able to engage and turn the ignition lock. Once these internal parts start experiencing problems starting up the vehicle must be serviced for ignition repairs, meaning spending more money.

If the key starts to stick in the ignition and does not initially start the car until the keys are wiggled, these are signs that the ignition is beginning to wear away. Take a look at the key itself, if the key looks old and worn it is recommended to get a replacement key. The key gets worn from the normal use and the excessive weight dangling from the keychain. If the tumblers in the ignition lock are replaced before it fails it will be an easy fix, before complete failure and leaving the car owner stranded.

How heavy does the weight have to be to damage the car’s ignition?

Most car experts believe that nine keys or less will not cause damage. While some will say that weight ignitions are able to withstand up to three pounds of weight while the car is at rest. There is no definite answer, but if the keys feel heavy while in the ignition remove some items from the keychain.

What should go on a car’s keychain?

If possible, remove all other keys from the car’s ignition key and drive with only one key in the ignition switch. Perhaps consider attaching the extra keys with a removable keychain to easily remove all other items before driving.

In our opinion, a keychain should consist of:
• One or two keys (including the ignition key)
• Car alarm remote

Even if the car has keyless transmitters, the car ignition lock is still prone to suffer from excessive weight.

If it’s too late and the ignition is starting to show signs of wear and tear, SVS Autocare are able to help. They know that most car models require special tools to remove the ignition cylinder and interlock system, so in the event that this happens your car can be rescued. Do not let your car get you stranded in the middle of the night. Call the specialists at SVS Autocare and have them replace your worn car keys. Cut down the weight on your keychain and disconnect all other keys from your ignition key to maintain a long lifespan for your car’s ignition system.

Source: Pro Locksmith, San Diego