This article describes the steps taken to repair the ignition switch on a Honda Accord that would not turn.

Background

The ignition switch on my 2004 Honda Accord developed a problem one day after I had to jam one of the keys in to the ignition to get it to turn. From then on, the key would not turn in the ignition!

Just for clarification, this was not a steering wheel lock issue, where the key won’t turn if the steering wheel is locked. The steering wheel was free, but the key just would not turn.

Sometimes it would work, after jamming the key in and simultaneously turning it. I tried multiple keys, but no key worked every time, and usually the key would go in fine, but not be able to turn.

It turns out, one of the wafers was sticking up, causing the lock assembly not to turn.

I took it apart and removed all but the last key wafer. This seemed to did it, as is it is working every time now.

After searching for a solution for a long time, it seems to be a common problem. I hope this post can help someone out.

If you don’t want to mess around with removing wafers, and disassembling the lock, you can just replace the whole thing. They actually sell the assembly on Amazon, here’s the link:

2004 Honda Accord Ignition Switch – See on Amazon

And if you just need a new set of key blanks, these are the ones you need:

Honda Accord Key Blanks (qty 2) – See on Amazon

If you want to try what I did, read on…

Step by Step Procedure

  1. Remove the negative battery terminal, so airbags do not accidentally inflate.
  2. Wait 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the plastic housing around steering column. You have to remove about 3 screws, then pry it open with a screw driver.
  4. Unplug all the electrical plugs, there are about 3…
  5. Remove 3 gold screws.
  6. Remove 2 large screws with no heads… These ones are a bit tricky. The 2 screws on top have to be removed with a hammer and chisel….
    1. Angle a chisel or large flat-bladed screwdriver, so that it is digging into the screw-head, then tap the end of the chisel or screwdriver with a hammer to slowly turn the screw.
    2. Note: The screws turn counter-clockwise to remove. {Not visible in this photo, already removed…} I have read somewhere that these screws have reverse threads, but that was not the case for this vehicle (2004 Accord).

Remove plastic covers, 4 screws or so…

This next part is tricky, you have to get this tiny “hollow dowel pin” out in order to remove the lock cylinder assembly. Once this pin is out, then the cylinder will slide out.

I had to drill out this pin to get the ignition cylinder out. Choose a small drill bit, small enough to fit into the center of the dowel pin. Drill into the pin (it has a hollow core), then it will adhere to the drill bit, and you can pull it out. It will come out pretty easily using this method.

Slide the lock cylinder out. Then remove the worn wafers. These were the issue for me. One or more of them was sticking up, just slightly, enough that the cylinder couldn’t turn.

Remember to remove the tiny springs as well. I wasn’t sure exactly which wafer was the problem, so I took them all out, except I left the last wafer in (the one furthest from the plastic part of the key)… This way the key won’t fall out while you’re driving.

You want to be careful about the grease you use for the lock cylinder. If you go with something too heavy, like a silicone based grease it will harden and make the key gummy. You also don’t want to go with something too light like WD-40, that will dry everything out. This is some good lithium grease for this job.

Lubriplate on Amazon

Use a lithium grease; others can either dry out or gum up.

Put it back together and re install…

Now the key turns every time! What a relief this was for me!

I hope this obscure post can be helpful for you, if you find yourself in a similar situation!

For more information on 7th generation (2002-2007) Honda Accord maintenance, check out these articles:
Maintenance Articles on 2002-2007 Honda Accords