How to Replace Your Ignition Switch


Original poster
Jan 26, 2012
This is a thread I wrote for another forum, thought it might help some here as well...

I replaced my ignition switch. I was nervous, I had read numerous posts about this, but some of them conflicted, and I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I haven’t done a whole lot of work on newer car systems, although I did replace the stepper motors on my Envoy a while ago. The switch replacement was unbelievably simple, and anyone can do it.

Anyway, I decided to make this post, hopefully it’ll help someone who needs to do this in the future.

(FYI, I have a 2004 Envoy XUV, with foot pedal adjustment and tilt wheel controls on the steering column, and had no problem at all.)

First, you’ll only need two thin regular screwdrivers and the replacement switch to do the job.

Disconnect your negative battery cable. I’ve heard that you should disable the airbag, but I’ve read that others did not do this, and neither did I. Just to be safe, I tried to stay away from the front of the wheel while working on the switch.

Take one of your screwdrivers and gently pry the covers of the steering column off. They should separate pretty easily, then you just need to remove the bottom cover to get access to the switch.

Once the cover is off, you’ll see the bottom of the switch where the harness plugs in, the rest of the switch is slid up into a metal sleeve.

Take your two screwdrivers and insert them into the two holes in the metal sleeve. This pushes back the spring tabs on the ignition switch, allowing you to pull the switch assembly down and out of the metal sleeve. The pictures below have two red arrows showing where the two screwdrivers need to be inserted. The yellow circle shows where the harness connects to the switch. The last picture shows the switch removed from the sleeve, but not disconnected from the harness.




Disconnect the switch from the harness.

Look at the teeth of the old switch and compare them to the new switch. Align the new switch gear with the old switch gear. There is a gap in the gears you should see that greatly helps with the alignment.

Plug the harness into the new switch.

Insert the new switch into the metal sleeve until you hear the spring tabs engage the holes in the sleeve.

Reconnect your column cover.

Reconnect your negative battery terminal.

Start her up.

Hope this helps. Took me about 15-20 minutes to do, and most of that time was spent getting the stupid harness off the old switch. Total cost was the cost of the switch, or about $35, if I remember correctly.

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