Picking out the right ignition switch is not too tricky a business. After all, it performs just one singular function that does not vary much between vehicles of whatever make and model. However, there are certain considerations that you have to take into account to make sure you don't get a new ignition switch that simply won't fit.
What is an Ignition Switch?
The reason we have to tackle this question comes down to terminology. "Ignition switch" is used to interchangeably refer to two different but connected parts: the cylinder into which you stick your key, and the electronic switch behind it that gets your car started. Sometimes, you'll find that the term is used to describe both altogether.
It is important that you determine what the catalog is referring to before you make a purchase. Nothing will be more frustrating than needing a replacement for the electronic switch only to receive a tumbler instead. The best bet, to guarantee fit, is to consider replacing both at the same time-this eliminates the possibility of having cylinder incompatible with the switch and vice versa.
There are quite a lot of parts manufacturers out there making replacement ignition switches. Some specifically churn out the combination key cylinder-electronic switch replacements, a few offer separate options. While most people look to the brand as a sure sign of fit and reliability, a better and smarter bet would be to look for one that is specific to your vehicle's year, make, and model.
It's the housing around the ignition switch that is very critical here. While the basic functionality of the ignition switch will always be standard across all years, makes, and models, the housing that surrounds and secures it in place are as varied and diverse in shape and form as the vehicles themselves. This is where online shopping is an advantage. A lot of sites have drop-down matching tools to help you out.
The Price is Right
Here's where things get a little tricky. Prices on replacement ignition switches vary with the lowest in the neighborhood of $20, and the costliest running you a good $100 and up. Don't let price be a determinant of quality, however. The key, again, is to find one specific for what you drive.
The differences in prices come down to the complexity of the arrangement brought about by differences in the specific year, make, and model of your ride. Take advantage of the parts-matching programs on many sites and you should be good to go!