Hi I just recently bought a used 2001 honda civic, my problem is when starting the car I have to shove the key in and turn hard in order for it to start. My friend wants to install a push start but I would rather find out what the problem is and if its an easy fix take care of it, if not I guess I have to do it his way. I'm not sure if its the ignition switch or what else it could be. Thank you.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair!
    – Cullub
    May 31 '19 at 2:08

Ignition barrels aren't usually very complex things: there's a metal lock cylinder into which you insert the key and either the key pokes out of the deep side of it, or a metal lump attached to the lock barrel does; the key/lump slots into a groove in a rotary eletrical switch. You turn the key and the rotary switch turns, and inside it makes different contact with electrical circuits depending on how far round it is turned. Part of the rotational travel of this whole mechanism is spring-loaded so when you release the key, it rotates back on its own - this is where the circuit that starts the car/activates the starter-motor is wired in.

I suspect that because you have to turn the key really hard, it's struggling to make contact inside unless rotated really far. This is either becauseit's worn loose and isnt rotating far enough, or electrically inside it's damaged and makes contact later in its rotation than it should

If you dissemble the steering column plastics and remove the lock barrel (insert the key, turn it part way, and perhaps look for a spring loaded metal button on the side of the barrel, push it in and slide the lock barrel out - this video gives some idea except the guy doesnt remove the plastics but pokes around with an allen key until he catches the metal peg - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q367vbEy-o ) you'll be able to see at the bottom of the hole the rotary switch that needs turning to activate position 1, position 2, and then the starter motor. You can turn it with a screwdriver. BEWARE: The plastic switch isn't necessarily the thing that is spring loaded; you can turn it forwards til the starter motor activates and starts the engine but you must ensure it is then turned backwards and disengages the start motor. Do not drive a car with a starter motor engaged; you'll ruin the motor

Assess whether mechanical damage to the lock barrel/key or whether mechanical or electical damage to the switch is the cause, and replace the appropriate part

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