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When starting the 95 Integra, it is now difficult to rotate the key to the momentary start position (significant nuisance that is expected to only get worse). The key works fine with the trunk lock or driver-door lock.

This is not an electrical problem and seems to be a mechanical problem with the ignition switch:

enter image description here

I suspect that this has to do with the age and is common for vehicles of age. As such, I suspect the question is ripe: What exactly is the problem with the keyed switch and how can this be corrected?

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  • Have you tried squirting a small amount of lubricant in the key hole?
    – HandyHowie
    Nov 27 '21 at 15:22
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As a locksmith I recommend that you get a CODE CUT key (i.e., a new key cut to factory specifications, rather than by tracing your old key) first before you try doing anything else. Find a local locksmith shop that is good in automotive work and talk to them with what they need in order to provide you a code cut key. Personally I could just look at your original key and decode it but this may not be common with a lot of smiths.

A new code cut key will probably correct your problems with out the need to do anything else. 95% of the time its only the key that is worn out.The key you have still works good in door and trunk because they are much lower tolerance then the ignition.

If the code cut key does not fix the problem, then this is an easy lock cylinder to remove and rebuild for a locksmith or you could do as @Solar Mike suggests replace the lock cylinder. You may be able to just buy the lock cylinder for this year Honda with out the need of replacing the entire wheel lock assembly but I'm not sure since I always just rebuild them on older Honda's.

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  • I have access to an older key machine and can purchase the blank. If only it were possible to cut the key myself. I suspect that CODE CUT keys are cut electronically.
    – gatorback
    Nov 28 '21 at 13:06
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    There are both automatic and manual code cutting machines. I suspect you have a key duplicator which cuts according to the key its tracing. If you duplicate a worn key, you will get another worn key. This wont help at all. A code cut key is cut by a special type of machine that cuts the key blank to original factory specifications instead. My favorite code machine of all time: youtu.be/PPKmCVoxTws
    – narkeleptk
    Nov 28 '21 at 16:47
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    Thanks for the video: very cool. I ordered the Acura key blank and the dealer provided the 4 digit code. My reading indicates that a minutekey kiosks can provide cutting free of charge. Hopefully, I will have good news report this weekend after the blanks arrive.
    – gatorback
    Nov 30 '21 at 14:47
  • Im surprised the dealer just didn't cut it for you. I wasn't aware the kiosks cut from code, thought they just duplicated. Still, Im not sure I'd put much faith in those kiosks. Even my automotive cutters that I use don't cut as well as the manual ones and I calibrate it every other day. The kiosks rarely ever get serviced so they have a high rate of blotching things. I'd have to recommend you locate a locksmith shop in your area but I'm a bit biased in that matter. Cant wait to hear how it goes. Thanks for updating!
    – narkeleptk
    Nov 30 '21 at 15:26
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You might find lubrication may help temporarily.

However, if the switch mechanism or the key mechanism is wearing and beginning to jam then it will only get worse.

I would consider replacing the faulty part and most have key and switch parts that can be separated. I would suggest this should be done while the fault is temporary and before it fails with you stuck somewhere inconvenient.

The worst part of the job was always removing the shear bolts holding the key mechanism in place, however, a sharp drill and an easyout can make it easier.

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  • I have arrived at a similar conclusion that the problem will only get worse and that in all likeliness the root cause is a permutation of worn tumbler pins, key. I do not think it is lubrication problem because once the key / pins are aligned the motion is smooth / easy.
    – gatorback
    Nov 28 '21 at 12:44
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If the car has been driven a lot, it's a fair bet that the tumblers inside the ignition cylinder are worn down or smoothed in addition to the normal wear and tear on the key. I would start with Narkeleptk's suggestion and get a code key cut from a locksmith.

If you are not aware of the location of the code, you can remove the bottom plastic faring under the steering wheel which is held on by 3 phillips head screws and take a look at the cylinder. You should find two lines of code stamped on the top side (0 position being top when installed). The first one is likely 3 digits alpha-numeric, the other is 4 numerical digits. This should be all you need for the locksmith. If you don't want to do pull your ignition faring off, you could simply access the lock cylinder in the glove box:

https://youtu.be/MCMyKSlD08Y?t=186

If after replacing the key, it's still cranky, I would pull the cylinder and have new tumblers placed in it (or you can do it yourself, it's not terribly difficult).

Cheers!

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