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2001 Chevy Cavalier Ignition Problems

02/26/2012 12:57 PM

I'm not sure what this is and I just wanted possible answers before I got someone to come out and look. Last night I went to go start my car and to my surprise it wouldn't. The ignition wouldn't even turn. Neither would the steering wheel. We tried two different key and it didn't do anything. The lights were coming on so I knew it wasn't a battery problem. My step father tried what he knew, which wasn't much on a car like mine. Is there anything else to try? Or do I just need a mechanic?

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#1

Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier ignition problems

02/26/2012 1:01 PM

Did you try easing the steering-wheel to the left and right while trying to turn the key?

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier ignition problems

02/26/2012 1:05 PM

Yes, it didn't do anything. The key wouldn't turn at all.

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#3

Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier ignition problems

02/26/2012 1:18 PM

JohnDG is right.

When you turn the car off, the power steering pump quits "helping" you turn the wheels. This puts stress on the steering wheel lock unless the wheels are pointed straight ahead.

Try again. You may have to use some force to turn the wheel to take the stress off the key lock.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier ignition problems

02/26/2012 1:26 PM

Right. I'll try that again today. Could it be a problem with the ignition switch?

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier ignition problems

02/26/2012 1:31 PM

Probably not. They do fail, but this sounds more like the turned wheel syndrome.

You might try some spray lubricant, after ruling out the steering wheel problem.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier ignition problems

02/26/2012 1:40 PM

Oh, Okay. Hopefully that's all it is. If it's not that I'm assuming it's something wrong with the ignition and I'll call a mechanic. Thank you

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier ignition problems

02/27/2012 8:40 AM

It may have been cold enough out to cause a problem...

Warm it up with a small heating pad (the kind you use on your back)..couple hours should be enough. Or to speed it up, use a hair dryer.... Just be careful..

Then put in some powdered graphite directly into the keyswitch hole....

Next comes the fun part... Yank the wheel back and forth while turning the key back and forth....

It will eventually work.... or Make you mad....

Banging sometimes works too... one of the few times frustration actually helps....

Once you get the key to turn, start the car to see if it works, turn off the car but don't allow it to lock..

Next....... at any rate, you need to replace the keyswitch, but it's easier done with the key able to turn over than not..... Most of the time you have to turn the key to replace the lock mechanism.....

Follow the instructions in your maintenance manual to replace the locking mechanism....

sometimes it's difficult, sometimes not....

my BMW750....PITA....

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#8

Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier Ignition Problems

02/27/2012 10:04 AM

Lyn is probably right about the most likely cause, but at the same time, ignition switches DO go bad. I recently had the same problem on my 1993 Chevrolet Suburban, 225000 miles. The switch developed an internal problem with the lock mechanism, and it wouldn't turn. Replacing the ignition switch solved the problem.

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#9

Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier Ignition Problems

02/27/2012 12:10 PM

Call your Chevrolet dealer and ask to talk with the service writer. Ask him what he thinks the problem may be. There are Chevy forums to consult also. I don't know how friendly you are with your mechanic, but my mechanic would happily tell me how to get out of that problem.

An expert is always a person that knows more than I. That is why I consult them

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#10

Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier Ignition Problems

02/27/2012 2:27 PM

Dear all, intelligent engineers KEEP ON ENGINEERING AND LEAVE THE LOCK PROBLEMS TO A LOCKSMITH. the problem he is having is a common problem that GM has had since they put the ignition in the steering column. the real problem is a spring retainer that pop's out of it's seat and locks up the key switch. graphite is the worst thing you can put in a locking ignition switch since it builds up and at some point won't let you put the key all the way into the lock, and then another failure. the simplest fix is call a locksmith who in most cases will come to the vehicle and replace the switch without a tow bill or a diagnostics fee of at least one hour. and around here that is around 85-95 an hour at the dealers.that comes from a locksmith that has been doing this for 46 years. a simple fix as long as this car is not equipped with an alpha tech ignition been a while since I have seen an alpha tech but it is still possible if some one switched the column in the past and used an older column from 91-94. not likely but you never know. this car is equipped with an MRD security lock be prepared to spend around $150.00 retail for the switch alone and avoid the cheap imports if you want it to work for more than a few months use an original equipment supplier most locksmiths do so, just because they learned the hard way on warranty repairs. so try your local locksmith, and do try John DG's trick of turning the column left and right while turning the key it does sometimes work.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier Ignition Problems

02/27/2012 5:55 PM

Okay, As a locksmith, do you know if there would be charges for just unlocking the lock? If it's only that? I'm just trying to get ideas on how much I have to spend.

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier Ignition Problems

02/27/2012 6:17 PM

You haven't mentioned yet if you took the strain off the steering lock by manually turning the wheel then tried to turn the key.

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#12

Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier Ignition Problems

02/27/2012 6:12 PM

There is just not anyway to unlock it. it must have the magnet resonant device in place to let the security part of the ECM turn on to start and run you will have to replace the key cylinder and reset the computer for the new keys that are programed in the computer

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#14

Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier Ignition Problems

02/28/2012 11:33 AM

I think that because it's a Chevy Cavalier that it is just being obstinate...it simply does not want to start.

The last time I called a locksmith to get into a car, he brought a whoopy cushion and a clown's balloon pump to bend my door out and then grabbed the lock with one of those things old farts use at the grocery store to get top shelf items.

amazing...

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#15

Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier Ignition Problems

02/28/2012 2:52 PM

Yep! Its amazing what a lot of old farts can come up with to open a car that they tell us that we can't open without a key. it is amazing what we have come up with in case's of desperation when people lock their kids or animals in the car. especially when it is hot or cold.and its always my fault that I can not get there before they did it in the first place. IN MOST CASES THEY PUT THEIR OWN KIDS IN TO PANIC BECAUSE THEY PANIC. enough said off topic, just the way people are.

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#17
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Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier Ignition Problems

02/29/2012 5:23 AM

If they were that worried they could break a window.

Another reason to not have power operated windows....

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#16

Re: 2001 Chevy Cavalier Ignition Problems

02/29/2012 5:21 AM

Lockdude gives good counsel.

I've never experienced the sheer ecstasy that being near a Cavalier might bring but I once owned a different US made car that had a complicated cable operated interlock arrangement between the transmission selector and the key... Is the selector in Park? Foot required on brake pedal maybe...

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Users who posted comments:

04julupee1994 (4); Anonymous Poster (1); Byron Jay (1); corbinstein (1); cuba_pete (1); JohnDG (1); Johny451 (1); LOCKDUKE (3); lyn (2); Wal (2)

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