How to Drill Out Ignition Lock Cylinder

Drilling out an ignition lock cylinder is typically a last resort when other methods of removing the cylinder have failed. It involves drilling into the cylinder to remove it from the ignition switch, and can be a tricky and time-consuming process. However, there are certain situations where knowing how to drill out an ignition lock cylinder can come in handy.

When it comes to drilling out an ignition lock cylinder, there are a few key advantages that make the process worthwhile. For one, drilling out the cylinder allows you to gain access to your vehicle if you have lost or broken your keys.


It also provides a quick and easy method for replacing a faulty ignition lock cylinder. Read this blog post to learn how to drill out ignition lock cylinder.

Tools You Will Need

  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers or vice grips
  • Safety goggles
  • Masking tape
  • WD-40 or other lubricant
  • Hammer
  • Chisel

Step-by-step Instructions for How to Drill Out Ignition Lock Cylinder

Step 1: Inspect the Ignition Lock Cylinder

Before you begin the drilling process, it is important to assess the condition of your ignition lock cylinder. Make sure there are no visible signs of damage and that the keyhole is clean and free of any debris.

Step 2: Gather Your Tools

As mentioned earlier, you will need a few tools to successfully drill out an ignition lock cylinder. Make sure you have all the necessary items before you begin. It is important to have a clean and organized work area before you start drilling. This will help prevent any accidents or injuries while working on your vehicle.

Step 3: Apply Lubricant

Before you start drilling, spray some WD-40 or other lubricant into the keyhole of the ignition lock cylinder. This will help loosen any stuck pins or tumblers inside. Use pliers or vice grips to secure the ignition lock cylinder in place. This will prevent it from spinning while you drill.

Use Pliers or Vice Grips

Step 4: Cover Surrounding Area with Masking Tape

To protect your vehicle’s paint, place masking tape around the ignition lock cylinder and on any nearby surfaces that could potentially get damaged by drilling debris. Using your drill and the appropriate size drill bit, carefully start drilling into the keyhole of the ignition lock cylinder. Apply light pressure and make sure to keep the drill straight to avoid damaging the surrounding area.

Step 5: Stop and Check Progress

After a few minutes of drilling, stop and check your progress. You should start to see metal shavings coming out of the keyhole. If not, continue drilling until you do. Once you have drilled deep enough into the cylinder, use a hammer and chisel to break away any remaining pieces of metal.

Finally, once you have successfully drilled out the ignition lock cylinder, remove any remaining pieces and replace it with a new one. Make sure to test the new cylinder with your key before reassembling everything.

Safety Tips for How to Drill Out Ignition Lock Cylinder

  1. Always wear protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses, when working with power tools.
  2. Make sure the vehicle is in park and the emergency brake is engaged before attempting to remove the ignition lock cylinder.
  3. Disconnect the battery before starting any work on your vehicle to avoid electric shock or other accidents.
  4. Double-check that you have all the necessary tools and equipment before starting. This will save you time and prevent any unnecessary interruptions.
  5. Read the vehicle’s manual to familiarize yourself with its various components before starting. This will help you locate the ignition lock cylinder and understand how it works.
  6. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an accident or if a small fire starts while drilling.
  7. Only use the appropriate drill bit size recommended for your specific vehicle make and model. Using the wrong size can cause damage to the ignition lock cylinder or other components of your vehicle.
Always Wear Protective Gear

By following these safety tips, you can ensure a smooth and safe process when learning how to drill out an ignition lock cylinder. Remember to always prioritize your safety and take the necessary precautions before starting any DIY project on your vehicle.

What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid When Attempting to Drill Out an Ignition Lock Cylinder?

When attempting to drill out an ignition lock cylinder, there are a few common mistakes that people make which can lead to further damage or complications. In order to avoid these issues, it is important to understand the process and have the proper tools and techniques in place. One of the most common mistakes when attempting to drill out an ignition lock cylinder is using the wrong type of drill bit.

The ignition lock cylinder is made of hardened steel, and using a regular drill bit may not be strong enough to penetrate it. This can result in the drill bit breaking or becoming dull, making the process even more difficult. Another mistake to avoid is not having a steady hand while drilling.

It is important to maintain a straight and steady line when drilling into the lock cylinder to avoid damaging the surrounding area or causing the drill bit to slip and create an uneven hole.

Are There Any Alternative Methods for Removing an Ignition Lock Cylinder Without Drilling It Out?

While drilling out an ignition lock cylinder may be a common and effective method for removing it, there are some situations where this approach may not be suitable. For example, if you do not have the necessary tools or experience to drill out the cylinder, or if you are concerned about damaging other components in the process.

In such cases, there are alternative methods that can be used to remove an ignition lock cylinder without drilling it out. One such method is using a slide hammer tool, which uses force and leverage to pull out the cylinder from its housing. This method requires some skill and precision, as well as the right type of slide hammer tool.

Using Your Drill and the Appropriate Size

Another alternative method involves using a special removal key or tool specifically designed for removing ignition lock cylinders. These tools work by manipulating the locking pins in the cylinder to release it from the housing.

However, this method may not be suitable for all types of ignition lock cylinders and may also require some skill and knowledge to use correctly.

What Are Some Potential Risks or Dangers Associated With Drilling Out an Ignition Lock Cylinder?

One of the main reasons for drilling out an ignition lock cylinder is when a key has been lost or damaged. However, this method should only be used as a last resort and there are some potential risks or dangers associated with it.

Firstly, drilling into the ignition lock cylinder can cause damage to the surrounding components such as the steering column or wiring. This can result in additional repair costs and may also render the vehicle inoperable until these components are repaired or replaced.

Additionally, drilling out an ignition lock cylinder requires specialized tools and techniques. If not done properly, it can damage the internal mechanism of the lock which may make it difficult to turn with a new key. This could lead to further issues down the line such as having to replace the entire lock cylinder.

Removing Ignition Lock Cylinders

Furthermore, there is a risk of injury when drilling out an ignition lock cylinder. The drill bit can break off or slip and cause harm to the person performing the task.

How Much Does It Typically Cost to Have an Ignition Lock Cylinder Drilled Out by a Professional?

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to drill out your ignition lock cylinder, one of the first things that may come to mind is how much it will cost. This is a valid concern as drilling out an ignition lock cylinder can be quite expensive, especially if done by a professional. There are several factors that can affect the cost of having an ignition lock cylinder drilled out.

These include the type of vehicle you have, the complexity of the job, and whether or not you choose to hire a professional. The first factor that will affect the cost is the type of vehicle you have.

Certain vehicles require more specialized tools and techniques to drill out an ignition lock cylinder, which can drive up the cost. For example, if you have a luxury vehicle, the cost may be higher due to the complexity of the lock cylinder.

Choose to Hire a Professional


In conclusion, learning how to drill out an ignition lock cylinder is a valuable skill that can come in handy in various situations. However, it is not without its disadvantages.

The first and most obvious disadvantage is the potential damage that drilling can cause to your vehicle’s ignition system. If done incorrectly, you could end up causing more harm than good and incur expensive repairs.

Furthermore, drilling out an ignition lock cylinder is not always a permanent solution. In some cases, the new replacement lock may not function properly or may even fail after a short period of time. I hope reading this post has helped you learn how to drill out ignition lock cylinder. Make sure the safety precautions are carried out in the order listed.

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