Common Automotive Actuator Problem

Symptom: Key will rotate the ignition, but the car will not start. When the ignition rotates, it generally will not stop itself in the accessory or run position. You will feel almost no resistance when turning the key. When you turn the key in your ignition, the actuator(directly behind ignition switch) turns with the key. This part triggers the events that starts your car. If the actuator breaks, the key will turn, but the appropriate parts behind the key will not. If this is your situation, the issue could be a broken actuator.

In many cases, the fix is swapping out the actuator. Actuators cost roughly fifty dollars from your local auto parts shops. Often times acquiring the part is not difficult, but the task of switching them can be. You must be able to remove the ignition to switch the pieces out. Often times specific directions can be found online; however, we still recommend this is done by a trained professional.

Pic of broken actuator

The actuator problem was brought to my attention in a 2007 Dodge Charger. We removed the ignition switch from the dash, and replaced the actuator with a new one. The entire process only took about 25 minutes once parts are in hand. In the future, we will be adding more information about actuator problems and how to fix them.