Protecting Your Ignition Lock Housing

James William
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Read Time:3 Minute, 48 Second

The ignition lock housing is an important component that protects your car from theft. It contains the ignition cylinder and tumblers that activate the ignition switch. The ignition cylinder is a complex machine that works through a number of springs and wafers. When one of these parts goes bad, it can cause the cylinder to malfunction.

Material

A lock housing is a molded one-piece structure formed from a thermoplastic material such as a glass reinforced polycarbonate based polymer blend. It is a structurally strong, dimensionally stable and impact resistant structure that can be readily machined to provide suitable mounting formations for a wide variety of latch and lock components. The molded one-piece structure is also a relatively lightweight, durable and corrosion resistant member. It is a preferred material because it provides a robust structure that can be used in pulls, latches and locks to secure doors, windows or other similar components in places where security and appearance are important considerations.

The molded one-piece structure is preferably formed to define a pan-shaped housing portion 220, which includes a forwardly facing recess 210 for nesting a handle. A pair of threaded mounting studs 250 project rearwardly from the back wall 242 for receiving mounted posts that are threaded onto the studs to mount various latch and lock operating components.

Design

The design of a lock housing has to be one of the most important decisions you will make when upgrading your locks. Not only are the right materials vital for their function, but the design and construction also must be top-notch in order to ensure your home or business stays safe.

Most lock manufacturers have a team of engineers and designers that spend the better part of their day developing new technologies to make their products stand out from the crowd. They may use a variety of patented and unpatented parts to create the next generation of door locks. The most expensive of these parts is the actual cylinder itself. The cost of the cylinder can run into the hundreds of dollars per unit, depending on the quality and complexity of the parts that make it up. This translates into a hefty price tag for anyone who wants to upgrade their entry door locks. As you can see, the design of a cylinder is an important and complex decision that takes time and careful planning to accomplish correctly and safely.

Function

A lock housing is a part of a lock cylinder that encases the cylinder core and all its related components. The cylinder core contains the lock bit that operates the bolt mechanism of the associated lock. In use, a key is inserted into the cylinder core’s keyway. The pin tumblers (core pins, housing pins and pressure adjusting springs) are released to one level by the inserted key. This releases a parting plane between the cylinder core and the cylinder housing, thereby enabling the cylinder core to be turned.

The cylinder’s lock bit operates the bolt mechanism of the associated lock, thereby unlocking the door, window etc. Afterwards, the pin tumblers are pressed by the pressure adjusting springs into the hole base of the cylinder core so that the cylinder core and cylinder housing are locked together.

Installation

A lock housing is a cast metal casing that contains the ignition switch and cylinder. It also houses the wiring harness connector for powering the system. A modern vehicle typically has an electronically powered door lock, meaning the components in the housing must be up to snuff. To replace an old or failing lock, you must first un-socket the unit and remove the cylinder.

The lock itself is a complicated affair that can be confusing to the uninitiated. To get the job done you need a combination of tools, some patience and a few tricks up your sleeve. A good start is to find the correct tool for the job. For instance, you may need a hex wrench or a socket set to loosen the shear-head bolts. Then you need a small screwdriver to release the two plastic tabs that hold the housing in place, without breaking them. The best part is the new housing will fit snugly into the existing hole, albeit slightly off center.

Final Word

The ignition lock cylinder, located inside the vehicle’s ignition housing, is used to turn over the engine each time you start the car. Over the course of hundreds and thousands of starts, the ignition cylinder takes a lot of abuse, so it needs to be protected from corrosion.

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