Reader Question: Alternative Ignition Replacement?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

BD asks: So, my stepdaughter broke the key to her 2006 Honda Accord (don’t ask how) and she tried to put it back together and well, let’s just say it was a less-than-successful attempt. The ignition itself seems to be problematic as well. A locksmith has said that the keys are made of brass and wear anyway, and he’d replace the key and ignition for $300 or so. My question is this: Can we just replace the ignition with something mechanical? As in, there is a metal key with no damned electronics and you can copy it for $5? Or is that not possible?

My reply: I’m not sure whether you’re talking about the key fob or the key itself – which in many cases is a combination (integrated) unit. If it’s a key with a fob – which I think your stepdaughter’s ’06 Honda has – then you generally need to have an operational fob for the ignition to work as it will not recognize the key without the fob’s electronic anti-theft transponder being in working order.   

The good news – I think – is that aftermarket replacement keys are available. I did a quick look on eBay and found this (one of several). Just search “2006 Honda Accord key) and have a look for yourself. It may be be necessary to have the fob programmed/coded for your stepdaughter’s car,but the overall fix here should be easy – and ought to cost a lot less than $300, too!

This assumes, of course, that your stepdaughter did not break the key off in the ignition. If so, then the fix will be more challenging. There are ways to get a broken-off key out, as by using JB weld or another type of bonding agent to “get hold” of the stump and pull it out. Or just remove the ignition switch (harder because of modern anti-theft design).

. . . 

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7 COMMENTS

  1. So, my GF has been watching Screwtube tutorials all day, and has dismantled the ignition and, uh… We’ll see what comes of it. Besides the broken key, there was a stuck pin in the ignition. I think she’s just putting it back together sans pins, as the transponder will keeps things secure enough. :p

    She did end up paying the dealer $150 for a new key, however, and it supposedly is cut and programmed to match the car.

    I was looking for a way to just put in a standard ignition and bypassed the transponder nonsense, but I’m guessing that’s difficult or impossible.

    Again, we’ll see what happens. I have my own projects to pursue.

    Thanks, though, Eric et al!

    • Some people cut the chip out of the key and glue it to the rf receiver in the column. This way they can get spare keys cut without programming. The busted lock pin is likely what caused the key failure in the first place. It’s common on old hondas. Either remove the offending pin or remove all of them to avoid a future headache. When cars are 15+ years old might as well just fix them cheap as possible. No telling how much longer the major bits are going to last.

      • Anon,

        I think that is more-or-less where we’re going with this. After reassembly, the key still doesn’t turn. Not sure why, because I didn’t do the repair, but I might just make it a BaDnOn special: Leave the ignition assembly in place to confound would-be thieves, and put a hidden toggle switch for the ignition and push button for starting. 😉
        Then, my step daughter can just carry her key with her for the transponder portion.

        • Try depressing the ignition lock override. If the solenoid doesn’t actuate your key won’t turn. I have a glitchy neutral safety switch on my honduh that locks my ignition in the on position randomly thinking the cars not in park. Fixed that with a piece of wood crammed in the override until I feel like doing an actual repair.
          Keep at it, it’s only a mechanical problem.

  2. There are tutorials on how to dismantle your faulty honda ignition lock core and remove the pins so it turns even with a worn out key. There is an anti-theft chip in the plastic portion of the original key so even though a thief can turn the ignition on with a screw driver the car still won’t run without the programmed key.

  3. 06 Honda keys must be programmed by the dealer OR a locksmith that has the proprietary programming gear and $165-350 is right around the average from the locksmith – the dealer being much more. I used Car Key Express, which has franchises around the country and also may be able to ship a replacement based on the VIN.

    • The owner can’t program it themselves? I know that, with my ’06 Altima, there were procedures in the owner’s manual on how to program a new key to match the car. The same applied to my ’03 Focus.

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