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Old 04-12-2009, 03:49 PM   #1
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Grapite and the Ignition Switch

Well, today I was going to go pick up some material for a "rotating flag" pole. As I was getting close to the automotive store I remembered that the ignition key to my Saturn Vue (2007) would catch once in a while when pulling it out. No problem, I'll get some graphite and that will take care of the problem. (NOT)

I'll give you the short version.

Into Store. Buy graphite and go back to car. Open package and cut the little tab off the top of the opening. Place into ignition and squirt a little in there and then put cap back on tube. Now I'm ready to continue on my journey. (NOT)

The key will not turn. The brake pedal is tight up. The shift lever will not move. Frustrating. (not NOT). So now all the little men running around in my head are having an argument over what is wrong. One says, "You just sprayed graphite into the key slot." The other one says, "It's only graphite." Another one says, "The brake pedal is locked up tight, must be the Air Force One activated somehow." One more steps in and says, "Check all the fuses." And so on. I mean the key will not turn, the brake pedal is as tight as it can get, and I checked the fuses and they are all good. So, I call SMI and get a number for the on-duty technician. (SMI is great - it's Easter Sunday and they call me back within 30 minutes.) But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Self I say, maybe the graphite really caused it, dontchathink?

My son pulls up and we go over to Shady-o-rack (Radio Shack) and I get a premium can of contact cleaner (No lubricant in the premium) and a can of "air." Now do I really expect this to work. Naw!

However, I get back to the Saturn Vue and with much, shall we say consternation, I spray the ignition with the cleaner. I stick the key in, it turns and the car starts, the brake pedal is normal and everything is working.

MORAL of this story. Do NOT, repeat, do NOT put graphite in the key receptacle (ignition switch) of a 2007 Saturn Vue. Strange things can happen.
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Old 04-12-2009, 06:25 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne M View Post
MORAL of this story. Do NOT, repeat, do NOT put graphite in the key receptacle (ignition switch) of a 2007 Saturn Vue. Strange things can happen.
Wayne M., We are also not wanting to use any graphite powder in a Workhorse lock cylinder as well. The graphite clogs the pins that run up against the key squiggles, I call em', and the lock cylinder may not perform as expected.
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Old 04-12-2009, 08:24 PM   #3
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Interesting, You might try light machine oil.

Question on Graphite.. Does it conduct electricity?

Answer (in case you don't know)

(If you are 100% sure, no need to click on ANSWER
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Old 04-13-2009, 10:40 AM   #4
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John-D,
I don't think the graphite conducted any electricity in this case, but instead packed itself in the tumbler recesses causing the key to not seat properly.

It would be nice to hear from a locksmith on this?

I going to have the ignition switch checked out and replaced if necessary.

Oh, and yes, graphite is a carbon element, soft enough to conduct electricity. Diamonds are a carbon element but do not conduct electricity - Ah! Physics. Never did take a class in it.
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