The Key to My Happiness?


A mystery solved? It looks like it, thanks to my mechanic from Percy's Service Station on Monroe Street.

For the past six months, I've had trouble starting my 2003 Acura consistently. I'd turn the key, with full power resulting, but the engine would not turn over. No clicking. No sound at all.

I'd turn it off and try again. Voila, it would fire up.

This ritual was getting old and I figured the ignition switch must be failing. Not that I know anything about ignition switches, but I already replaced the starter and a computer part that has something to do with the electrical system, so by process of elimination...

"That doesn't sound like an ignition switch," says Jerry, my 30-year mechanic.

Why not, says I.

Jerry says when ignition switches fail, they fail. They don't work intermittently. So what else could it be?

He says, "Maybe it's the key."

I'm thinking he's referring to the battery powered fob that locks the doors and opens the trunk, but no, he's talking about the key itself that goes into the ignition. He says some now go for $400 or more because of the electrical components in them.

It turns out these electrical parts within the key itself have some connection to the starter, the ignition or something in there. That's why making a duplicate key no longer costs $2 but $50 or $100 plus.

Apparently, these parts don't last forever--at least not 14 years.

Well, that's an easy test. So I switched out the key I had been using. And? I could not get it to fail at all. Five straights starts without incident.

I think Jerry wins the prize.

Posted on November 21, 2017 .