Tip & How-To about Mazda Tribute
My 2001 Mazda Tribute ignition key cylinder was broken and locking up constantly. I would
have to jiggle my key for up to 20 minutes to crank the car
nothing to do with steering wheel or shifter lock – the cylinder was
busted). If at home sometimes I would resort to getting out a sander to
vibrate the key while in the ignition and get it to turn. I was ready
to take a sledge hammer to the car. I didn’t do any internet research
on replacing the key cylinder until today because I figured it would be
a big miserable job…but it wasn’t!!!
To get to the cylinder, remove the 3 screws on the bottom side of the plastic steering column cover. Remove cover – use a screw driver to pry apart. Turn key to run position (don’t start engine). There is a pin on the bottom of the cylinder which is now exposed- take a small screw driver and push the pin in and pull on key. Cylinder should slide out. Get a new Ford Escape cylinder at the auto parts store (I payed $86, comes with two programmable keys), note: the parts store will not have one for Mazda, but Escape and Tribute are essentially the same car – many Mazda parts you can only get at the dealer for an outrageous price. Now do the following procedure...(note: you must have both original ignition keys for this to work)
1. Get some long needle nose pliers (forceps work best because they lock).
2. Using the pliers, grab the receiver knob that the end of the key cylinder normally engages near the center of the steering column. (Look in the hole that the cylinder was in)
3. Take one of the original ignition keys and insert it into the open cylinder hole alongside the pliers (this simulates the key being in the ignition/cylinder)
4. Push in and turn the pliers (ignition knob) and the first original key at the same time to run position - don't start the engine.
5. Wait for the key light to come on solid, then go off on the dash and turn pliers/key back to off position…note, if key light is flashing, tilt pliers slightly and try again.
6. Repeat with second original key and then the new key. You must go in this order and you must go from one key to the next in 10 seconds or less. This is how the car programs the new key. You may have to try a few times (I had to) and tilt the pliers a bit if they interfere with programming (key light flashing).
7. Once the key light comes on solid for a second or two and goes off with all three keys in a row (not flashing) then you have it. Repeat process with original keys and other new key.
8. Use pliers to align receiver knob to run position and Insert new key cylinder (remember to insert new key in new cylinder and align so cylinder will slide in properly - key should be turned in cylinder to run position).
9. Try out new keys…car should start! Install column plastic cover. You will still need to carry an original key to open the doors unless you fully trust that your keyless entry fob will always work. I would estimate this job to take about 20-30 minutes if you have the tools and new cylinder ready when you start. I was VERY skeptical when I tried this, but it worked great for me and I thank Mike at Cheapfobs.com blog a bunch!!…Good luck with yours!
Posted by mitch on
Jan 21, 2018 | Mazda Cars & Trucks
Sep 30, 2015 | 2001 Mazda Tribute
Jul 28, 2014 | 2001 Mazda Tribute
Oct 24, 2012 | 2005 Mazda Tribute
Nov 26, 2011 | 2006 Chevrolet Malibu
8,303 people viewed this tip
Usually answered in minutes!