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Mike, Mechanic
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 39198
Experience:  Hi, I have been a Car/vehicle mechanic 34 years. 29of -running my own repair/diagnostic business.
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Metro: in the ignition and the locksmith cant get it out

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I have a 1995 Geo Metro LSI. The key is broken off in the ignition and the locksmith can't get it out. He told me to remove the ignition from the car and get a new one or bring it back to him once it's out so he can try again to remove the key. There are two break-away bolts holding the ignition switch and cylinder to the steering column. My question is How do I remove the break--away bolts? The locksmith told me to file the bolts to create a slot for a flat head screw driver. Is this the right thing to do? Is there a better way? Also, what is an air file? I have been looking at various cutting devices and came across the air file yesterday while looking around Harbor Frieght. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Hello and Welcome to justanswer...

You can file a slot in them - there's nothing wrong in doing that ..if you can get to them to do it..

The best way to do it is , either drill them out - drill straight through ...or, use a drift - with a point on it - and position the drift so that its on the outer edge of the top of the bolt ( where you would be thinking of making a slot )... and with a hammer - use that , knocking the drift in an anti clockwise direction - - so that once started, it will undo the bolt ...

Its patience consuming - but its the best way...Once its started as I say, you can use the drift (centre punch tool ) to "undo" the two bolts...unscrewing them with the use of the punch in the ditches / marks you will now have in the heads / tops of the bolts.

I really wouldn't be bothering with air files - they run off garage / shop compressors...

Once you come to refit the lock assembly - or replacement, whatever happens - you can either purchase two new "sheer head" bolts ( anti theft bolts )..and fit them - tighten them till the heads break off - or, you can just use ordinary bolts with the correct thread.

Im very pleased to have helped you -

Please click the Accept button for me now - Thank You ...and if you do need / wish to get back to me after - you can do so just by coming back to this post and use the Reply button - your reply will then come straight back to me .. and Im always happy to help further....

.Kind Rgds to you - MIKE.
Mike and 2 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am new to all this stuff but after considering your response, I think drilling straight through the bolts is probably the easiest option. I'll get an automatic center punch so the drill doesn't slide. What type of drill bit material, as in Titanium ect., is best to drill the bolts. Also might you possible know the proper size bit? I'm not sure you can answer the question of size as you cannot see the bolts.I want to make this as simple as possible. The less difficulty the better. I plan on just replacing the whole thing once the old one is off. There's no sense in paying the locksmith $100 to remove a key and make a new one. The ignition is old and was messed with by the prevoius owners (I'm guessing they did all kinds of craziness to try and remove the key on their own.) It doesn't work well to begin with. It gets stuck alot and the cylinder is very loose. I can get a brand new switch/cylinder assembly on ebay for $135
Hello again - thank you for your message - Sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner -

I have in my time used all the different methods - and have always found the centre punch idea the best - the bolts are not that tight -once you have released the bolt , it can be "twiddled" out as described before - again, patience is needed - but its the best way in my experience..

If you want to drill it - and HSS ( high speed steel ) drill bit - or yes titanium if you want- but any HSS drill bit will do it - they are not hard material. ( the bolts )

As you say - in that case - change the whole thing - and as I mentioned before - either purchase two new sheer head bolts or ordinary ones will do - though of course you wouldn't have the anti theft idea of the sheered heads ... but either way is up to you ..

Let me know if I can help anymore..

Best Rgds - MIKE..