The Ignition Barrel and Key is a unit consisting of a barrel keylock incorporating a four-way mechanical and electronic switch.
It is located in the steering column just beneath the steering wheel.
The purpose of the Ignition Barrel and key is that when the key is inserted into the lock and the key turned, the first position releases the steering lock, the second turns on the electrical system and the third position engages the starter motor to run the engine. This third position is spring loaded to return to the second position and the engine, if started will run. Manual return to the first position will cut the electric power to the engine and it will stop. Turning the key to the off position will engage the steering lock and enable removal of the key.
Problems occurring with the Ignition Barrel and key can include the key breaking in the lock, worn lock mechanism or damage by attempted theft of vehicle.