What needs replaced after attempted car theft?

Hi,
I have a 1995 Buick Lesabre. Someone tried to steal it over the weekend by breaking into the steering column. Now my key won't work and I have a broken piece of plastic on the side of the steering
column.
My mechanic said they usually replace the entire stearing column. Is that normal? This a beater car that I don't want to spend a lot on. Any idea if you could just replace the ignition or is it all one piece?
thanks chad
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snipped-for-privacy@chadphillips.org wrote:

If you had insurance I'd say park it where you did last time. But since you don't I think what you want is a way to just get the thing started and driveable. See if your mechanic can show you how to do that. You probably have the "chipped" key and that saved it from being started. You might Google that and find a work around. Or somebody will post how to do it here.
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You can replace the individual pieces, in general.
There are people around who will rebuild the column and swap it in for not too much money. (Depends on your point of view, I guess)
OR you can go to a junkyard, pull a column, and either replace the bad pieces or swap the column. Your key/lock combo may have to be swapped or replaced.
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I rebuild these columns. Usually 145.00 labor + Parts. Parts: Rack kit 28.00 Housing ??? maybe 35.00 It comes in black plastic so it has to be paint matched. If this is a tilt column hopefully the lower bowl didn't get busted. If so you are most likely better off getting a used column. I think they are around 125.00
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A junkyard column sounds good, be sure to get same year and model, Best bet is to take a picture of harmonica plug that plugs into under dash wiring. With the column doing so many things * all * the wires must color code match. If you buy a " Bone " column for parts your screwing yourself out of parts you'll need if harmonica wire colors are different, unless you only want the mechanical parts [ they swap ] to fix damage. Removing cylinder for re-keying is a pain you can skip by buying column with key, have spare keys made, and test them !
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