Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

Leaving key on "on" position bad?

edited November -1 in Repair and Maintenance
I have a 1996 honda accord ex and recently i had put in a new starter. The other day my father was checking the fuses and left the key in the on positoin while doing this. When i went in to start the car nothing happened. WHen he banged on the starter it started to work. I did it a few times and the same thing happened. but the next day it never happened again. was leaving the key on the on postion bad for the starter?
Tagged:

Comments

  • edited April 2011
    Leaving the key on didn't damage the starter. Because the starter wasn't operating.

    But if banging on the starter gets it to start, there may be a problem with that new starter. Because that's what you do to get an old/worn out starter to function.

    Tester

  • edited April 2011

    On older cars, before electronic ignition, leaving the key in the ON position for a long time would drain the battery. On modern cars this situation is of no consequence, certainly for short periods. And there is no connection between the key's position and the starter's odd behavior.

  • edited April 2011
    On many cars, leaving the key on can drain the battery quickly, electronic ignition notwithstanding..
  • edited April 2011
    Others will fill in but I believe in older cars with a distributor, you could burn the point in the distributor by leaving the ignition in the ON position.
  • edited April 2011
    On an old '85 Ford V6 I left the key "on" for about 20 min. while having problems loading my boat on the trailer. When I went to restart the motor it would crank but not start. I had burned out something in the primitive electronic ignition. Not easy getting the car and boat towed up the ramp. Lot's of other boaters weren't happy with me that day.

    In general not a good idea to leave the ignition switch "on" without a running motor. That's why there is still an ACC "accessories" position on ignition switches.
  • edited April 2011
    Pretty much any modern car (1990s to present) will disable the fuel pump and ignition system within a few seconds if the computer doesn't detect that the engine is cranking. However, having the key on will prevent other electronics, such as the body controller, from going to sleep, which can still run the battery down, albeit at a reduced rate. Some cars will detect whether anything is happening and further shut things down. On an older car, current will continue to flow, and the battery will run down much quicker.

    As others have said, there was no harm to the starter from leaving the key on. But if you had to beat on the starter to get it to turn, it's likely to fail soon. I've had to do this on many cars when I was younger to get a few more starts from an ailing starter.
  • edited April 2011
    It doesnt happen anymore just that onw day the next morning it started perfectly
  • edited April 2011
    It hasn't happened again YET.
  • edited April 2011
    okay thanks, ill see if itll happen again, just worried that one day ill be stranded somewere...
This discussion has been closed.