2006 Ford Freestyle - won't shut off - smoke under hood! - Help!



I started my vehicle this morning to go to work, immediately noticed weird noise from under the hood, thought it was a bad belt. Turned of ignition, took key out – it wouldn’t shut off! Made a noise like I was cranking the key, when I popped the hood, I noticed bluish-white smoke, first a little, than so much I couldn’t see the engine! I freaked cuz I couldn’t turn it off, tried removing a battery cable but there was too much smoke, so I backed up & called 911. I never saw any flames, just a lot of smoke & horrible odor (something electrical burning up). While I was talking to the 911 operator the smoke stopped, so we waited a second and when it was obvious it wasn’t gonna blow up I cancelled the 911 call. What happened? My car is now sitting in the middle of the driveway blocking traffic for my neighbors but I am not going to try and start it to move it! I’m going to call the dealer as soon as they open, but do you know what happened and how can I check to see if this is something any recalls have been issued for? Cars don’t usually ignite on ignition, definitely got my attention!!!

Stranded At Home With No Way To Work


any ideas? suggestions? please help, I need to know something before the dealer tries to rip me off - I do not have good experiences with car repair people, I’ve spent lots of good money on bad repairs and don’t want to do it again!


My guess is that the starter solenoid stuck and the starter continued to spin the engine. The starter is only designed to run for short amounts of time, a few seconds, really. If a starter runs continually it will quickly overheat, or the battery cable feeding it will overheat, or both.

I think the smoke was insulation burning off the cable, or possibly accumulated oil on the overheated starter. You should be able to push the vehicle out of the way by putting it in neutral, but don’t attempt to start it.

This will require a tow to a repair shop, and if I’m right, a new starter, and possibly a new battery cable. If this vehicle has AWD it should be transported on a flatbed, and not towed.


2006? This should be a warrantee repair. I think McP has it right. Your starter hung up and burned up…By now, the battery will be stone dead, right?


Thanks for the response - this is exactly what my insurance agent just told me - it’s getting flat bedded away…

Is this something that happens often? It was really scary to see all that smoke, I wonder if there are any recalls about this.

Again, thanks for your response, you’ve been very helpful!


I wouldn’t say it happens often, but it happens. You could check the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) for recalls.

As Caddyman suggested, the repairs for this should be covered by the vehicle warranty.