CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Husband insists on turning off stereo and air when turning off car

Is it really necessary to turn off the stereo and air conditioning when turning off the car? My husband swears that the car “starts better” if those things are off. I have a 2007 Prius and I say it doesn’t matter. Who is right??

I don’t think it matters with any car. The AC compressor won’t engage until the car is running and the radio and fan don’t draw much current. All the accessories are disabled when the power is needed to run the starting motor.

In a Prius it is even less an issue. You win, husband losses this one. He won’t listen anyway so just know you won in your own heart.

For the Prius it makes no difference at all, since the car engine doesn’t even start until it’s needed. You win.

Your husband likes machinery. Being extra kind to cars can’t hurt. Nobody should have to win a no-prize contest. Husband is more right, but to what degree?

How would you like to be a mechanic explaining a repair to your husband? Using logic would not be a option,perhaps he would believe that his car needs repair due to a X files type event.

Is it really necessary to turn off the stereo and air conditioning when turning off the car?

For you yes. It will be easier to do it than to convince your husband otherwise.

The car will never notice. Since your car and most other modern cars already turn those things off when you are trying to start them, it does not really matter. In the case of the Prius it means even less difference.

and the radio and fan are OFF as well when starting your car.

Thanks everyone. It’s my car, so he doesn’t drive it much, and I’m just glad to know I don’t have to change my habits! (don’t we all feel that way??)

Electrically there’s no reason. When you twist the ignition switch to the start position, only the starter circuit is engaged. The other functions are disconnected until you release you grasp of the start postion. Only then are they energized.

However, it is sometimes quite a surprize to hop in a car and start it up only to be blasted with the previous settings of volume and a/c fan speed.
For that reason it’s nice to have those settings off for the next use.

( a common practical joke in this garage is to have EVERYTHING turned on for the unsuspecting new guy, exactly because it doesn’t come on until after the fact. Turn signals, flashers, wipers, radio, a/c fan etc. )

I turn everything off when I stop the car out of habit. One thing that is good to turn off is the windshield wipers so that they park. In inclement weather, if you don’t turn them off separately, the blades may freeze to the windshield and damage the motor when you start the car.

I had a 1954 Buick where the owner’s manual instructed the owner to be certain that the radio was off before starting the car. The radio on this car was not connected through the ignition switch. In fact, the switch had three positions: 1) lock; 2) on; 3) off. One started the car by turning the switch to “on” and depressing the accelerator. If the radio was on when one started the car, theere was a possibility that the vibrator in the power supply of the radio could be damaged.

1954 cars also had tube radios; real energy hogs.

Oh, yes! But the vacuum tube radios were great on a date. I could park and leave the radio on. After an hour, I wouldn’t have to use the running out of gas line. My old Buick had the “selectronic” radio. I could press a bar on the radio or step on a little button between the brake and clutch pedals and the radio would go to the next station. A motor moved the tuning capacitor and the dial. I repaired quite a few car radios in these cars–easy to fix. Now, if the radio doesn’t work, it is simply replaced.

“After an hour, I wouldn’t have to use the running out of gas line.”

My mother, now 87, once told me of my father (r.i.p.) doing this.

Remember That 70’s show episode when the star finally snuck his Dad’s Corvette out and went through he** but got the car back placed perfect in the garage, no way dad could tell he had the car out,Dad was so proud that the kid did not sneak the Corvette out so he was going to let the kid drive it for the first time. Kids in the driver seat Dad in passenger seat,kid turns the key to fire her up and the radio blasts on,Busted!

Of course he could have claimed he only sat in the car, played the radio and pretended to drive.

Having gone through my teen years and reaching adulthood in the '70s I never watched That 70’s show. Too painful to relive that era.

So that’s how you came into this world!

“After an hour, I wouldn’t have to use the running out of gas line.”

My mother, now 87, once told me of my father (r.i.p.) doing this.

This has nothing to do with starting power. But I turn off my a/c a few minutes before I shut off the car. Mold thrives in cool, damp places, like the evaporator of the a/c. Turning off the a/c and keep the fan running, I keep the evaporator as dry as possible.

Our era was exactly the same. I was totally commited and totally unaware of what going to war could be like. I couldn’t wait to go and could not understand my just slightly older friends (by just 2 years) fear and anger and resentment. The draft stopped the same year I was to recieve my number. What is the saying about who God protects? It is such a mixed bag of emotions how to feel about wanting to go then having my eyes opened up about what was really going on and then dealing with my friends who got drafted and did not have the luxury of saying “no the war is not for me”.