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

Start up Mystery

How did my car start without a key, get into reverse gear, after I had parked the car in my garage overnight?

I found my 97 I30 running in my garage this morning with no key in the ignition, sitting in reverse gear. I had definitely put the car in park, shut off the car and removed the key last night. I have owned this car for 3 years and this is a first. The previous owner had a remote starter installed but I don’t have the remote starter and he did not offer it to me when I bought the car. What happened? I am worried! My garage was full of fumes!

You’re right to be worried. If your garage is attached to your house the exhaust from a running car could suffocate you while you sleep.

I suspect the remote starter was triggered by someone else’s remote. How the transmission got into reverse is a mystery to me.

I’m assuming the parking brake is what kept the car from backing through the garage door.

Is it possible that someone was trying to steal the car, and you interrupted them? This would explain the transmission being in gear.

I suggest you pull the fuse or somehow disconnect the remote starter so there’s no possibility of it starting the engine. Better yet, have the remote starter removed.

As I usually do, I agree with mcparadise.

I suggest that you take the car to a trusted mechanic to have every vestige of that remote starter mechanism and its related wiring removed from the car, and for the car’s original wiring to be restored to its original configuration. Otherwise, you risk having this thing triggered again by someone else’s remote.

I suggest buying and installing a carbon monoxide detector in your house, today if possible.

I also agree with MC…

Is it possible that someone broke in to your garage? Because if you are absolutely sure that you put it in to park, the car most-definitely did not shift by itself

Thank you for your advice. Funny, the car was in reverse when I got in, but the parking brake was not on. I have no idea why it did not back through the door.

I did try starting the car outside and putting the car in reverse and then pulling the key out. That was impossible. But I did have to keep my foot on the brake.

I’ll get rid of the remote starter. I had assumed it would have no effect.

There is something more here than meets the eye, as the old saying goes. If the car was in reverse, but the parking brake was not on, I can’t understand why the car did not move.

Do what my son suggests (he’s a fire investigator) and not only install CO detectors in the house but also one in the garage.

Do NOT run a vehicles engine in ANY enclosed space unless the exhaust is routed through an exit hose to the outside.

Carbon monoxide fumes will set off the in-garage alarm long before the one in the house goes off.

With this type of arrangement, you will have a fore-warning system set up.

While on the subject of alarms in a home, what goes through some peoples minds when they see a family torn apart from losing loved ones in a house fire simply due to the fact NO operating smoke detectors were installed?

Smoke alarms are CHEAP. Buy a 9V battery and install it. When the battery starts to ‘chirp’, replace it.

I have 5 of them throughout my home, plus CO detectors within ten feet of the gas fired water heater, the gas furnace, one about 6 feet from our family room gas fireplace and one outside our bedrooms. I replace the batteries in all twice a year.

To me, these are cheap insurance.

I don’t have the luxury of an attached storage shed (more commonly known as a garage), but a double driveway long enough for 6 cars.

Neither can I. Things just don’t add up.

I have been in cars with automatics that could be in gear on level ground and at a low idle would not move. Of course that was a long time ago and they were about 1960. I have not driven many automatics since then.