Starting A Car With Accessories On - Detrimental or Not?

Is there any mechanical or electrical reason why a vehicle should not be started with the accessories turned on? For example, starting a vehicle with the power antenna raising and the air conditioning, stereo, and sometimes windshield wipers in the on position.

No , just start the vehicle .

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Power antenna? You must have an old car.

Accessories on modern vehicles are controlled by relays, they are switched off while cranking the engine.

OK, thanks for the information. The power antenna is on a 2000 Taurus wagon, so yes, pretty old.

Where I live, winter brings below freezing temperatures. Starting a car with windshield wipers or antennas powered on but frozen in place can lead to damage. I ruined a wiper motor once that way. I got in the habit of shutting everything off when I exited the car after that incident. I just was wondering if there was any benefit to starting a vehicle with “no-accessories-on” when temperatures are above freezing, too.

And I did later find the answer on this site, too.
True or False: It’s OK to Start Car With Accessories Turned On

Thanks again

You should turn the wipers off. As you say, if they’re frozen in place, that’s bad news. Even if they’re not frozen, you don’t want them to wipe across a windshield that’s dry and dirty.


My wife drives me slightly nuts during hot weather (well, slightly more nuts than she normally does, anyway :wink:). Before she starts her vehicle she turns off the ac. Never mind that neither the ac compressor nor the fan kicks in until the engine is running. Since it only wastes a few seconds of her time and adds only a tiny amount of wear to the hvac control, I simply let it go but I still wish she’d stop.

I have not ever had a car that cared either way, the frozen windsheild wipers happened a few times, I try and turn them off but never had a problem because of it.

The owner’s manual for my 1954 Buick advised to be sure the radio was turned off before starting the engine or the radio could be damaged.
In the Buicks of those days, the radio was not wired through the ignition switch. The radio could be turned on whether the ignition was on or off. The ignition switch had three positions: 1) lock; 2) on; 3) off. To start the engine, you turned the ignition switch to “on” and stepped on the accelerator. When the engine started, the starter automatically disengaged. The radio was a vacuum tube a.m. radio. When the starter was engaged, the voltage from the battery dropped and the drop in voltage could damage the vibrator which pulsated the voltage so it could be stepped up by a transformer to supply high voltage to the vacuum tube plates.
(What I never understood was why, when the car had vacuum wipers, the vacuum tubes in the radio couldn’t be run on engine vacuum. Maybe the engineers wanted the radio to be played when the engine was off and didn’t want the radio to cut out under hard acceleration).

My grandfather had a dresser drawer full of bad vacuum tubes.
Maybe he thought one day he’d acquire a round tooit, open each tube up, perform repair, then use the vacuum cleaner before re-sealing.