The maintenance of any asset is crucial to its ownership. It is especially crucial for items that are often used, like cars. While regular maintenance keeps the vehicles in good condition, uncommon problems can occasionally arise.
The most annoying issue that might arise with your car is a bad ignition switch. It causes numerous issues when trying to start your engine, a sign of your car’s poor performance.
Water infiltration is the primary cause of ignition switch issues. The connectors get wet and rust over time, causing electrical and mechanical issues.

Loose connections that result in electrical failures because the circuit isn’t closed can also be a cause of ignition switch failure.
Fortunately, there are some practical solutions to this problem. We’ll go over some advice on how to start a car with a bad ignition switch as well as potential causes.

How does a car’s Ignition work?

Most drivers take the ignition switch on their cars for granted. They are aware of how to start the car, but many are unaware of what occurs when they turn the key or press the button.

An explanation of how an ignition switch functions and some advice on how to start your car more simply in cold weather are provided below.

We’ll also cover how doing routine maintenance on your car’s ignition system can help you stop some problems in their tracks. Let’s first go over some fundamentals of automotive electricity.
The electrical system in a car is remarkably similar to the one in your house. Your car’s ignition switch provides electrical power to three important parts:

  • The power-generating battery
  • The engine, which is started by the starter.
  • The ignition coil(s) (which produce ignition-sparking sparks)

Current travels from your battery directly to the starter solenoid through a wire when you turn on your ignition key. A lever that contacts gear teeth on both sides of the starter drive shaft is pulled in as a result of the solenoid being activated.
The motor turns over with far less effort when all of this gearing is engaged, just enough for it to meet its own power requirements.

Let’s start the car now. A switch is activated when the key is turned to “Start,” sending current to the ignition coil(s). A spark is produced when the ignition coil transforms electrical energy into extremely high heat and pressure.

This spark ignites a small pocket of air and fuel in each cylinder if the timing is right. Your car is propelled by the power produced by the subsequent combustion, which pushes the pistons downward and rotates the driving shaft.

How does the ignition switch go bad?

The most frequent source of ignition switch issues is water. Over time, it may cause the switch to corrode, which eventually results in the switch failing.

Another typical issue with a defective ignition switch that causes intermittent electrical failure is a loose connection.

The majority of issues can be avoided by performing routine maintenance. At least once a year, you should check your ignition system to make sure everything is in order.

How to Start a Car with a Bad Ignition: Signs of Bad Ignition Switch

The issue at hand is: What signs point to a failing ignition switch? Here are a few signs of a defective ignition switch that will enable you to address the issue with the electrical accessories and restore control of your engine.

Your vehicle won’t start.

A broken ignition switch’s primary and most frequent symptom is that the car won’t start. You can turn the key as many times as you want, but eventually, the engine will quit working.

It occurs because your ignition switch might not be able to fully supply the starter motor, ignition controls, and engine controls with electricity. The problems could be mechanical or electrical, so it’s best to identify the precise issue with a professional’s assistance.

Turning off the Key will be Difficult.

You should examine the ignition switch if the key becomes stuck when you are attempting to start the vehicle.

Similarly, if you’re having problems withdrawing the key, the ignition switch is broken.

In this case, you won’t be able to start your car using the key, and you’ll know for sure that the switch is the problem.

Your car will start before abruptly stalling.

You need to be sufficiently observant for this one.

For instance, if you’re driving and your car unexpectedly breaks down, examine the dashboard right away. If all of the lights go out at once, the major villain is probably your ignition switch.

Blinking dashboard

As I mentioned before, you should check the dashboard lights if you see that the automobile is stalling.

The dashboard system should not, however, just be checked when your automobile stalls. Instead, you should occasionally notice the flashing light or other accessories.

Your ignition switch has failed if it stops functioning as it once did.

The ignition in your car keeps turning on

When you try to turn off the ignition but the automobile is still moving, the ignition switch is also regarded as defective. In this situation, the automobile won’t stop right away, even if you remove the key.

The starter motor stops operating

Last but not least, if there is a problem with the ignition switch, your starter motor will become completely silent. When you turn it on, there won’t be any clicking noise.

Make sure the problem is with the switch if this occurs.

Getting a car to start when the ignition is damaged

After learning how an ignition switch operates, let’s look at some advice on starting a car with a bad ignition:

  • The key should be turned the other way, at least. This method can occasionally start the engine, despite its unusual sound.
  • Try turning the key after shifting into neutral if your automobile has a manual transmission.
  • To jumpstart your car, use a jumper cable. The positive terminal on your battery should be connected to one end of the cable, and the positive terminal on your friend’s battery should be connected to the other end.
  • Before you do this, make sure both batteries are fully charged.

You might need to call a tow truck or drive your automobile to a repair shop if all else fails. Or explore other options!

How to Use Jumper Cables to Start a Car with a Malfunctioning Ignition Switch

Use jumper cables if your ignition switch isn’t working to start your car. Find your car battery’s positive and negative terminals first.

Then connect the cable’s black end to an external power source, such as the battery of another car or a home charger, and connect the other ends of the wires at their respective connectors.

Your automobile should start without a hitch if you’ve followed these guidelines. Just be mindful to avoid touching the jumper cables while the engine is running, as this could result in an electrical fire.

Hotwiring a Car with a Bad Ignition Switch

As we did in the last section, the first step is to take off the panels covering the area where your battery is placed. Then, take out the four bolts holding it in place with a socket wrench or screwdriver. Use pliers to remove them if required.

Two wires are required once the panel has been removed, one red for the positive (+) end of a car battery terminal connector that is situated close to the location of the airbag cover attachment point at the upper center of the left side panel.
Don’t forget about the ground wire! This will go into one post, and another will go into the bottom right corner post from underneath through a little hole that was already there when the manufacturer first built the vehicle.

Simply attach those three components before starting the engine again, because if anything else fails during the procedure, everything would simply revert to the previous state, which is not ideal.

Starting a Car with a Bad Ignition Switch with a Drill and a Screwdriver

Start by removing the screwdriver from the black plastic cover on top of the steering column. It should be simple to remove because it is secured in place by two screws.

After you’ve taken off the cover, examine the ignition switch. Three little holes should be seen adjacent to one another. The switch’s screws are located in the other two holes, whereas the key goes in the middle hole.

Put the proper tool into each of these holes using a drill or a screwdriver, and then spin it clockwise. Take care not to harm anything else as you do this!
You should be able to start your automobile easily after a few minutes of spinning. Just make sure to put everything back in its proper place before leaving.

How to Prevent Ignition Switch Problems

One of the most serious issues with starting your car is a failing ignition switch. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to keep it in great condition.

Let me share some advice with you so that you never experience an ignition switch issue.

  • Take your automobile in for maintenance from time to time. Our cars require a checkup, just like us
  • To prevent this ignition switch issue, all wires should be clean and free of corrosion. Water interference is what causes this issue.
  • Always verify whether there are any connectivity issues. In the long run, this could be dangerous. If you discover any weak connections, try to replace them as quickly as you can.


If your ignition switch is broken, trying to start your car won’t work, like trying to ignite a fire with wet wood.

Furthermore, a replacement ignition switch can be significantly more expensive than buying a match, which might only cost a few cents. This is due to the fact that the switch must be accessed and replaced by first dismantling a portion of the steering column.

Furthermore, it’s critical to select a switch that is compatible with the make and model of your vehicle because replacing an incompatible part could result in future problems that are worse (and costlier).

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