Q: Car shut off suddenly, battery power stayed on, was unable to remove key. Was able to start car briefly before it shut off again.

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Today when I started it and began to back out, it suddenly shut off. The power was still on--radio was going, windows worked etc, and all of the dash lights lit up. The key was still in the 'on' position so I tried to turn the car off and take it out, but the key refused to turn from 'accessory' and I wasn't able to. I tried turning it to start it but nothing happened, it just stayed 'on' without the engine running.

I was able to still change gears so I moved it to neutral and pushed it back into the parking spot. I tried a few more times to take the key out but it refused to turn. At this point it had been sitting like that for about 10 minutes and I was able to get the ignition to go and the engine to start, but it ran for only a moment before turning off again. After another few minutes I got it to start long enough to yank the key out!

I started it w/ no problems a couple hours later and let it run for a bit before turning it off. Any ideas on what's wrong? Thank you! -Rose

My car has 184000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

It sounds like you may have a faulty ignition switch as well as a bad ignition cylinder. As you may know, your ignition has several circuits: Always On - Connected directly to the battery and is not affected by the ignition switch. This includes: alarm, interior lights, brake lights, headlights, computer memory (radio, ecu, tcm, bcm) Accessory - Items that the driver needs, but are not necessary for the vehicle to run. These include: radio, HVAC, windshield wipers Run - These items are necessary for the engine to run. Items include: ecu, fuel pump, coils(s) Start - This circuit runs the starter. The ignition switch controls which circuits get power from what position it is in. Key position: ACC: powers the accessory circuit RUN: powers the accessory and run circuits START: powers the run and start circuits Most modern ignition switches have an UNLOCK position that allows you to turn the steering wheel (and possible shift out of park) while none of keyed circuits are active. When your ignition switch fails, this may cause any of the above circuits to remain active after taking the key out of the ignition. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your ignition system.

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