Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car trying to start without key in ignition

asked by on

I recently replaced the battery and had to have my car jumpstarted. I took it in to see what was drawing the battery down and it was determined that it was the alternator. I had that replaced and saw a puff of smoke, from the solenoid, when I went to start it. I replaced that and now my car tries to start from the battery and bypasses my ignition altogether, without the key even in the ignition.

Sounds like your starter solenoid may be installed incorrectly. The solenoid has several wires going to it. One to the stater, some coming from the battery, and one form the ignition switch. If the wires are connected on the wrong terminals, you can deliver battery voltage to the starter causing it it crank without the key. I suggest seeking help from a mechanic to help you correct the installation of the solenoid and fix the issue you’re having to get the car started.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: I have a whining squealing noise coming from somewhere in my pulley system and serpentine belt.

If the noise changed when the battery was replaced, I would first suspect the alternator. Sometimes, when a bearing/bushing starts to go bad it will only make noise with the belt installed, as the tension can cause pressure to be...

Q: Electrical problems after engine rebuild

An inspection should be carried out to see if any part of the the wiring loom was crushed, pinched, or cut during the installation of the motor. A starting/charging system test can be performed to ensure proper operation and cranking...

Q: New battery, but car still doesn't start

While having a good battery is a great way to make sure your car is starting great, it is only one of many components that assist in getting your car running. If you have verified that you have a good...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...