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: High output alternator - What about the voltage regulator?

Hi there. Typically we don't offer advice on aftermarket component upgrades. In regards to whether the voltage regulator is located inside the new alternator, that depends on the unit. This one for example has it installed inside and does not...

Q: Can I use an alternator from a 2002 maxima on my 2001 Maxima?

I cross referenced the part numbers for your alternator. I looked on www.autozone.com and they did match up for Duralast alternators. However, I don't know what brand you are asking about so there is no 100% certainty that it will...

Q: Looking for the over flow connection so my coolant reverts back to my reservoir

The overflow connection will be under the lip where the radiator cap goes on. Sometimes the connection falls out from broken solder joints. The tank connection may be incorporated in the cap for the tank on some models. In other...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.