Q: What are the various ignition switch positions?

asked by on December 15, 2015

What are the various ignition switch positions?

Like most other cars today, yours has several different positions on the ignition switch. Understanding what each position does is important to ensuring that you can operate and drive the car safely. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Off: The rearmost position on the ignition is OFF. The gearshift is locked in this position, and the engine is off. All accessories are turned off (after the delay expires if it’s set).

  • Accessory: This position allows you to use your radio, power windows and other electronic accessories. Be careful about using them too long, though. They pull power straight from the battery.

  • On: The ON position turns on all of your electronics, as well as the dash warning lights. When the engine is running, the key will also be in this position.

  • Start: Turn the key to START to crank your engine and begin driving. The key should only stay in this position for a few seconds.

Tip

Don’t leave your key in the ignition after turning the engine off. It’s unsafe (easily stolen), and it can drain the battery (the computer recognizes the presence of the key).

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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

Crank no start

Hey there, thanks for writing in about your 2003 Ford Explorer. It sounds to me like you either have no fuel or bad fuel at the injectors, or no spark to spark plugs. Try to narrow the problem to one...

How do I attach the rear seat belt comfort guide?

The shoulder straps on the rear seats are not adjustable. However, the rear seat belts come with comfort guides that can increase comfort (especially for kids who have outgrown their car seats), and can also increase safety. Here’s how to...

Airbag

Hello and thank you for your question. Air bags are a useful safety feature. If you live in a jurisdiction where auto inspections are mandated, the vehicle might fail inspection if any essential safety equipment is non functional. If you...

Related articles

A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Volvo C70
Volvo Volvo has long been renowned for its safety and reliability, and the C70 takes those highly desirable traits and combines them with the sporty fun of a cabriolet. This convertible, however, comes with a twist – a hard top....
How Often Should the Ignition System Be Inspected?
Your Your ignition system is a critical part of both your car and daily driving experience. If it isn't working correctly, you could experience anything from poor engine operation to engine stall or failure to start. It’s critical that you...
The Best Used Cars to Buy for Dog Owners
Dog Dog owners are a special breed of drivers. When they shop for a used car they have a list of requirements that can be quite different from other drivers, which tends to make the process a bit of a...