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Q: What are the various ignition switch positions?

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What are the various ignition switch positions?

A: Like most other cars today, yours has sever...

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.


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).

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