Quick Tips to Help You Start Car with Bad Ignition Switch

All set to go on an adventurous journey but your car refuses to start because it has a bad ignition switch. What would be your reaction? Definitely, you get frustrated. Canceling out your journey due to a bad ignition switch is the last thing you can want or even think about. At that moment, you only want to start your car without involving the car ignition switch and enjoy your journey.

However, the main concern is how you can do so. Don’t worry, we are here to help you in this regard. We can guide you on how to start a car even when it has a bad or non-functional starter switch. However, you first need to know the symptoms and causes of bad ignition switches. Let’s move forward and go through all these things.

Signs of Bad Ignition Switch:

It is mandatory to know the bad ignition switch symptoms. Otherwise, you cannot find out if the reason behind your automobile not starting is a bad ignition switch or something else. Following are the basic signs:

The Engine Doesn’t Start

It’s the most basic symptom of a bad starter switch. When the switch completely becomes non-functional, it doesn’t supply the current from the battery source. As a result, no ignition spark is produced and the engine remains off.

Causes of Bad Car Starting

Start and Stall

It is also among the common signs of a bad ignition switch. When you turn on the switch, the car starts first. However, it is followed by an immediate stall. It happens because the current is not supplied properly.

No Power to Accessories

Lights and different other accessories in your car also demand an electric supply from the battery to turn on. If you observe your vehicle get started but these accessories remain off, then your vehicle is dealing with a poor start switch.

If you observe your car get started but these accessories remain off, then your car is dealing with a bad start switch

The Engine Doesn’t Off

Sometimes you may observe that the power stays on when the key is off. It also happens due to a bad ignition switch. The supply doesn’t cut off and the engine keeps on running.

Silent Starter Motor

A sound is produced by the motor upon starting your car. If you observe the starter motor remaining silent upon turning the key then your car has a bad ignition switch. You can also check the neutral switch. If a clicking noise comes out of the engine about using the neutral safety switch then the problem is somewhere else and the start switch is Ok.

The Key Doesn’t Turn

You need a key to turn the ignition switch and start your vehicle. Therefore, the process is known as key ignition as well. However, if you observe that the key is not turning inside the switch or you have to struggle a lot in doing so, then your car has a bad ignition switch.

Car key

Causes of Bad Ignition Switch:

Knowing the reasons behind the bad ignition switch can help you prevent this problem in the future by avoiding these reasons. The following are the key reasons behind the bad ignition or malfunctioning switch of the car.

Key Breaks Inside the Switch

As mentioned earlier, you need to use a key to turn on the switch. Sometimes, the switch may be stuck and you rotate the key forcefully. As a result, the key can break and its half part remains inside the switch. It results in the complete malfunctioning of the start switch.

Jammed Wafers

Wafers are the special cuts inside the lock that make it recognize the specific key. With time, these wafers get jammed due to dirt and other reasons. As a result, they failed to recognize the specific key and your car remained off.

Manufacturing Defect

If you bought a new car just a few months back, then a bad ignition switch can be due to the manufacturer’s mistake. In simple words, you can say that a defective switch was adjusted in your vehicle at the time of manufacturing.

Other Reasons

Above mentioned reasons are the most common ones. Apart from them, some other reasons are also responsible for this problem. These reasons include temperature, worn-out ignition contacts, and broken springs.

Methods to Start a Car With a Bad Ignition Switch:

You need to bypass the ignition switch to start your car when the start switch is not working otherwise you have to cancel your plans which you never want to do especially because of a small switch.

The following are the most effective methods to bypass ignition switch. Let’s have a look at them and find which one is best for your car.

Bypass Ignition Switch Using Resistor

It is probably the most effective method to fix a car starting problem. You need a resistor to apply this method. First of all, remove the negative wire from the battery. A resistor has two wires attached to a piece of metal with the letter R written on it. Connect these wires with each terminal of the battery. Connect the free ends of the wires with the starter and the car gets started.

Make sure to remove the wires from the terminals ASAP after the engine starts. Otherwise, you may have to face the risk of engine failure.

Drill and Screwdriver Method

This method is among the top vehicle repair tips to start your car immediately. You simply need a drill and a screwdriver fixed in it from the backside. Insert the head of the screwdriver into the switch and turn on the drill. This practice starts the vehicle immediately.

You can also dig a hole in the switch using the drill to remove wafers. After that, you simply have to use a screwdriver as a key and twist it in the switch to start your car.

Start a Car With a Bad Ignition Switch

Jumper Cable Method

This method involves supplying the current from an external source. You need a jumper wire and attach its one end to your car’s battery. Attach the other end to the external source. It helps in starting the engine as the external source can provide the spark for ignition and then your own battery starts supplying current.

Make sure both batteries are fully charged when using this tip. Otherwise, the car may not start.

jumper cables

Take Your Vehicle to Mechanic

If none of the above-mentioned auto repair tips work for you, then you need to take your vehicle to the mechanic. As the switch is not working, you cannot start your car or drive it to the mechanic. Therefore, you need to call a tow truck. It lifts your car to the nearest mechanic so you can get it repaired.


Will a bad ignition switch drain a battery?

Yes! It will drain your car’s battery. It forces you to start the car, again and again, which results in battery drainage.

Can a bad ignition switch cause transmission problems?

Usually, it doesn’t have a connection with the transmission gear so transmission remains unaffected. However, in cars with automatic transmissions, a bad ignition switch can lock the transmission gear.

How to bypass the ignition switch to start the car?

There are different methods to bypass ignition switch and start your car. You can opt for a jumper wire, drill, screwdriver, or resistor method to bypass the start switch. However, the safest method is to take your car to a mechanic and get it repaired properly.

How much is an ignition switch?

The average cost to repair an ignition switch is around $95 to $200. However, it will cost less if you opt for DIY instead of taking your car to a mechanic.

Bottom Line

Next time you fail to start your car, check for the signs of a bad ignition switch. After that, you can use the aforementioned methods to bypass ignition switch. Make sure to try these methods with proper instruments. To avoid any misshaping, you must call a tow truck and take your car to a mechanic.

Last Updated on January 20, 2023 by admin

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