How To Start A Car With A Bad Ignition Switch?

Written By: Terrence Hines
Category: Ignition

How to start a car with a bad ignition switch? This can be a frustrating experience but before you call your mechanic, you can do other simple things to turn the engine on. 

Today, you will learn some basics of managing the situation. Take precautions when working under the hood and consult a mechanic if you’re unsure about anything mentioned.

How To Start A Car With A Bad Ignition Switch?

An ignition switch is a vital part of a car’s starting system. However, it may become faulty over time, leaving you stranded in the middle of nowhere.

 If your ignition switch has gone bad, don’t panic; you can try a few things to start your car. 

First, check the electrical system of your car. Make sure that all the connections are tight and secure.

 If any loose wires or bad grounds are found, repair them before starting the car with a bad ignition switch. 

Then, test the battery of your car for proper charging and voltage. A weak or dead battery can prevent the vehicle from starting even when you try to turn on the key in the ignition switch. 

How To Start A Car With A Bad Ignition Switch?

Proceed to jump-start the vehicle if it fails to start after testing and checking its electrical system and a battery power source. 

Connect one end of a jumper cable to your car’s positive terminal and one end to another running vehicle’s positive terminal, too (observe polarity). 

Then connect one end of the other jumper cable to the negative terminal of your car’s battery and the other end to a ground point on the running vehicle.

After making the necessary connections, start up the running vehicle and let it idle for at least five minutes before attempting to start your car with a bad ignition switch. 

If all goes well, you can start your car with a jump-start. 

Disconnect both jumper cables after starting up your car in order to prevent a short circuit from occurring due to any leftover charges that might still be present in them. 

 If you are still unable to start your car even after performing a jump-start, then it is highly likely that the problem lies with the ignition switch itself and its wiring system

In this case, you must take your car to an experienced mechanic for further diagnosis and repair of the bad ignition switch.

How To Bypass A Bad Ignition Switch? 

If you find yourself stuck in a situation where your vehicle’s ignition switch is not working, bypassing might be an option.

 Bypassing the bad ignition switch means skipping its function and connecting the necessary wires directly to enable the vehicle to start. 

How To Bypass A Bad Ignition Switch? 

The entire process involves identifying which wires are used for starting the car, disconnecting them from the faulty switch, and then connecting them directly. 

To begin with, locate the starter solenoid on your car’s engine block and ensure it’s working properly by testing it using a voltmeter. 

If all is well here, remove the cover from your steering wheel column and inspect all its wiring components. 

Remove the wires connected to the ignition switch and identify those related to starting up the vehicle. 

These usually include a power wire (which is usually red), an ignition wire (usually purple), and a starter relay wire (typically black). 

Now, connect these three wires directly with electrical tape or other suitable wiring materials, and then reconnect them back to the starter solenoid on your car’s engine block. 

Once everything is all set, you should be able to start your car without any issues. 

It is important to note that this bypassing technique should only be used as a temporary solution until you can get proper repairs done for the faulty ignition switch. 

Be sure not to leave the wires connected directly for long periods, as it can damage other components of your car’s electrical system. 

We hope this guide has helped help you better understand how to start a car with a bad ignition switch.

If your vehicle still won’t start after following these steps, be sure to get professional help as soon as possible to avoid further complications.

Alternatives To Replacing The Ignition Switch

When your car’s ignition switch fails, it can be frustrating, especially if you’re away from home and need to get somewhere urgently. 

However, replacing an ignition switch can be time-consuming and may not be feasible if you’re on a tight budget. Fortunately, alternative ways exist to start a car with a bad ignition switch. 

For instance, you may consider using a remote starter, which lets you start the car with a button push. 

Alternatively, you can use a jump starter to supply power to the car’s battery and start the engine. Another option is to use a screwdriver to turn the starter switch manually. 

While these methods may not be a permanent solution, they can get you out of a tight spot until you can fix your ignition switch.

How To Diagnose A Bad Ignition Switch?

It’s important to recognize the warning signs to diagnose a bad ignition switch. 

How To Start A Car With A Bad Ignition Switch? Guide

Symptoms such as difficulty starting the car, sporadic starting, or no response when turning the key in the ignition could all indicate a problem with the switch.

 It’s important to understand that these symptoms could also be caused by other issues with the car, so it’s important to eliminate those possibilities before focusing on the ignition switch. 

In the event that the switch is indeed the culprit, knowing how to start a car with a bad ignition switch can be a helpful temporary solution until the switch can be repaired or replaced. 

By educating yourself on the warning signs and potential solutions, you can be better equipped to tackle any issues with your car’s ignition.

Why May An Ignition Switch Fail?

An ignition switch is an essential component of your car’s engine. In simple terms, it’s the on-and-off switch for your car’s engine and electrical accessories. 

When the ignition switch is faulty, it can cause several problems, such as not starting the car, stalling while driving, or draining the battery

The most common reasons an ignition switch may fail include wear and tear, electrical problems, and damage from a broken key or attempted theft.

 If you find yourself in a situation where your ignition switch has failed, it’s important to know how to start your car with a bad ignition switch. 

While there are several methods, the easiest and safest way is to use a remote starter switch or bypass the ignition switch. 

Always remember a faulty ignition switch can be dangerous, and it is recommended to have your vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic to ensure your safety.

 Signs You Need Professional Help

Struggling to start your car can be a frustrating and stressful experience, especially when you’re on a tight schedule. A bad ignition switch can often be the culprit behind this frustrating problem. 

Ignition switches are essential components of your car’s electrical system, and any issue can cause significant starting problems. 

If you’ve been having difficulty starting your car and experiencing signs like grinding sounds when turning the key or the engine not starting, it may be time to seek professional help. 

A mechanic can diagnose the problem efficiently and provide the necessary repairs to ensure your ignition switch works correctly.

 Signs You Need Professional Help

 It might be tempting to try to start your car with a bad ignition switch repeatedly, but this can lead to more significant and costly problems in the long run. 

Save yourself the trouble and seek professional help for a smoother driving experience.

Tips For Maintaining Your Ignition Switch

Maintaining your ignition switch can seem daunting, but it’s crucial for the longevity and performance of your vehicle. 

One common issue drivers may face is a bad ignition switch, which can challenge starting your car. 

You may need to jiggle the key, hold it in a specific position, or even replace the switch. However, there are preventative measures you can take to avoid this problem in the first place. 

Regularly inspecting your key and ignition switch for wear and tear, and avoiding applying excess pressure or force when starting your car, can help keep your ignition switch in top shape. 

Additionally, keeping your keys separate from heavy objects or other keys can prevent unnecessary strain on the switch. 

Simple and consistent maintenance of your ignition switch can save you time, money, and headaches in the long run.


Dealing with a faulty ignition switch can be a frustrating experience, especially when it prevents you from starting your car. 

However, there are a few things that you can do to get your vehicle up and running. 

To start a car with a bad ignition switch, jiggle the key in its slot or bang the steering wheel a few times to release any stuck parts. 

If these methods don’t work, you can use a screwdriver to bypass the switch and start the engine directly. 

While these steps may provide a temporary solution, getting your ignition switch fixed as soon as possible is important to avoid further damage to your car’s electrical system.

Terrence Hines

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