How To Start A Car With A Bad Ignition Switch

A bad ignition switch can be a frustrating problem to deal with, but it doesn’t have to bring your day to a halt. If your ignition switch is giving you trouble, there are a few ways you can try to start your car until you can find a permanent solution.

Important Outline

Before attempting to start a car with a bad ignition switch, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the issue and how it could impact your vehicle. In this guide, we will outline the crucial steps to take, as well as some alternatives in case the primary methods do not work. The important steps discussed include:

1. Diagnose the faulty ignition switch
2. Utilize a screwdriver to turn the ignition
3. Use jumper cables for a quicker fix
4. Install a push-button start system

1. Diagnose the Faulty Ignition Switch

The first step is identifying that the problem lies within the ignition switch. A bad ignition switch may cause the car not to crank or start. If the issue persists even after replacing the battery or checking the cables, chances are that you have a faulty ignition switch.

2. Utilize a Screwdriver to Turn the Ignition

It’s possible to bypass the ignition switch by using a screwdriver to engage the car’s starter solenoid. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Remove the steering wheel column cover using a screwdriver.
2. Locate the ignition switch (typically on the right side of the steering column).
3. Insert the screwdriver into the key slot and turn it to the “Start” position.
4. If the engine cranks and starts, you have successfully bypassed the ignition switch. Please note that this method might not work with some modern cars equipped with advanced security systems.

3. Use Jumper Cables for a Quicker Fix

Another way to start your car is by direct cranking the starter motor using jumper cables. Follow these steps:

1. Make sure your car battery is charged and properly connected.
2. Locate the starter motor underneath the hood of your car.
3. Connect the positive jumper cable clamp to the positive terminal on the battery.
4. Carefully touch the other positive clamp to the starter motor’s solenoid terminal while standing clear of any moving parts.
5. The car should start immediately. However, it would be best if you did not utilize this method repeatedly, as it can damage the starter.

4. Install a Push-Button Start System

Installing an aftermarket push-button start system is another way to bypass a faulty ignition switch. This installation is more involved but allows for a more convenient and permanent solution. Many kits are available on the market, so finding one compatible with your vehicle shouldn’t be an issue. It’s essential to follow the instructions provided with the kit or consult a professional for assistance.

Problems with your ignition switch can be frustrating and inconvenient, but using one or more of the methods mentioned above can help get your car started until you can repair the ignition switch properly. Always consult a professional mechanic to diagnose and fix the issue to ensure the safety and reliability of your vehicle.

Step by Step Guide

In this section, we will provide a detailed, step-by-step guide to deal with a bad ignition switch to get your vehicle running again while you find a permanent solution:

1. Confirm the problem: Double-check all possible causes of the vehicle not starting, including the battery, fuses, and starter motor, to ensure the issue is with the ignition switch.
2. Gather tools and materials: Be prepared with screwdrivers, jumper cables, and other essential tools you might need during the process.
3. Choose a method to bypass the ignition switch: Decide which one of the methods discussed before (screwdriver, jumper cables, or push-button start system) is most suitable for your situation and skillset.
4. Follow safety precautions: Make sure you’re working in a safe environment, turn off the vehicle, and disconnect the battery before attempting any repairs.
5. Bypass the ignition switch: Carefully execute the chosen method, taking note of all connections and steps to ensure success.
6. Test the fix: Once the bypass is completed, try starting the vehicle to confirm the problem has been temporarily resolved.
7. Plan for a permanent repair: Schedule an appointment with a professional mechanic to diagnose and repair the ignition switch as soon as possible.

Step by Step Guide With Bullet Points

To provide a concise overview, here’s a bullet-point summary of the steps discussed above:

– Confirm the problem with the ignition switch
– Gather necessary tools and materials
– Choose a method to bypass the ignition switch (screwdriver, jumper cables, or push-button)
– Follow safety precautions and disconnect the battery
– Execute the chosen method and bypass the ignition switch
– Test the temporary fix
– Schedule a permanent repair with a professional mechanic

Pros and Cons

While bypassing a faulty ignition switch can be beneficial in a pinch, it’s essential to understand the potential advantages and disadvantages of these temporary fixes:

– Quick and efficient way to get your car running again
– Potentially cost-effective, especially if utilizing simple tools
– Can provide you time to schedule an appointment with a mechanic

– Not a permanent solution
– May carry some risks, such as electrical shock or damage to vehicle components
– Bypassing security features may lead to potential theft or other issues
– Not recommended for those unfamiliar with automotive repairs


Q: How do I know if the ignition switch is the problem?
A: Issues with the ignition switch often present themselves by the vehicle not starting or cranking. If you’ve ruled out other potential causes, such as a dead battery or a faulty starter motor, then the ignition switch might be the culprit.

Q: Can I use these methods to bypass the ignition on all vehicles?
A: While these methods may work for many older vehicles, some advanced security systems in modern cars can render them ineffective.

Q: Is it safe to perform these temporary fixes on my own?
A: If you are confident in your abilities and knowledge of car repairs, these temporary fixes can be attempted. However, always exercise caution and prioritize safety. If you are unsure or uncomfortable, it’s best to consult a professional mechanic.

Q: How soon should I get the ignition switch repaired permanently?
A: As soon as possible. While these temporary fixes can help in a bind, they are not meant to be long-term solutions. Schedule an appointment with a professional mechanic to ensure the safety and reliability of your vehicle.


Dealing with a bad ignition switch can be daunting, but being armed with knowledge and temporary fixes can help you get back on the road in no time. However, it’s crucial to emphasize that these methods should only be used as a last resort until you can schedule a proper repair with a professional mechanic. By understanding the pros, cons, and potential risks involved, you can make informed decisions about how to tackle the situation until your vehicle is ultimately repaired.

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