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I have a car with push to start. To use it, I have to push down the brake and press the button. However I've realized that occasionally I'll push the button and immediately switch to drive or reverse before the ignition process is complete. This causes the car not to start and I have to just put it back in park and try again.

Is doing this bad for my car?

  • It's definitely not doing it any good. I'd avoid doing this. – Bob Sep 12 '14 at 19:37
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It will wear the engine internals more, as there is less lubrication. It's roughly equivalent to pulling the coil wire on a distributor and just spinning the engine for no reason. At that low of engine rotation speed, the oil pump is not providing sufficient oil.

There's also possibility to cause extra wear to the transmission, as you're shifting into gear before the engine is running, so sufficient pressure and flow has not built up inside the transmission yet either, though the engine is spinning. As the parts that contact catch on to one another, extra stress may be getting exerted on them.

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I don't think it's good for the car, but I don't think you are doing any irreparable harm. I don't think mechanically it is causing you anything major, but you are probably causing spark plugs to foul sooner, carb (I'm assuming this is an older vehicle since you didn't specify) is probably getting gummed up, and probably more along this line. This would be due to incomplete ignition and burn on startup of air/fuel mixture.

I think your best bet is to just pay a little more attention to what you're doing while starting. Your car will thank you for it.

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