One of people who drive our Van Toyota Sienna 2014 has the habit of turning OFF all of the internal controls by counterclockwise turning the ignition key. This is to say, before turning the engine off and getting out of the car, she has the Air Conditioning ON, the CD Player or Radio ON, the windshield wipers ON.. and instead of pressing the Power Buttons for each of these features, she relies on the turning counterclockwise the ignition key. According to my own lights, that's not okay. In fact, I find it annoying.

Would you tell me what kind of effects(vehicle maintenance or lifespan) should we expect as a result of this habit?

I believe the Power Buttons were installed inside the vehicle for a reason.

Thanks a lot! Ruy.

  • 1
    You are presuming that there will be any differences to a vehicle's lifespan. There are individual power buttons on each accessory for the reason that there are individual control to wash, spin, and or dry in a washing machine, i.e. you don't always need all of them on at the same time.
    – Lie Ryan
    Feb 21 '16 at 5:31

Yes it is annoying but generally harmless and won't affect the life of the vehicle or accessories. However, the one exception to this is the windshield wipers. If the car is turned off while they are in mid-wipe, they won't be at their "park" position.

Even this is generally harmless, unless you live in an area where the wipers might freeze to the windshield overnight. Now starting the car, even with the wiper switch in the "off" position, will cause the wipers to attempt to go to the park position. But they're frozen to the windshield and can't move.

I've seen this happen, and the result was a severely bent wiper blade making the car undriveable on salty-wet roads until a new wiper blade was installed.

And of course, this could be avoided by putting the wipers up when parking the car in snow and freezing rain, or making sure that the wipers aren't stuck before starting the car. So it's really a winter weather problem that can be compounded by leaving the wipers on when turning the car off.

  • Agreed, only the wipers on can cause harm. Could burn the motors if they get stuck overnight. Feb 22 '16 at 13:12

The ignition key is a quite complex switch mechanism and automotive manufactures design it that way to fool proof the system. Switching off the ignition (to the point of taking the key out) will disconnect the battery from all non-essential equipment in the car (essentials being the clock, alarm system etc.). Hence, there is no damage that really occurs.

One aspect to keep in mind is that it is possible to accidentally turn off the music system with the volume all the way up. Turning the car on might blast the speakers bringing the life of the speakers down over the long run.

Something not relevant but you would like to know is that, when you turn the key (or push a button) to crank the engine, all electronics are generally momentarily turned off to allow the starter motor to use the power of the battery. (This is not the case with some newer cars)


The simple answer is that it makes no difference.

No damage will be caused. No extra maintenance.

In fact you will probably find that the majority of people do exactly what this person does. Doing it like that ensures that everything comes back on just as you left it.

The power buttons are there for a reason, to allow you to choose what is on and off individually.


When you turn the ignition to the off position the power to your vehicle's accessories is disconnected.

  • 1
    From the sound of his question the OP knows this. His concern is that all the accessories are on when this person turns the ignition off and if that has a harmful effect on the accessories rather than turning them off all individually before the ignition is cut off by using the key. Feb 21 '16 at 5:14

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