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I am not a car person by any means and am looking for some advice/help in resolving an issue where my car accessories turn back on after the car is off, leading to a dead battery.

The things I have noticed:

  • I always make sure the car does completely turn off (visually speaking), I wait about 10 seconds after locking the door and closing it and all the lights dim. However, I can come back 30 minutes - hour later and by looking into the car windows I can see my accessories turned back on. I can see the P (parking) light lit up on the dash, I can see the radio lit up, I can see the light under the steering wheel lit up, ect... It looks like all the "accessories"/ACC are back on.

  • Usually when I find the car back on, if I open the door I can hear the door ringer from it being open (as if I had left my headlights on or key in), what I found to do is put my key back in the ignition and press hardly in the "off" direction and pull it out. This usually stops it for a bit.

    NOTE: My car ignition does not have a backward state either, it only moves 1 direction from the off state.

  • Similar to the above ^, I also found that sometimes when I get out of my car to lock it (after driving), I press the lock switch it flips to locked but then immediately flips back to unlocked. And it will keep doing this until I do the above again (put my key in - without turning it on - and just press hardly on the off direction and pull it back out).

  • This has been occurring for about...2/3 months now. I have paid for two full electrical checks so far, and have my startup system and battery checked 3x now as well. So far no one has found anything, and I went to large GM dealerships for all the above.

  • I have found no other patterns yet, been trying to find one all summer :(

From what I have read online it sounds like it may be an ignition switch. But before I dump money into a new ignition switch, I still have not found anyone talking about their ignition switching turning itself back - usually most people said the car accessories would never turn off in the first place whereas mine does turn off but then seem to turn back on.

Just want to see if there are any other suggestions/things I can try before dumping money into random stuff.

Again, I know nothing on cars - I change oil and jump a battery but that is it, so simply advice is appreciated! :)

EDIT 1 Just went out to my car for a break (been sitting for 2.5 hours), all the accessories were on usual, including outside stuff like my windshield wipers. It is probably helpful to note that my car lights don't turn on however (the external ones), the option is set to Auto for those.

FINAL UPDATE/ANSWER [2/25/2019] The issue was that the ignition switch was going bad and quietly turning over into ACC mode which turned on the radio. It has been almost 1 year since the ignition switch was replaced and I have not had this issue.

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  • In all honesty, this could be a security and safety issue. Call the dealership, give them your VIN, and ask if there are any open recalls on your vehicle. You've said you "know nothing on cars", so I would suggest taking it to someone who does. Electrical issues can be a real booger to find. You could spend more months and lots of $$ to only become for frustrated without resolving anything.
    – CharlieRB
    Sep 30 '16 at 17:44
  • This sounds like an issue with electrics behind the lock cylinder in the steering wheel. All of your conditions point to as if the key was in the ignition and turned to at least the ACC position (the position just before on). If the BCM was getting the signal the ignition was turned to the ACC or ON positions, it would turn everything on just like you are describing. Sep 30 '16 at 19:14
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 What would you suggest I do? I have had it in 4-5x now to a few dealerships and either the car doesn't act up at that moment or they find nothing. I really need to get this sorted as it is now winter (snows here) and this still happens. I asked the most recent dealership if I should replace ignition switch but they thought there was 0% it could be the cause of this. Any and all advice welcome!
    – Austin
    Dec 8 '16 at 22:42
  • This may not be an issue with the key, but it may be a problem with the Body Control Module. I don't normally recommend this, but you may want to just get it replaced. This may or may not fix it, but everything you are saying points in this direction. The BCM controls power to a lot of systems. If it doesn't provide it, it provides information through the CANBus for it. If you are finding your electrics on after shutdown, I think this is where I'd look. Dec 8 '16 at 23:14
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Hmmm okay, so one of the mechanics thought this too and he actually removed the BCM for a week or two for me (or at least I believe he did, it was this large square components with lots of wires). I think he routed stuff to the power source or something. Anyways, the issue still seemed to occur regardless of this. Do you think the BCM could still be the issue?
    – Austin
    Dec 8 '16 at 23:44

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