Turning the ignition while the car is running


Old 11-13-06, 08:01 AM
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Question Turning the ignition while the car is running

Ok, I pulled a boneheaded manuevuer the other day with my girlfriend's car. It was the first time driving it. When we got to her house, instead of turning it off I turned the key the wron way like I was starting it again. It made the worst sound. She used it the next few days since without problems. I had done that before with my old Corsica and it didn't seem to affect it in the long run. But, her car broke down last night. I think its the battery or alternator. I wasn't there and haven't seen it but apparently it was dead in the water late last night with 25 degree weather. They jumped started it and got it running but it would die. They tried it again and let run a while and she was able to run it around the parking lot a bit and it died again. The battery is 5 years old and probably due for replacement but based on my meager experience I'm guessin the alternator is the problem.

My first question is, could I have caused these problems when I started the car while it was still running?

My second is, do you think its the alternator based on this description?

Its a 2001 Chevy Malibu.

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Old 11-13-06, 08:13 AM
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Battery or Alternator?

A 5 year old battery is living on borrowed time. Have your battery load tested to see if it is any good. If it was mine I would replace it any way because I don't like being stranded. I have seen batteries live longer though. If the battery tests OK and if the car exhibited signs of a low battery, ie. dim lights or a sick sounding horn, etc, have the charging system checked. If the lights were bright, you may have a starting system problem. Engaging the starter with the engine running, though certanly not recommended, probably has nothing to do with this issue.
Old 11-13-06, 11:10 PM
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My bet is on battery. Check volts at battery with car running and see if you have 13-15 volts,If so alternator is Ok.

Last edited by twelvepole; 11-13-06 at 11:12 PM. Reason: Quote removed--distracting and redundant
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