Turning things off when you park your car

When I park my car, in addition to turning off the engine and lights, I also turn off the sound system, air (heat or air conditioning), wipers and whatever else I may have had on. My reasoning is that less strain is put on the system when I start up again. I’ve never heard this anywhere, it’s just something I started doing over the years. So am I really doing something beneficial to my car, or is my OCD getting the best of me?

OCD is the winner. This subject has come up on Car Talk and they have explained that when the engine is cranking, almost all other loads are temporarily disconnected.

I think you are doing the right thing. You won’t forget to turn off the wipers like my family often does. Then the next day they are froze to the windshield and try to move.
You aren’t OCD unless you wax the wheel wells. :smiley:

I just turn everything off so the stereo doesn’t scare the crap out of my fiancee when she starts the engine (I listen to stuff a little loud).

Bingo on the wipers if you live in snow country. You can mess them up big time, if you don’t first dig them out.

One of the reasons, I generally turn everything off. And, I like starting fresh. Not on yesterdays song.

I once “stole” my mother’s car before I had a license and while she was away on a holiday. I drove it to my girlfriend’s house. Although it was day, the weather was pretty crap so I had the headlights on to improve my visibility–very mature and responsible I thought. When I stopped the car and opened the door, I heard a loud continuous beeeeep that stopped when I closed the door again. “Huh, a warning to tell me the door is open.” :smack:

Several hours later I found out it was actually a warning to tell me the lights are still on. :smack: again. By then the battery had been run flat and because it was Christmas I didn’t have much luck getting it fixed before my mum returned from her holiday and discovered my crime.

Anyway, I always make sure the lights are off, even when I think I haven’t used them, I also make sure the windscreen wipers are off so they don’t run on a dry windscreen when the car is started. I don’t bother with the stereo though. Try starting the car with the stereo on, you’ll find it gets turned off while the starter is cranking so there’s no issue with the electrical load.

On modern cars, all of the non-essential electrical loads are turned off when you go to start the car.
Wipers? Yeah just so they park in the correct position.
Lights? Sure if you have a car that doesn’t kill them with the key going off. (BTW, I never understood why more car makers don’t wire the headlights so you can’t leave the headlights on)
Other than that, I can’t see taking the time to turn everything off.
I’ll take OCD for $100 Alex.

When flying there is a shut-down checklist. Basically, turn off all of the electricals (lights, radios, etc.), pull the mixture control to idle-cutoff (starves the engine for fuel and it stops), magnetos off, master and alternator switches off. I tended to do that for a long time when parking a car – especially in my first MGB, in which the radio was wired ‘hot’ since there was no accessory position on the ignition switch. (That way I could turn the radio on without turning the key on.) Shutting off the electricals was just force-of-habit.

Nowadays, in more modern vehicles, I turn off the lights and wipers before shutting off the engine. I pull the phone charger out of the socket. But the radio stays on if it’s on. I figure the vehicle has surplus capacity.

I once did exactly as 1920s Style “Death Ray” and drained my battery stone dead. At work. While it was -40. During a blizzard. :smack:

I try to turn off my wipers, not because of freezing (they generally won’t unless previous conditions were heavy slush), but because if I lean in to the car to start it and have the engine warming while I brush the car off, and the wipers start… then I get 1/2 a windshield full of snow down my neck, in the door map compartment, on the seat, and in the footwell. :eek:

The rest can go hang though.

Indicators. If I leave my direction indicator stalk pushed up or down, it activates a parking light on one side of the car. There is an audible alarm when I open the door having done this though, so it’s not easy to do by mistake.

In every car I’ve driven, the stereo, wipers etc have all had a brief pause while the engine turns over.

My g/f’s father makes her turn every thing off, even the fan never mind the heater. The car is also strategically pointed towards a hill, should the worst come to the worst.

I’ve heard that one Lancia had to be parked with the wheels straight (or close to straight) ahead. If you parked and turned off the engine with the wheels on full lock, say after a bit of city parking, and turned the car on again, whatever pulley the power steering would snap under the strain.

An argument for not turning these things off: leaving them on causes less wear on the switches and controls. These switches often fail during the useful life of a car and there are so many of them that maintaining controls is itself an expensive hassle. A switch that costs all of $0.30 to manufacture could cost you $300 and a day or two of rearranging your schedule to get replaced.

I left a car at the airport with the radio on and of course when I came back a week later, at 04:00 in an otherwise practically deserted airport, the battery was dead. Had to push the car a couple of miles before I could find a downslope to bump start it. Hadn’t realised that turning off the ignition left the radio on!

My current transport is a bit brighter than that. I can walk away and leave anything on (the sound system still works with the ignition off) and after a while it goes into economy mode and shuts down all electrical activity except the remote locking and the alarm/immobiliser.
If left on, the wipers turn themselves off and the stalk has to be moved to the ‘off’ position then back on again before they will resume. Helps with the snow thing :slight_smile:

If I leave the windows open, it is supposed to detect rain and close them. Unfortunately I have discovered that this doesn’t actually work and have had to drive home with a wet bum. Must fix that one day. :rolleyes:

I never turn the headlights off - day or night, 365 days a year. The power cost is negligable, and I don’t ever want to take the risk of forgetting to turn them on at night (which happened to me a few times when I was a new driver - not something I would want to repeat).

Strangely enough, my sisters almost completely deceased Fiat allowed the radio to go on with the key out of the ignition, but not the parking lights, which I think is illegal.

I never realised it was so easy to drain a car battery though, when my old Civic got shunted on the motorway, the boot lid could be jammed shut, but not enough that the switch for the boot lid indicator on the dash and the interior boot light would turn off. One night sitting with it on and the battery was dead.

Hah! It was my boss’ wife’s brand new Fiat 500 (1973)

Surely I’m misunderstanding something here. Are you really saying that when you go to sleep, your car’s headlights are still shining on whatever it might be that your car is facing? And that in the morning your battery is still fine?

If so, then your experiences are very different than that of 1920s Style “Death Ray”, Rick, Nanoda, and myself.

In what sort of car is the power cost that negligible?

If it is like mine, the lights are automatic and come on when needed, surprisingly enough sometimes in very bright sunlight conditions where it makes the car more easily visible to drivers otherwise dazzled by sunlight in their eyes. Also come on in rain when the washers have made four sweeps.

Presumably he has a car that doesn’t allow the lights to run with the key out of the ignition.

Yeah, one of those. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a key selling point.