Why Is My Ignition Switch Getting Hot? (Solved)

Last Updated on January 30, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

There are many reasons your ignition switch can get hot. Some common reasons are overloading, loose connections, wiring issue, short circuit, old switches, etc.

Key Takeaways

  • If you use the ignition switch to power too many electrical devices at once then the switch will become hot
  • The ignition switch can become hot due to a loose connection
  • You should also check the wiring of the switch because if the wiring is damaged then the switch can become hot
  • If there is a short circuit in the electrical system then it can also make the ignition switch hotter

If you survey different car forums, you will realize that a hot ignition switch is a problem for many. I read discussions on five forums and came up with these observations:

StevesNovaSiteIgnition Switch/Wiring Getting HotThe ignition circuit was overheating because of the wrong wiring.
TheFactoryFiveForumIgnition Switch Wires Are HotCheck the grounds for the battery and the engine to see if there is too much current. You may need some relays in your system.
CarTalkWarm Ignition KeyThere’s no need to worry. The ignition switches could be dirty.
TDIClubKey Gets Hot in IgnitionIt would be nice if you looked at the wiring.
CivicForumsIgnition Key Gets Very HOT???It could be an intermittent short. The interlock solenoid generates heat.

Looking at the table, you see that the issue is contentious among drivers. While some point to specific places, others don’t see it as a big issue.

But don’t worry.

Here, you will know how and where to look when your ignition switch becomes hot. Then, you’ll figure out ways of knowing if your ignition starter switch is faulty.

With those tips, you will take care of your ignition switch as soon as you detect any problems.

Learn that and much more below. Keep reading!

Ignition Switch Getting Hot: Where To First Look

Here are the three culprits to look at when your ignition switch gets hot:

1. Poor Grounding

Electrical grounding is crucial to the car’s operations. Since an electrical system is complex, talk to a pro automotive electrician.

The pro will check, trace, and ensure all grounds are in the proper condition. If they’re not, they could be causing heat resistance. In turn, that causes heat to build up and make its way to your ignition key.

2. Overheated Solenoid

The solenoid heats up whenever you’re driving. It does so to prevent you from pulling out the key by mistake.

With a heated solenoid, the key’s metal shaft is likely to pick the energy. And when you pull it out, it will feel hot.

3. Faultiness

A faulty switch makes the wrong contacts. Besides, a switch should communicate to the ignition cylinder through a shaft or a lever.

When that doesn’t happen, a high-resistance connection runs. It generates a lot of heat, and in turn, this heat catches up with your key.

Because of a faulty ignition switch, your car can even shut down on the road. To avoid that, let a mechanic check all electrical systems. If they’re not okay, consider changing the switch.

How Do I Know If My Ignition Starter Switch Is Bad?

Your ignition starter keeps your vehicle and its systems running. All the car’s central systems depend on its functionality, and a faulty one won’t last long. So, it is better to address a lousy switch sooner or later.

Now, here are signs that your ignition switch is faulty:

1. Flickering dashboard lights

2. Zero noise when starting the car

3. Car stalling

4. Key refuses to turn

5. Car refuses to start

Let’s get down to them one by one:

1. Flickering Dashboard Lights

This symptom is rare, but you shouldn’t wonder when you see it happening. For example, you’ll be driving your car and see the lights flickering, and that will catch your attention. Once you notice that, start thinking about a faulty switch.

2. Zero Noise When Starting The Car

You expect that turning the ignition key to the 4th position starts the key. But with a faulty ignition, the car will not start.

To explain, an ignition switch has the following four positions:

1. Number 1/Lock – it locks everything, including the steering wheel and radio. You can remove the key at this position.

2. Number 2/Accessory – it only switches the radio and other accessories.

You can’t remove the key, and you can’t crank the engine.

3. Number 3/On – it turns all electronics and accessories on.

It is the rest position for the key when you’ve cranked the engine.

4. Number 4/Start – this position cranks the engine and turns on everything. Note that if your key stays here for a long, you may damage the starter.

So, if the car doesn’t produce sounds, you should worry. And if the ignition is not the problem, try checking the battery.

3. Car Stalling

Your car may stall when driving or even after you start it. That should be cause for alarm, especially if you’re in the middle of the road.

If you turn the key to position number 3 and the car does nothing, consider it a delay.

4. Key Refuses To Turn

Your key isn’t supposed to get stuck in the keyhole when you push it in. Sometimes, the key may fail to engage the 4th position, meaning that the car won’t start. All that points to a faulty ignition starter switch.

Such a scary situation should send you right to your mechanic.

5. Car Refuses To Start

When you attempt to start your car, and it fails, the most obvious culprit is the ignition switch. Such a problem requires technical help, so reach out to the nearest mechanic.

How Do You Fix A Hot Ignition Switch?

If your ignition switch is hot, the best place to go to is a mechanic. But, unfortunately, there’s no DIY solution that can be more effective than an expert’s opinion.

Your mechanic may recommend an ignition switch replacement. For that, be ready to pay anything between $135 and $250. And of course, the cost may be more or less depending on the make and model of the car.

Besides, locations have different price tags. So don’t frown if you pay twice the amount given for another state.


A hot ignition switch and key can get to your nerves. But you do not need to beat yourself up. Instead, talk to a mechanic, and they will give you expert advice.

Sometimes, an energized starter switch is a typical characteristic. Thus, it cannot change even if you replace the starter. So, while it may be easier to overreact, sometimes you need to normalize hot ignition switches.

Now, you understand the problem better. And if you do, why don’t you share with other car lovers and get them in the know?