Car Won’t Turn Off (3 Possible Reasons And What To Do)

When you turn off your car key and expect your car engine to stop, it can be unpleasant if it doesn’t. If you observe that your machine continues to run even if you turn it off, the ignition and fuel system aren’t shutting down. 

If this is the case, you have an electrical problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Either your car ignition or power switch needs to be changed. Hence, if the engine still fails to stop, instead it keeps on doing leaping compulsion your car is experiencing dieseling. 

It occurs when your engine combustion chambers are hot enough to light the residual fuels that enter the engine. Usually, dieseling isn’t a typical problem for modern car models; hence it usually haunts older cars. 

Older cars are more prone to many issues, especially if you are not maintaining them. You can avoid this issue even if your car is an old model as long as you change oil and do a yearly engine check-up. 

If your car has this kind of issue, there are a few steps that you should take to figure out what is going on and what are the possible ways to fix it. 

Car Won't Turn Off

Reasons Why Car Won’t Turn Off

Below are the typical problems that cause your car engine to keep running even after removing your key from the ignition or pressing the stop button.

1.Ignition Start

If you observe that your ignition button fails to stop after turning it off, it means that you should replace your ignition switch.

A professional car mechanic should do the replacement of the ignition switch. It is not a job for owners because you might damage the car engine more.

2. Stuck Fuel Pump Relay

The second reason why your engine can’t stop running is because of a stuck fuel pump relay. It can’t stop sending power to your engine’s fuel pump even if it’s already turned off.  

The relay needs to be changed if this happens. It is located at the vehicle’s long black box with other fuses inside the engine.

3. Unresponsive Fuses

Unresponsive fuses are also the cause why you can’t turn off your engine. It is quite a big problem if fuses aren’t working correctly because your car will not work as well. 

It is why even if your car is experiencing minor issues inside its engine, never be reluctant to get checked by a mechanic so that you will not end up paying more damages. 

The Car Keeps Running After The Ignition Is Turned Off

Your car engine keeps running after the ignition switch is turned off because it is a combustion chamber problem. The sending of power inside it is not regular because no system can stop the energy from flowing throughout the fuses to the car. 

Broken ignition will result in this kind of problem. Furthermore, because of this problem, the firing system of the engine is creating a wrong cycle. 

It could be the causes of using the wrong gasoline, having broken spark plugs, or an unresponsive ignition switch. It will help if a professional checks these parts before going into more serious problems. 

Diesel Engine Runs After Ignition Switched Off

Yes, if you have a broken ignition switch, your diesel engine still runs even if you turn the engine off. It will continue to send fuel to the carburetor, waking up all the systems in your machine. 

The diesel engine has a pump that produces a small amount of diesel fuel to each engine cylinder. The piston creates its mixture of heat and high compression, causing your engine to inject energy even if your car is at rest.

Car Won’t Turn Off With Key Out.

You can inspect your power relay, idle speed, ignition switch, and spark plugs if this issue happens to you. Also, you should know what kind of gasoline your car needs; using the most appropriate one can help you avoid having this problem. 

It is frustrating, especially if you get to work or get to your destination as quickly as possible. Hence, your car isn’t cooperating with you. The perfect way to avoid this is to read your car owner’s manual. 

Car Won’t Turn Off In Park.

It doesn’t matter. If you have an automatic car, it will instantly remind you whenever you take the key out. Some cars won’t turn off unless you’re parking it correctly. 

Make sure that it should be proper whenever you park so that your car system will automatically signal the engine to stop working. 

Car Won’t Turn Off, And Key Is Stuck.

Yes, your car won’t turn off when your key is stuck in the ignition switch. For comparison, a stuck key is different from having a broken key. Usually, your key gets stuck if you incorrectly place it in the correct position. Sometimes, it gets stuck because the ignition switch is already rusty.

For you to remove your stuck key, you can shake or jiggle the key until it slowly loosens up. But never put too much pressure on doing this because you might break the key. 

Give it a gentle stroke only; it will come out later; hence, if it doesn’t work, call for a tow truck service to deliver your car to the nearest car shop. 

How To Turn Off A Car That Is Still Running?

Below are the steps on how to turn off a car while it is still running;

  1. Drive your vehicle in a safe area. 
  2. Next, locate your car engine fuse boxes.
  3. Look for the fuse and relay for the fuel pump.
  4. Then, remove the fuse in the fuel pump or the relay. 
  5. Your car engine will turn off within or after 10 seconds. 

How Do You Manually Turn Off A Car?

To manually turn off your car engine, here are the guidelines that you should practice;

  1. First, depress the car brake pedal
  2. Then depress the clutch
  3. After pushing the brake pedal and clutch, engage the handbrakes. 
  4. Put the transmission level in neutral
  5. Please turn off the car engine, then put it into first or second gear.


In summary, old model cars experience more problems than new ones. However, it will still depend on how you take good care of your car. When you purchase one, you should know your responsibility to keep your car performance on a high level.

Of course, it will not happen if you will not maintain its engine. Indeed it costs money, however, for your safety and you want to avoid any accident it is a requirement that you must attend.

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Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more