How to Put Car in Accessory Mode? (All You Need to Know)

One of the things that cars feature nowadays is their ability to use radio and aircon without the need to run the engine. It’s what we call accessory mode, and it’s in the newer car models these days. So, you may wonder how you can turn it on if you ever need it.

To put the car in accessory mode, you need to switch its ignition on to a notch. A single switch can turn it on while not firing up the engine. Of course, it will also vary on other car models. Some cars only need a push of a button to put the car in accessory mode.

The accessory mode can come in handy when you want to use the accessories without the engine humming. Take note, though. Prolonged use can cause battery draining, so be mindful of it as well.

Let’s get into it more!

How to Put Car in Accessory Mode

What Is a Car’s Accessory Mode?

As I said earlier, a car’s accessory mode is a feature in new car models. This feature allows you to use the accessories without the need to fire the engine up.

During the old times, car accessories would only run while the engine is also running. Thus, if you want air conditioning or some music to enjoy the day, you need to have your engine humming as well.

Now, newer car models can already run such accessories while the engine rests.

For instance, if you stop by the road to rest the engine, you can enjoy the air conditioning, have some music, and even plan your navigation. All these things are doable with the car accessory mode.

Take note, though. Since car accessories get power from the car battery, it can take a toll on your battery.

Moreover, it may cause excessive power use, leading to battery draining. The reason is that since the engine is off, the battery doesn’t get recharged as it gives power.

The car accessory mode can be of good use, but it’s not ideal for you to keep it on for prolonged periods.

Now, as you understand this feature, you may wonder how to turn it on?

How to Turn On Accessory Mode?

The accessory mode is accessible to cars in various ways. In general, it depends on the model and brand of car you have.

For instance, most modern cars have start buttons with “engine start/stop” in them.

This button will generally fire your engine up in a press. However, it can also have a secondary function, which is the accessory mode.

You can turn the accessory mode on with this button, and you can do this without pressing the brake pedal.

In other models, you can do it by switching the ignition to a specific notch. A single notch would turn on the power, allowing you to use the accessories. At the same time, it won’t fire the engine up.

car accessory mode

Is It Bad to Leave Car on Accessory Mode?

The accessory mode is quite handy in many circumstances. However, it’s not something you want to leave turned on for your car.

Because the auxiliary mode enables the car’s peripherals to work without any motor, it can quickly deplete the power.

As the engines operate, the automobile batteries recharge. As a result, if the motor isn’t operating, it might cause battery depletion if kept on for long periods.

In general, it will be determined by a variety of things. These are some of them:

  • your battery’s current state
  • the state of your vehicle
  • the type of gadget you’re utilizing

For example, if you use the air conditioner, heating, or GPS, your battery will deplete faster. Stereo systems, on the other hand, would be much more energy-efficient. It will, however, continue to use energy.

As a result, it’s advisable not to keep your car’s auxiliary mode on. You’re planning to do this thing for an extended period.

Do Cars Die In Accessory Mode?

The solution to this issue is also dependent on several things. However, extended usage of auxiliary mode might cause an automobile to die.

Because the engine is turned off, accessory mode uses electricity, but it does not replenish the cell. As a result, the devices may deplete the power.

Still, the amount of time when it will be usable before it dies is dependent on a variety of factors. If you have a replacement battery and merely use your audio, for example, you may leave it on for hours without it depleting the power.

On the other hand, heavy automotive gadgets might cause power depletion, leaving you with a powerless vehicle.


The car accessory mode is an excellent function for new car models. In general, it allows cars to run the accessories without the engine running. Some of these functions would be air conditioning, navigation, and stereo.

While it comes in handy, it’s also not something you can use for a long time. Since the accessory mode doesn’t turn the engine on, there’s no way for the battery to regain power. Thus, if you prolong its use, you may end up with a drained battery.

For this reason, it would always be best to be mindful of your usage to prevent yourself from draining your car’s battery.



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