When I Turn the Key Everything Goes Dead: Troubleshooting Tips

Published by Dustin Babich on

When the key is turned and everything goes dead, it typically indicates a problem with the battery, starter, or ignition switch. This issue can be resolved by checking and replacing any faulty parts.

Ignoring the problem can result in a complete breakdown of the vehicle and costly repairs. Cars and trucks play a significant role in modern society, providing convenient transportation for both personal and professional needs. However, sometimes these machines experience faults, causing car owners to experience frustration and inconvenience.

One of such faults is turning the key and everything going dead. This can be a disappointing experience, especially when you need to go somewhere quickly. This problem is usually caused by issues with the battery, starter, or ignition switch. To avoid more expensive repairs, it is essential to identify and fix the issue as soon as possible. In this article, we will discuss common causes of why turning the key causes the car to go dead and how to resolve the issue.

Check The Battery

When you turn the key and your car won’t start, it’s likely your battery has died. Signs of a dead battery include dimming lights and clicking noises. Testing the battery can be done with a voltmeter or by checking for corrosion on the terminals.

Solutions for a dead battery include jump-starting, replacing the battery, or changing the alternator. Maintaining your battery by keeping it clean and charged can help prevent it from dying in the future. Regularly inspecting your battery can also identify potential problems before they cause a breakdown.

Remember to check your battery if your car won’t start, so you’re not left stranded.

Examine The Starter

If your car suddenly dies when you turn the key, it may be a faulty starter. Some common signs of a bad starter include a clicking noise or a slow starting engine. To examine the starter, check the battery and wiring connections before moving on to testing the starter.

One way to check the starter is to use a multimeter to measure the current flow. If the starter is proven to be faulty, consider repairing or replacing it to prevent further issues. Regular inspections and maintenance can also help prolong the life of your car’s starter.

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Inspect The Alternator

When you turn the key and everything goes dead, there’s a good chance your alternator has failed. Here are the symptoms of a failed alternator: dimming headlights, dashboard warning lights, and a dead battery. To inspect the alternator, you’ll need a voltmeter to measure the voltage output.

If the voltage is less than 13. 5 volts, then the alternator is not functioning properly. Replacing the alternator is a more permanent solution. Make sure to purchase the correct alternator for your car and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t let a failed alternator leave you stranded on the side of the road.

If you suspect your alternator is failing, get it inspected and replaced as soon as possible.

Check The Ignition Switch

A broken ignition switch can be a troublesome problem for your car. Signs of a faulty ignition switch can include your car not starting or stalling while driving. To test the ignition switch, you can turn the key in the ignition and pay attention to any noises or power loss.

Replacing the ignition switch may require the help of a professional mechanic, so it is important to have it diagnosed properly to determine the best course of action. It is better to address the issue as soon as possible to avoid any further damage or unexpected problems.

Stay proactive and keep your car running smoothly by keeping an eye out for signs of a broken ignition switch.

Assess The Wiring

Assessing the wiring in your vehicle is essential when you experience a problem where turning the key results in nothing happening. Common issues with wiring include fraying, corrosion, and loose connections. Testing the wires to discover where a fault might lie is the next step.

Once you’ve identified what’s wrong, repairs or replacements for faulty wiring should ensure your car starts effortlessly when you turn the key. Regular maintenance can help you avoid electrical problems, and when it comes to your vehicle, paying attention to the signs and avoiding ignoring problems can go a long way in keeping your ride running smoothly.

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Frequently Asked Questions Of When I Turn The Key Everything Goes Dead

Why Won’T My Car Start When I Turn The Key?

If you turn the key and everything goes dead, it could be a battery or starter issue. Check your battery connections and consider getting it tested.

What Can Cause A Car To Suddenly Not Start?

There can be various reasons for a car not starting such as a dead battery, bad starter, fuel pump issues, or a problem with the ignition switch.

How Do I Diagnose A Car Starting Problem?

First, check the battery connections and the battery itself. If the battery is good, check the starter, fuel pump, and ignition switch. Consider taking it to a mechanic if you’re unsure.


With a car that won’t start, there can be a myriad of reasons. However, when you turn the key and everything goes dead, that’s usually a sign of an electrical issue. You may not be able to diagnose and repair the problem alone.

Therefore, it’s vital to take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic or dealership that can carry out electronic diagnostics. Don’t overlook the possibility of a dead battery, faulty starter, corroded connections, or a blown fuse. Everyday maintenance should always be top of your priority list; ensure that the battery, starter, and connections are taken care of.

Regular maintenance is necessary to keep your vehicle in good working order and prevent future electrical issues. Remember, your car is a significant investment that needs steering and general maintenance to keep it running efficiently. Identifying the problem can save you money, stress, and time in the long run.

So, if you turn the key and everything goes dead, it’s time to seek professional help and get your car back on the road as soon as possible!

Dustin Babich
Categories: Knowledgebase

Dustin Babich

Dustin Babich

As the passionate author behind Automotivesimple.com, Dustin Babich is a knowledgeable expert in all things automotive. With a deep understanding of car tools, equipment, engines, and troubleshooting techniques, Dustin Babich shares invaluable insights, practical tips, and effective solutions to empower readers in overcoming car-related challenges.


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