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Old 11-26-2019, 07:06 PM   #1
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Is it ok if I leave my key in the ignition?

I store my car in an unheated garage, it is secure. On cold days the key is very hard to turn. I found that leaving the key in the ignition makes it very easy to turn even on the coldest days. I keep my battery tender connected during the cold months, and only drive if snow and salt clear off the main roads. So what can go wrong if I leave the key in during winter storage?
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:12 PM   #2
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Leaving the key in will drain the battery without your tender.

Replacing the electrical portion of the ignition switch will fix the hard to turn issue.
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:34 AM   #3
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Please post your home address. Thank you.
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Old 11-27-2019, 11:22 AM   #4
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Good one!
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Old 11-27-2019, 12:12 PM   #5
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I have an 01 Base as well, now with 90K miles. Last winter my ignition became difficult to turn when cold. Since the electrical switch had been changed 20K ago, I wasn't eager to do that again. I found that spraying graphite lock lube down the keyhole worked just fine. It is not as new, but it poses no problem now. Have not tried leaving the key in it; that is an interesting observation.
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Old 11-27-2019, 11:30 PM   #6
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I leave the key in mine (pull it out after driving and reinsert) and I’ve yet to have an issue even after sitting for week without a tender.. But your mileage may vary.
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Old 11-28-2019, 12:50 AM   #7
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I leave the key in mine (pull it out after driving and reinsert) and Iíve yet to have an issue even after sitting for week without a tender.. But your mileage may vary.
Once you remove the key, the car shuts down and youíre fine until you reinsert it and turn it to on.
Of course, if the OP did that, it would still be hard to turn and defeat the purpose of leaving it in.

You all are missing the key point/issue: he needs to replace his ignition switch.
Then there would be no need to leave the key in.
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Old 11-28-2019, 06:26 AM   #8
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I'm terribly cheap and lazy. When I got my cheap Boxster (no such thing?!) the lock wouldn't reset and turn off the electronics, ie the dash. When it did reset, I could hear that it was a switch in the ignition switch. So I figured it might have gone bad, so why not try to clean the dirt out? I used brake cleaner with tube and then spray gun oil--Tri Flow and worked the switch turning it on and off. Took more than one cycle, but eventually the function returned so that it works everytime.

You might try cleaning and lubing the mechanism. It may be gummed up and cleaning it will loosen it and lubing will help.

BTW, if I leave the key in and have the battery connected, it discharges to flat, no voltage. Already replaced the battery once, now I just charge it and disconnect the ground cable.
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Last edited by Brian in Tucson; 11-28-2019 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 11-28-2019, 06:30 AM   #9
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Once you remove the key, the car shuts down and youíre fine until you reinsert it and turn it to on.
Of course, if the OP did that, it would still be hard to turn and defeat the purpose of leaving it in.

You all are missing the key point/issue: he needs to replace his ignition switch.
Then there would be no need to leave the key in.
Respectfully disagree, there are inexpensive solutions to try.
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Old 11-28-2019, 07:21 AM   #10
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https://www.pelicanparts.com/More_Info/4A0905849B.htm?pn=4A0-905-849-B-M253

Is this one ok? It sounds easy enough to replace.
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Old 11-28-2019, 08:40 AM   #11
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there are inexpensive solutions to try.
Yes, itís called a $20 ignition switch and it is the only solution to the actual problem.
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Old 11-28-2019, 08:42 AM   #12
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https://www.pelicanparts.com/More_Info/4A0905849B.htm?pn=4A0-905-849-B-M253

Is this one ok? It sounds easy enough to replace.
Yes, but there are 2 different types. Make sure you get the right part# for your model year.
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Old 11-28-2019, 10:55 AM   #13
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... It sounds easy enough to replace.
I saw one of the technicians at my independent shop change the ignition switch on my car in about 10 minutes. I did it once and it took considerably longer. It's not difficult but finding the right tools for you and getting to it takes some contortions. The reason my shop changed it was because the one I put in 6 months earlier had already failed. I was picking my car up from a routine service there and when they started the car the switch failed. The one I put in I bought at a NAPA Auto Parts store. It was a cheap one made in China from very brittle plastic and broke that quickly. The original one in my car lasted 13 years.
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Old 11-28-2019, 03:43 PM   #14
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sounds to me like the problem is the steering lock, since the steering lock does not re-engage until after you remove your key from the ignition. I highly doubt it has anything to do with the ignition switch.
These are complex systems with more than one component. You can try replacing the ignition switch, especially since those are so cheap and very easy to replace, but the real solution will likely be cleaning out the steering lock (some graphite also wouldn't hurt).
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Old 11-28-2019, 04:42 PM   #15
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sounds to me like the problem is the steering lock, since the steering lock does not re-engage until after you remove your key from the ignition. I highly doubt it has anything to do with the ignition switch.
These are complex systems with more than one component. You can try replacing the ignition switch, especially since those are so cheap and very easy to replace, but the real solution will likely be cleaning out the steering lock (some graphite also wouldn't hurt).
Nope. He needs to replace the electrical portion. The hard turn is often erroneously attributed to the mechanical portion, when it is in fact the electrical switch.

Please research the issue (as it pertains to the 986, not other cars).

Last edited by particlewave; 11-28-2019 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 11-28-2019, 04:53 PM   #16
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Nope. He needs to replace the electrical portion. The hard turn is often erroneously attributed to the mechanical portion, when it is in fact the electrical switch.

Please research the issue (as it pertains to the 986, not other cars).
interesting, considering the steering lock I just took out of my '97 has a hard time turning, regardless of the ignition switch.
There's more than one component here. I suggest you open your mind to more than one possible solution for more than one possible problem.
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Old 11-30-2019, 06:22 PM   #17
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While I was waiting for the new switch to come in, I tried to lubricate the steering lock. I removed the key cylinder with the key and paper clip, then sprayed a generous amount of dry lubricant into the slots toward the lock mechanism. The dry lube was ceramic/teflon spray with a tube on the nozzles stuck down the slots. Sprayed it several times in each slot. I put the cylinder in and worked the key on off then in and out a few times, I removed the key out for the night. Next day was cold outside and when I tried it it worked smooth and easy. I heard a clunk each time the key was removed. The key never worked so smoothly since I owned it. I'll keep the switch handy in case it goes bad.
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Old 11-30-2019, 07:12 PM   #18
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Interesting post as here in Norther California it's been a fairly warm Fall until the past week where the temps have dropped significantly. I was wondering why my ignition was being so hard to turn. Good to read Gjohn's post about the teflon lube. I have some on hand and I'll give that a try that before ordering a switch.
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Old 11-30-2019, 07:34 PM   #19
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I had the same problem.
I actually had to remove mine from the car and soak it overnight in kerosene then blow it out with compressed air. took some time but it has been fine for a year now.
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Old 11-30-2019, 08:40 PM   #20
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Question for you all... On Pelican's website and checking the switches. Each switch has the following in the description

"Only for Models with an Original Lock Assembly, # 996 347 017 05 or # 996 347 017 06".
How does one determine if the have the original or later lock assembly?

My Boxster was manufactured and assembled in Finland in early (January) 1999.

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