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Old 05-20-2012, 07:04 PM
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Car turns on randomly?!

Hi guys,

Maybe some of you already know, but I bought a 3rd gen 'lude earlier this week and the car turns on by itself at random times.

So far, I've noticed it being on and turned it right off. But I'm scared that it'll turn on in the middle of the night and drain all my batteries.

I should clarify that it's not actually on, but it's in the "in between" between off and on. It's like, the fan is spinning and it's 1 click from the ignition.

I made a video here so yea, take a look please T.T

Thanks so much for any help!!

It turns on randomly! - YouTube
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:52 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

sir it looks to me that you may have yourself a genuine transformer...

But seriously its probably a short in the ignition my dads truck used to do that if you replace the ignition it should fix it..if that doesn't fix it then its the actual cylinder(the part that the key goes into)...sometimes is it hard to start?

Last edited by xshooterx; 05-20-2012 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 05-20-2012, 08:29 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

Nah it turns on just fine. Like, it's when the car is just in the middle phase where the fans and dash lights turn on. Except the lights don't turn on. Just the fan. Maybe the car is cooling itself? Is that normal? Lol
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:12 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

idk what the problem might be, but until you fix it, disconnect the battery before you leave it for the night to make sure it doesnt do this and drain your battery. kind of an inconvenience, but if you do it you wouldnt have to worry about a dead battery in the morning
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:27 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

So no one has heard of this before? =( Do you think it'll just turn off after a while?
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:40 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

well i have a 4th generation and the only time my fan comes on while the car is off is when the coolant is low or empty possibly over heating. what i would do is check the coolant level and if it looks fine then while the car is cold turn it on for like 30 seconds then turn it back off...the fans shouldn't come on...also make sure your ac is off.
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Old 05-20-2012, 11:35 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

The only thing close to this is in my fifth gen, I'll be sitting in the car, having not had the car on for hours, and all of a sudden I hear this ascending electrical sound, and then it stops. Its weird, but I've just kind of assumed that its all normal. I've never heard of the car actually turning itself on. Do what the guy said earlier. Disconnect the battery at night until you get the thing fixed. We really wish we could help, but I've never heard of something like this, with the exception of ghost stories.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:15 AM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

I'm pretty sure it's the ignition switch. Do you have a junkyard near you with any 3rd gens in them? It would be convenient to have a spare switch to troubleshoot with.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:40 AM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

maybe your car is just like "Damn dis shi3ts hot! ima cool my self down"
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:13 AM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

I had something similar happen to me, but my car took it a step further. I was walking towards it in the parking garage and it started up right in front of me...Drove itself forward...stalled...turned on again...reversed itself "full speed" into the wall. I had to get in the car and shut it off as it was still trying to reverse. This was odd as the keys were in my hand and shutting the car off consisted of me putting the car in neutral.

I had originally parked the car in reverse with the rear end facing the wall. I think I sat there for about 5 minutes in shock. Needless to say, I never found out how or why it happened. It never happened again. Good luck.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:27 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

^^^ WOAH….. Phantom car. You might want to check that ECU and make sure there's no transformers in there Or get the ghost hunters in there….Did that really happen tho? It seems hard to believe, unless there is some spiritual past of that car where something bad happened or something crazy like that.

To OP: I agree with the people who have said Ignition switch.
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:35 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

It actually happened. This was my white 4th gen that I sold years ago btw. We were leaving work late one night it was parked in the garage, near the exit. So, I got to my car first and no one else saw it happen. When everyone else made their way to the exit, I was standing outisde my car in shock with it rammed into the wall. Everyone, was asking WTF? I called my wife and told that if I didn't make it home, don't be surprised. The ECU was a chipped p28 and the engine was a swapped H22a. It had no electrical issues that I know of, but it did have an aftermarket alarm. The alarm had the option for auto start, but to my knowledge was never set up for that. Besides, the car was in reverse and drove both forward and reverse right in front of me. Craziest crap ever, and I have zero proof, but I promise you....it happened.
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:01 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

You definitely have a bad key cylinder. No question.The only way to get the fuel pump going is from the main relay and the only way to get voltage to the main relay is from the ignition switch (key cylinder).
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:27 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

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Originally Posted by Lespaul59 View Post
You definitely have a bad key cylinder. No question.The only way to get the fuel pump going is from the main relay and the only way to get voltage to the main relay is from the ignition switch (key cylinder).
The key cylinder and ignition switch are two different things. The key cylinder is the mechanical section that has no electrical connections. It simply serves to turn the ignition switch when the correct key is inserted and turned by the driver.

The ignition switch is where the electrical connections are, and where I suspect the problem is. I've seen some strange things happen when the ignition switch starts to go out.
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Old 05-21-2012, 04:26 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

If it was just the ignition switch, the clutch would keep it from starting, wouldn't it?!?!
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:47 AM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

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If it was just the ignition switch, the clutch would keep it from starting, wouldn't it?!?!
The clutch doesn't need to be depressed to start a 3g
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:37 AM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

Only on series 1 3rd gens(88-89), you don't have to depress the clutch to start the car. On series 2(90-91's) you must.

...man that is a strange problem, i'm thinking ignition switch malfunction as luzer suggests...
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:06 AM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

It's actually only the 88 models that you don't have to have the clutch in. 89 and later have the safety switch.

Besides, the OP didn't say the engine is running. So the clutch would have nothing to do with it.
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:22 AM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

^thanks for the correction luzer. ...

...i watched the video twice and thought to myself the same. OP is talking about the fan(s) right? ?
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:59 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

If it's just the fan(s), my 3rd gen did the exact same thing. I just assumed it was normal. It ran the fans for a little while after I turned the car off to cool it down, I guess. Coolant was bled multiple times.

They shut off after about a minute or so.

Have you tried waiting to see if the fans turn off by themselves?
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Old 05-22-2012, 02:50 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

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Originally Posted by Prelude13 View Post
^thanks for the correction luzer. ...

...i watched the video twice and thought to myself the same. OP is talking about the fan(s) right? ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmitty915 View Post
If it's just the fan(s), my 3rd gen did the exact same thing. I just assumed it was normal. It ran the fans for a little while after I turned the car off to cool it down, I guess. Coolant was bled multiple times.

They shut off after about a minute or so.

Have you tried waiting to see if the fans turn off by themselves?
From what he said in his first post, it sounds to me like the car is acting like it would if the key were in the ignition and turned to the "on" position. The position just before the "start" position. This would mean he has fans running, radio on, blower running (if switched on), dash lights on (temp, oil, etc...), but the engine is not running.
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:00 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

iirc, the fans will cycle on for 13 minutes or so?

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Old 05-22-2012, 06:23 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

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Originally Posted by Prelude13 View Post
iirc, the fans will cycle on for 13 minutes or so?

Yes, it's normal at least on some of them for the fans to cycle on for up to 15 minutes after shutting it off. My 89 doesn't do this but my 91 did. But he's talking about more than the cooling fan turning on by itself.
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:34 AM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

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Originally Posted by luzer View Post
From what he said in his first post, it sounds to me like the car is acting like it would if the key were in the ignition and turned to the "on" position. The position just before the "start" position. This would mean he has fans running, radio on, blower running (if switched on), dash lights on (temp, oil, etc...), but the engine is not running.
That's what I thought he meant too, but I didn't see any dash lights on in his video until he turned the key.

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Old 05-23-2012, 09:56 AM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

My 88 does this when the temperatures all around are too much.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:54 AM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

Ya the fans come on because it's to hot and it's all like "don't crack my block bro"
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:25 AM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

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That's what I thought he meant too, but I didn't see any dash lights on in his video until he turned the key.
Good point, I think you're right about that. I was just going by his description because I couldn't watch the video from my work computer.

OP, please describe exactly what is "on" when this is happening. Is it just the cooling fans or is anything else running? If it's just the cooling fans then it could be a problem with the fan timer.

Now that I think about it, sometimes the cooling fans on my 91 would come on if someone bumped the car. It would do this even if the car had been sitting for hours and was completely cooled off. But it never ran for more than 15 minutes so I wasn't worried about it killing the battery. I've since sold that car and never did figure out what was causing that.
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:02 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

Don't know why cars cooling fans come on when the car is shut off. Since your water pump isn't spinning , that block will get hot as hell but won't damage. I think it's to cool off what's in the radiator so when you do turn the car back up, It'll have a nice cool flow of water. My question is more of .... Is the temp sensor for the fans in the radiator at the bottom or is it one of the two at the thermostat housing?
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:21 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

I agree with you that it's always seemed kind of useless to run the cooling fans after the engine shuts off. But it does also cool the engine bay faster than just letting it sit with no fan running.

The cooling fan temperature switch is located in the bottom reservoir of the radiator, near the lower radiator hose. For 88, this is the only thing that controls the rad fans according to the online service manual. When the temperature exceeds 194 degrees F the switch closes and turns on the fans. There is no timer to keep the fans running after the car is shut off. Unfortunately I only have access to the 88 manual. I know that my 91 had a fan timer, but I don't have any diagrams for that. And the cooling fans in my two 89's don't come on after shutting off the engine either.
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Old 05-24-2012, 05:56 PM
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Re: Car turns on randomly?!

Thanks so much for all the help guys.

Luzer, yea I'm just an idiot. I only realized it after you guys mentioned it. The lights don't turn on and blower doesn't turn on and such. It's just the fan.

I got it checked out by the guy at Honda and he told me that all the 2 series 3g's do that, so I guess it's normal? Funny how none of you guys have noticed this! Lol.
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Brake Light turns on and off randomly xCarl94x 4th Gen Honda Prelude 4 10-24-2011 01:28 PM
Car dies randomly.. Dobber 4th Gen Honda Prelude 9 06-08-2011 09:52 PM
Car stalling randomly and on hard turns Bdawg22 5th Gen Honda Prelude 6 03-18-2011 12:10 PM
So my car randomly dies....... Firecack General Tech Talk 2 02-22-2011 02:51 PM


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