My Hyundai Accent Is Haunted By Ghostly Ignition

Cristelle has a vehicular ghost story to rival that of the Toyota lady whose car refused to go into neutral.

Sometimes at night her headlights will flick on of their own volition, and once the car even started on its own. Even mechanics joke that she may be better off with an exorcist. She writes:

After your post about the woman whose Lexus ran away with her and then tried to “turn itself back on” when switched to neutral, I became quite alarmed because something similar has happened to me before in my 2004 Hyundai Accent coupe.

I usually leave my lights on at all times, so that I do not have to worry about forgetting to turn them on when it gets dark or rains. Usually, my car automatically turns the lights off when the key is taken out of the ignition. Every once and a while, though, someone will knock on my door in the middle of the night and tell me that my car’s lights on. I will go outside, and sure enough all of my car’s headlights will be glowing away – with no key in the ignition. I should have suspected right then and there that something was wrong.

Last year, I was at a conference and was carpooling with a friend. After the car had been “cold” for several hours while we were at the conference, we piled back in for the return journey. As I prepared to start the car I put my foot on the brake and immediately the engine revved and the dash lights came on. Startled, I jumped back and my hand touched the gear-shift. The car then turned off as suddenly as it had turned on (dash lights, too, which usually stay on for a minute or two after the engine is turned off). My passenger was confused why I had just revved the car and turned it off like that….then he screamed like a girl when and jumped out of the car when he turned and saw me looking down wide-mouthed at the KEY STILL IN MY HAND. That’s right, the car had started itself without a key in the ignition…the BRAKE had turned it on!

My immediate thought was that someone may have tried unsuccessfully to hotwire the car while we were in the conference, but after a quick inspection under the steering column and some mental backtracking I concluded that the car was exactly as I had left it – locked and untouched. I do not have one of those fancy remote starts, either. Every mechanic friend of mine that I have mentioned the situation to has told me the same thing: “no doubt about it, your car is definitely haunted.”

I am a poor college student, and I know that this problem will likely be expensive to fix – plus since it’s apparently such an exotic problem I would have no way to defend myself from a “know-it-all” mechanic suckering me. At this point I am considering it cheaper and less risky to just hire a psychic and hold a seance.

Any consumerist readers have an opinion?

Anyone with advice for Cristelle, or failing that, a freaky car ghost story to match or top hers?