Do I need to turn off every accessory (fan, radio, etc) before restarting the manual transmission I'm learning to drive?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jul 01, 1998

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have one of those "marital" strife-type questions for you. Both of our cars
have standard transmissions, and I am new to the world of driving a stick shift
car. Mind you, I'm much better now than I was a few months ago, but I'm not
perfect. So, when I stall, I just start the car again, so as to avoid being hit
by all of the cars behind me.

At this point, my significant other will start in on me for not turning off each
and every accessory (radio, lights, etc.) before trying to restart the vehicle.
The argument is that I am supposedly putting a huge strain on the battery, and
will ruin the battery if I continue in this manner. I feel this is really
insignificant, and she should just clam up about the whole thing. Does it really
matter that much? Help! -- Trish

RAY: Tell her to flake off, Trish. It doesn't matter at all.

TOM: The ignition system automatically cuts out any significant power draw when
you turn the key to the crank position. You may have noticed this. If your
lights are on when you try to restart the car, they'll dim or go off for a
moment, and come back on when the car is started. Same with the radio, the
windshield wipers and the Amana side-by-side-refrigerator/freezer you keep in
the back seat.

RAY: So not only does it make no difference, but what she's telling you to do is
dangerous. Not dangerous for the car, but for you! You're sitting in traffic.
The safest thing to do is to get the car restarted and get out of there!

TOM: Here's how you cure her. You pull out into oncoming traffic so that cars
are heading right for the passenger door. Then you intentionally stall the car.
And when she starts getting concerned about the Ford Expedition that's bearing
down on her, you say "Hmmm, I'm trying to remember if I turned any other
accessories today. Do you remember if I used the rear defroster this morning? I
can't seem to recall. Let me think for a minute ...."

* * *

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