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What You Need To Know About Keyless Ignition Systems

What are the things that you need to know about keyless ignition systems? It seems that many are still not aware of the functionality and mechanisms behind this technology even though it is commonly used now. 

After all, we are at an age where cars are developed to provide utter convenience to their users. Keyless ignition systems are among those amenities that minimize the complexity of using a car. It also goes by the name of “keyless push button,” “keyless start,” and “smart key.”


The keyless ignition system started being integrated on vehicles in the late 1990s and early 2000s. And just like any other convenience and premium features, they first appeared on luxury units and high-end cars. Right now, it is commonly known that the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the very first mass-produced vehicle that used keyless ignition. It was soon followed by Rolls-Royce, Acura, Lexus, and Cadillac. 

After several years, keyless ignition became a common feature in cars. In 2008, it was reported that 11 percent of the vehicles that were sold in the United States have keyless ignition. Ten years after that, keyless ignition is a standard utility of up 62 percent of cars sold in the US. 

Whether your vehicle has this technology or not, it is important that you know its mechanisms. You have to understand it so that you’ll know how to utilize it properly. 

How Keyless Ignition Works?

Most of the keyless ignition systems feature the use of a fob that drivers can tuck away in their purse, pocket, briefcase, or any storage system that is within the proximity of the receiver inside the car. This fob is the one that transmits a low-frequency signal to the computer system of the car. The computer will then validate that the signal is correct, and that will enable you to push a button on the console to start the engine.

Shutting the engine is also not a difficult process. You simply need to press the start/stop button, and your vehicle will stop operating already. 

Aside from the keyless ignition, most vehicles have a keyless entry that will allow you to enter your vehicle without the need to insert a key or hitting any button on the fob. 

While it is true that these keyless ignition systems are already widely available, they are still not in the status where people can consider them as an automotive necessity. Unlike power door and window locks, keyless ignition systems are still an optional feature, and it is not a heavy factor in choosing a vehicle. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you can shrug them off. If your main priority is convenience, it is important that your car is equipped with this particular feature. It is also extremely useful for individuals that have physical disabilities and health issues such as arthritis. 


Security Measures

Keyless ignition systems have their own safeguards, too. They can prevent your car from turning on at the wrong time. There are pre-start safety checks at the computer of your vehicle to guarantee that the latter is in parking mode and that your foot is stepped on the brake. Unless these prerequisites are not met, your engine will not start.

For added safety, other keyless ignition systems will require you to rotate or flick a switch before you can press the start button. In many cases, the fob must be inserted in the vehicle before the engine will run. 

With keyless ignition, your vehicle is able to deter theft and vehicle break-ins. Since the vehicle will only recognize the signal sent by its fob, thieves will not get inside easily. And even if they get inside, they will not be able to start your car engine. They cannot replicate any metal key. There is no mechanical steering-column lock that they can force.

Moreover, keyless ignition systems make it harder to lock your keys in the trunk or car. One thing is for sure, though: the fob of the ignition can always remain in your pocket or purse wherever you go. However, keep in mind that some systems are intelligent enough to prevent the door from locking if the fob is left inside the vehicle. Other units have an audio alert that will remind you that the fob is not with you.