How a Keyless Push-Button Ignition Works

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Technology has advanced for automotive security and user-focused features, and a shift is occurring where traditional key-and-cylinder starting systems are being replaced by keyless push-button ignition systems. They are incredibly simple to operate and provide excellent security.

The system was developed initially in the mid-1990’s by Siemens and was released first in Mercedes-Benz vehicles as Keyless Go. Since then, their popularity has grown exponentially. Now, keyless push-button ignition systems are known by dozens of different names depending on the auto manufacturer, including:

  • SMART Key
  • Keyless Go
  • FAST Key
  • Intelligent Key
  • Comfort Access

How it Works

Keyless push-button ignition operates based on low-frequency radio ID. Your key fob is a transmitter equipped with a specific electronic ID tag and the signal is amplified with a battery in the key fob. When you are in close proximity to your vehicle, antennas around your vehicle recognize your key fob’s presence and allow you to unlock and lock your doors with the press of a button on the handle, if it is so equipped.

When you enter your car, the antennas around your vehicle make comparative calculations to determine that you are indeed inside. The antennas transmit the electronic ID from the key fob to the receiver module. When you press the ignition button to start the car, the receiver disables the immobilizer, powers the starter circuit, and the engine turns over.

If the key fob battery is dead, you may not be able to unlock your doors or start your car in the same fashion. Manufacturers typically include a backup source to start your car such as a key shaft hidden in the fob. There is a location in the dash it needs to be inserted where another antenna or transponder ring picks up the diminished signal and allows the car to start.

If you lose your key fob, your car will not be able to start at all. You will need to have a new key made in order to use your car again.


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Kenneth

19 years of experience
512 reviews
Kenneth
19 years of experience
Toyota Sequoia - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Newport Beach, California
Kenneth is so awesome. He walks you through everything and let's you know the truth, of what you really need to maintain and service your ride. Thanks Kenneth.
Toyota Sequoia - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Newport Beach, California
Kenneth did a great job and very knowledgeable. He has a great attitude and I will for sure be using him again.

Steffon

10 years of experience
19 reviews
Steffon
10 years of experience
Kia Sedona - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Hunt Valley, Maryland
Steffon did a great job for me. He was on time, professional and quick. He kept me up to date and gave me some advice on what to expect. I would definitely use him again and recommend him to anyone.
Hyundai Veracruz - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Owings Mills, Maryland
Punctual. Very knowledgeable. Removed unnecessary and pricey services other untrustworthy mechanics said were required. Completed work faster than original estimate and for a great price. Would definitely request Steffon next time!

Ralph

37 years of experience
128 reviews
Ralph
37 years of experience
Nissan Frontier - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Spanaway, Washington
Great mechanic! Efficient, knowledgeable, etc. Would definitely recommend to anyone and would book again for future appointments.
Nissan Sentra - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Spanaway, Washington
Ralph competed installation of drum brakes on my Nissan Sentra. Ralph was very personable and knowledgeable about my car. He did an excellent job! I will be hiring him again. Thanks Ralph!!

Michael

15 years of experience
518 reviews
Michael
15 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz GL450 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Atlanta, Georgia
Micheal was punctual and friendly. Work was completed within promised time. Will definitely use again.
Volvo S80 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Roswell, Georgia
Michael was SUPER QUICK with doing my brake and rotors. Great communication throughout the whole process. Will always recommend

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