How Does a Push-Button Start Work?

For the vast majority of people, cranking your car involves getting the key out, sliding it into the ignition, and turning it to the “run” position. However, if you have a push-button start system, then you don’t have to do that. You just get inside and push the button labeled start/stop, and the engine roars to life. Simple and easy, right? Actually, these are pretty complicated systems.

The purpose of a push-button start system

You might think that the primary purpose of a push-button start system is convenience, but you’d only be partially correct. They’re really designed to discourage theft. Because there is no physical key necessary to crank the car, it actually makes it harder for would-be thieves to make off with your vehicle.

Though you don't need a traditional key to get the car started, you need a special fob. It can stay in your pocket, where it broadcasts a signal to the car’s computer. The computer recognizes the fob’s code, and lets you crank the ignition. Of course, there are some safeguards in place. For instance, you can’t start the engine if you’re not holding the brake and have the car in park. If either of these conditions isn’t met, the engine won’t start.

Another safeguard here is that the car’s computer is only able to recognize the code from your specific key fob. This means that another driver with their car's fob won’t be able to get in and start your engine.

How a push-button start works

The only real difference between a push-button start system and a conventional keyed ignition is that you don’t need a key to close the circuit on the ignition. The button does that. Pushing the button does the same thing that turning the key does. The fob is really the beauty behind the system, which ensures that only you can start the car.

Potential problems

There are a few issues with push-button start systems, though. For instance, the fob can be removed from inside the car during operation and it will not affect operation. The engine will keep right on running until the car runs out of gas. Another potential issue is the fact that the car can be shut off while still in drive, which means that it may roll accidentally if you were to get out of the car without applying the parking brake.


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Pardeep

21 years of experience
857 reviews
Pardeep
21 years of experience
BMW 325i - Car is not starting - San Jose, California
Pardeep is very knowledgable and capable to fix my problem ( car not start due to broken starter). He quickly diagnosed my car and found the issue. Then he ordered the part and replace it soon. The whole process was very smooth.
Ford Explorer - Car is not starting - Fremont, California
Pardeep was very knowledge on my issue. He did a few underhood tests, Then he was able to explain my issue. Unfortunately he was unable to do the repair. I thank him for assisting me with true information that will have me on the road tomorrow.!

Pierre

9 years of experience
183 reviews
Pierre
9 years of experience
Ram ProMaster 3500 - Car is not starting - Quincy, Massachusetts
Pierre was communicative, transparent, and committed to finding answers to my problem. Even though he was not able to fix the problem, I had more information to bring to a mechanic than ever before and am more informed about where the problem is coming from. Highly recommend!
Honda CR-V - Car is not starting - Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
I had a great experience with Pierre! He very clearly knows what he is doing. Wonderful service! Very professional, friendly, and helpful! I recommend him highly.

Marco

29 years of experience
124 reviews
Marco
29 years of experience
Fiat 500L - Car is not starting - Moreno Valley, California
Marco is amazing! He was able to diagnose the issue with my car and give me a list of work that still needed to be done and list it by priority. Would highly recommend to everyone!
Chevrolet Corvair - Car is not starting - Ontario, California
Marco ... is a top notch mechanic that was able to trouble shoot my problem and get me back on the road. He is a asset to have representing your company.

Mike

13 years of experience
138 reviews
Mike
13 years of experience
Nissan Altima - Car is not starting - Morrisville, North Carolina
My car had died on me while I was out running an errand. I got someone to jump me and then had AAA come out and look at it, since the battery was under warranty. Since the car started while he was there the AAA wouldn't do anything else. I scheduled an appointment with Your Mechanic to get it checked out since the Covid numbers are on the rise (Jan 2021). Mike called before he came, was very personable and listened as I explained the issue about the intermittent starting issues. He did a full inspection and determined the issue was a loose connection and corrosion on one of the battery connectors that he cleaned off. He said he was surprised the AAA guy hadn't figured that out. Regardless, my car seems to be starting just fine now. This was a great experience. I will be using this service (and Mike) again in the future. But hopefully not too soon.
Mazda RX-7 - Car is not starting - Morrisville, North Carolina
Outstanding. Mike is a competent and knowledgeable professional. I was very pleased with the service, and his ability to quickly diagnose and resolve the issue. Thanks Mike

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