Is a Keyless Push-Button Ignition More Reliable?

Vehicle starting systems have evolved significantly since their inception. When automobiles were initially introduced, you had to manually crank the engine over with a handle on the front of your engine compartment. The next phase involved a lock and key system where an electric starter motor would turn the engine over to get it running. This ignition system has been in use for many decades, with modifications and design changes along the way for reliability and security.

Recent ignition developments

Within the past two decades, security systems have evolved to the point where only one specific chip in close proximity will allow the engine to start. Microchip technology has allowed the next step of automotive development for ignition systems: keyless push-button ignition. In this style of ignition, the key only needs to be on the user’s person or in close proximity to the ignition in order for the engine to be able to start. The driver presses a push-button ignition button, and the starter motor receives power to turn the engine over.

Is keyless more reliable?

Keyless push-button ignition systems are secure, only being able to be started by someone who possesses the key fob. There is a programmed chip inside the fob that is recognized by the vehicle when it is close enough. A battery is required, however, and if the battery dies, some systems are unable to initialize. That means you could be in possession of your key fob for your keyless push-button ignition and your car still wouldn’t start.

While keyless push-button ignition systems are very secure, a keyed ignition system will only fail if the key shaft is broken. Keys for vehicles with a security chip in the head of the key do not require a battery and will likely never fail.

Keyed ignition systems are more reliable for operation, though not to say that keyless push-button ignitions are of poor design. They offer enhanced security and are on the way to rivaling the mechanical reliability of a keyed ignition.


The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How Long Does a Steering Column Actuator Last?
Modern Modern cars use electronic systems to ensure that the steering wheel locks in place when the key is out of the ignition, and to prevent the key from coming out of the ignition in any gear but park. However,...
How to Replace an Ignition Trigger
The ignition trigger fails if the engine is misfiring or has trouble starting. The check engine light may illuminate if the ignition trigger fails.
How to Replace a Key Fob Battery
Key fobs allow easy access to your car. Once the key fob battery is weak or dead you'll lose your fob's ability to control remote functions.

Related questions

Ignition lock faulty
The ignition lock assembly can experience a failure due to a faulty sensor, module, or even a worn-out key. I will advise that you have an experienced mechanic, like the ones at YourMechanic, to inspect the entire ignition lock assembly...
Had to manually unlock car & key stuck in ignition
Try to turn the key to the On position and then press and hold the remote button until the central locking light blinks rapidly. Then release the button and turn off the ignition. This should reconnect the remote to the...
WONT START
There are two common items that can cause an intermittent no start with this car. You already replaced the crank sensor, which is one of them. The other can be the key, and/or the Electronic Ignition Switch (EIS). If you...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com