Q: Is a Push-Button Ignition as Reliable as a Keyed Ignition?

asked by on November 19, 2015

Is a push-button ignition as reliable as a keyed ignition?

Keyed ignitions and push-button ignitions are vastly different, yet they work equally well. In fact, push button ignitions are becoming more of the norm. For a highly technical, electronic system to be considered more preferable to an older, less technical design, it must be proven to be more consistent and trouble-free than its predecessor.

When push-button ignitions started to appear (about 10 years ago or so), they were somewhat of a novelty to the car-buying public. They were just not used to seeing that type of ignition system. My grandfather had a 1942 Chevy truck that had push-button ignition, but it was purely mechanical. So, too, was the floor starter pedal his truck had. More and more cars today have push-button ignitions as an option while on other vehicles, it comes standard.

One of many reasons for the increasing use of keyless ignitions can be found in the failure of typical ignition switches. In recent years, either due to faulty design, faulty manufacturing, too much weight on the key cylinder (too many keys hanging from your keychain), or some other unknown factor, ignition switch issues have been the source of many vehicle accidents. Some ignition switches shorted out internally, causing catastrophic car fires. Some ignition switches would cause the engine to shut off unexpectedly, causing a loss of vehicle control. This led to quite a few car crashes which, sadly, ended with a loss of life.

Another reason for their use is their enhanced vehicle security function. Push-button ignition systems are integrated into the keyless entry system and passive anti-theft system. Without an intelligent key fob that only the vehicle owner has, would-be car thieves are just that: would-be car thieves.

Even though these newer systems are more complex and have more things that can go wrong, all of their components have robust designs that allow them to do their jobs with very few failures.

In my professional experience, I have found these push-button ignition systems to be highly reliable.

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