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Gimmicks in newer cars these days

What do you guys think of all these new cars coming out with the “push to start” button now to start the engine? It seems crazy that now most newer cars don’t even have keys anymore… Do you think it’s just a way for the dealers to get customers back when it eventually breaks down and then they can charge $$$ to fix the problem ? (Because everything electronically eventually breaks down). I guess what I wanna know is if this new technology has any real advantages over having actual keys to start your car haha.

Actually I didn’t think I’d like it but after three years I do and the wife says she wouldn’t be without it. You just keep the key fob in your pocket and touch the doors and they unlock, push the button and the car starts and push a button again and the car locks. The only thing I don’t like is when you want to leave the car running when you run into the store and the wife is in the car, you have to fish the fob out and put it in the slot.

@Bing, yeah my brother has an Audi A3 and it’s the same thing… But boy if something ever happens I’d hate to see the repair cost to fix something like that

I’ve actually seen people get into BIG trouble with this technology

They have the key fob in their pocket, push the start button and the engine catches

They forget something in the house and go back in, leaving the engine running

While in the house, they for some reason leave the key fob in the house

They go back to the car and drive off WITHOUT the key fob

Since the pcm already recognized the key fob ealier and authorized the start, it won’t shut the engine off. Not this cycle, anyways

The person gets to where they’re going and shuts off the car

Now the problems begin

During the next cycle, there is no key fob, and the engine will not start

Call the wife/husband to bring the key fob . . .

or have somebody give you a ride to your home, so you can retrieve the key fob

Mine beeps pretty bad if you get about ten feet away with the car running and the fob in your pocket. I haven’t read the details for a while so don’t know what it does if you don’t come back. I thought it shut off but maybe it just keeps on going. One thing I don’t like is that we tried to lock the wife’s purse in the trunk with the other fob and it absolutely wouldn’t do it. It thinks you’re locking the keys in the trunk. Maybe they could just put in a couple “are you sures” or something.

When I had my Outback at the dealership recently for its 60k service, they gave me a brand-new CrossTrek as a loaner, and it had this type of technology. In the one day that I had the CrossTrek, I actually got to like the technology, even though I was initially skeptical. The one thing that I didn’t like was the apparent inability to turn on the ignition w/o starting the engine.

When I returned the car at the end of the day, the service writer asked me if I liked this technology, and I stated that I did–except for the fact that I couldn’t turn on the ignition w/o starting the engine. He took me outside, and demonstrated that a quick tap on the “start” button (as opposed to holding the button “in” for a couple of seconds) did exactly what I wanted to do.

I can see where this technology could get somebody into trouble if they fail to bring the fob with them when they leave the house. However, I question the OP’s statement that “everything electronically eventually breaks down”. In the 9 1/2 years that I owned my previous Outback, none of the electronically-driven features ever failed or ever gave me even a moment’s problem. That list includes the traction control, the stability control, the very complex McIntosh audio system, and all of the other electronic goodies.

Yes, everything–be it mechanical or electronic–will eventually fail, but I have never experienced electronic failure on any of my cars, even after as long as 9 1/2 years.
However, I have had old-style ignition switches fail.

In all the cars I’ve owned the electronic stuff seems to be much more reliable than the mechanical electrical stuff. I had to have a current drain repaired on my 84 Corvette digital dash way back in the day and the display on my wife’s Saab has lost a pixel or 3 but that fix is on my “To Do” list as it is just a ribbon cable replacement. Overall the stuff that’s failed has been mechanical wear-outs or corrosion induced failures.

I’d worry more that the software engineers didn’t work out all the bugs before release. My BIL has had a failure of his ABS unit on his brand new RAM pickup supposedly because he left-foot brakes and has hit the brake before fully releasing the gas. THAT confused the ABS unit. The tech told him that before he admitted to being a left foot braker.

They have the key fob in their pocket, push the start button and the engine catches

They forget something in the house and go back in, leaving the engine running

While in the house, they for some reason leave the key fob in the house

They go back to the car and drive off WITHOUT the key fob

You can NOT do that with my wifes Lexus. It knows that the fob is NOT in the car…and won’t let your drive away. There are also warning bells telling you when you walk away with the fob when its still running. If you leave it running after a couple minutes it turns off.

Personally I LOVE the keyless systems. Don’t have to fumble for a key in the dark. I wish my Highlander had it. The higher trim levels do.

In all the cars I've owned the electronic stuff seems to be much more reliable than the mechanical electrical stuff.

Electrical components have always been more reliable. Moving (aka mechanical) parts fail due to wear. Electrical parts can last significantly longer then mechanical parts.

The thing is, the start switch is functionally exactly the same as the key-start switch. When you turn the key, it completes an electrical connection that tells the car to start. Part of the startup process in modern cars is to check to see that the key fob is in the car - and if it’s not, the car won’t start.

From the car’s perspective, it doesn’t particularly care if the key chip that tells the car it’s OK to start is attached to a physical key and inserted in the keyhole or if it’s in your pocket. As long as it’s inside the car, the car is happy.

If you take a normal key-start car key, and you take it apart like you do when you change the battery, and you take out the little waterproof case inside that contains the battery and remote transmitter, and you leave that in the house and go try to start the car, it won’t start.

If you leave the case in the car and then try to start the car the thief way - jamming a screwdriver into the key cylinder and turning it, the car will start, because the car thinks the key is in the car.

So what this boils down to is that start buttons are simply eliminating the mechanical key cylinder. Everything else is functionally identical.

I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who perceives electronic devices to be more reliable than things that are mechanical.

Now, the question is…
Where did the OP get the idea that the opposite is true?

My car has keyless entry and keyless start. On a rainy day, I’m very happy that I don’t have to reach for my keys while trying to manage an umbrella and whatever other items I’m carrying.

The dealers don’t design the cars, by the way.

Push to start? My 1948 Dodge had a button to push to start the engine. This was a needless gimmick involving a starter relay (often mistakenly called a solenoid) near the battery. My 1947 Ponttiac and_1950 Chevy pickup had the best system-- there was a pedal on the floor that pushed the starter gear into the flywheel and at the same time closed high current switch to the starter motor. Of course, you had to turn on an ignition switch. I don’t think that takes a lot of effort. I don’t think I need the keyless system.

I guess I’m more concerned about the new trend of unusual gear shifts, abandoning the old PRNDL for buttons and stubby levers that don’t act normally (see BMW and Chrysler Jeep). Apparently it’s confusing folks:

@VDCdriver, sorry man I should have stated that like everything else in life that they could be more Prone to fail over time. I didn’t mean to say that they Would break down eventually. that was an error on my part.

I’ve driven my brothers Audi a few times and I’ll admit it is cool to have the key fob on you and have the doors automatically unlock as soon as you touch the handle and to just start the engine by a press of a button… But idk maybe I’m just old school and like the sound of putting the key into the ignition and turning her over that way but that’s just me

@texases I saw a review on the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and that shifter looked hella confusing to me… And I’m 22!

Should definitely change that sooner rather than later after reading that article.

@texases I agree with you completely. My parents had a 1960 Rambler with the push buttons for the transmission. I didn’t like the arrangement. By 1965, the manufacturers went back to the lever on the column. My 2011 Toyota Sienna has the lever protruding from the dash–the same thing Plymouth tried in 1955 and abandoned in 1956. I much prefer the standard lever on the column of my 2006 Uplander.

“I saw a review on the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and that shifter looked hella confusing to me.”

I used to have Hella driving lights on one of my cars, and I found their technology to be very straight-forward, and not at all confusing. And, their website fails to mention anything about manufacturing shift mechanisms for cars.

Are you sure that the shifter on those Jeeps is made by Hella?

@VDCdriver bahahaha. Well played.


What I described can and does happen to my brother and his wife. They have a Toyota. Interesting that what I described can’t happen to your Lexus, because they’re both made by Toyota

Perhaps you have to spend more money to get the better “fool proof” technology

My brother’s car does show a “key not detected” message. But, as I said, if the engine is already running, it won’t shut off.

I’m not sure about the beep

There’s no kind way to say this, but that entire family is a bunch of scatterbrains. I don’t know how they’re still alive and breathing. Even if there was a beep, they wouldn’t think much of it, and just keep driving.