If I wanna stop this car


#1

I drive an older car and haven’t had much experience with new push-button starters. But the publicity about the Toyota recalls has me worried. Apparently some drivers of runaway Toyotas with stuck gas pedals tried to turn off their push-button ignitions and weren’t able to do so. (Granted it might be smarter to shift to neutral, but shutting down has to be better than speeding into a wall.) ABC Nightline had a detailed, frightening report last night. So: Do all push-button ignitions work the same way? Or are they unique to particular manufacturers and models? Are they designed to require you to stop the car before you are able to switch off the ignition? Does the button have to be pressed for an extended length of time? If I encounter one of these things in an emergency what do I need to know?


#2

I’d suggest:

  1. Read the owner’s manual.
  2. Ask the service manager at your dealership.

Twotone


#3

Excellent advice, IF it’s my car, and I appreciate it. But if I am driving a friend’s car, or a rental, or I’m a passenger in somebody else’s car, scrutinizing the owner’s manual might not be a convenient option. In one tragic case the driver called a 911 operator who didn’t know what to tell him before he crashed. Do these systems have any functions in common? If they are not standardized, it seems like that’s another problem that needs to be fixed. What would it be like if different models had, say, the brake and gas pedals in different positions?


#4

Put the car in neutral, that will stop the forward motion. Then press the “start” button and hold it in until the motor either blows up from overreving or shuts off. Whatever happens to the motor, all the people in the car will be ok.


#5

Don’t shut down the engine until you are stopped. If you turn off the engine, you lose power to the brakes and steering. Brake hard (don’t pump) and get off the road ASAP. Then put the car in neutral and stop. Only then should you turn it off.


#6

I’d kill the motor, the power brakes will still have vacuum for several stops. Plenty of brakes to stop the car. The car can still be steered without power steering, you don’t need to turn the wheel like you would on parallel parking. You just need to move the wheel a bit to move over a lane or two onto the shoulder.

If the motor is really racing and the transmission is still in gear then the brakes have to overcome the power of the engine. Kill the motor and you stop the car from gaining speed, apply the brakes and move gradually and safely to a stop.


#7

I agree not to “kill the motor”. I think the fear of motor damage in a modern computer controlled engine due to overreving is not relevant in an emergency as long as you don’t intentionally increase the throttle any more. Even racing, a working motor is your friend. It’s the transmission/brakes you should focus on to regain control. On tractors, motors are often set to maximum working RPM and control is attained through the transmission, brakes and and peripheral power take off controls. I feel this mentality will serve you better in this emergency.
This is especially true if you have a throttle by wire vehicle. Let the computer worry about the motor.


#8

If you lose control of the throttle, you don’t want to turn off the engine. You want to shift to neutral and safely bring the car to a stop on the shoulder. Let the engine scream. It won’t hurt a thing, and turning the engine off will give you less control of the steering.

The important thing is not to panic and shift to neutral. If you remain calm and know what to do, you can greatly mitigate any danger.


#9

Put the car in neutral
Use your brakes to safely slow down
Pull off the road and come to a complete stop.
Shift briskly into Park and set your emergency brake.

Now you have all the time in the world to figure out how to shut off the car. If all else fails, discharge your CO2 fire extinguisher into the air intake.

You do have a CO2 fire extinguisher on board, don’t you?


#10

At any speed that could kill you, you don’t need power steering.


#11

"I’d kill the motor, the power brakes will still have vacuum for several stops. Plenty of brakes to stop the car. The car can still be steered without power steering, you don’t need to turn the wheel like you would on parallel parking. You just need to move the wheel a bit to move over a lane or two onto the shoulder.

If the motor is really racing and the transmission is still in gear then the brakes have to overcome the power of the engine. Kill the motor and you stop the car from gaining speed, apply the brakes and move gradually and safely to a stop."

I just reported what safety experts quoted in the news say to do. I figured that they know more than I do.


#12

“At any speed that could kill you, you don’t need power steering.”

But you do need an unlocked steering column. Turning the car off can certainly result in a locked column and complete loss of steering control.


#13

At any speed that could kill you, you don’t need power steering.

Spoken like a future Darwin Award winner.

Do you think you are immortal when you drive 10 MPH? What if you are trying to pull to the side of the road and a semi plows into your car because you weren’t able to steer yourself out of the way?

I think having control at low speed is quite important if you have a stuck throttle and are trying to safely stop your car on the side of the road.

Can anyone give me a good reason not to leave the engine running? It’s one thing to say “it’s not necessary” when it is. It is another thing to list at least one valid reason to shut off the engine. So far, nobody has done that.

Even if shutting off the engine before you safely stop prevented engine damage (which it won’t), a human life is more important than any engine, and leaving it running until you can bring it to a safe stop improves your chances of living.