Key ignition vs starter button


My recommendation is to follow the same procedure as you’d follow in any car when the throttle sticks:

  1. Put the transmission in neutral.
  2. Pull over.
  3. Put it in park.
  4. Shut off the engine.

I had my mother practice this procedure a couple times so she would know what to do with her Toyota if the throttle got stuck.

Shutting off the engine should always be the last step so you still have power to all the systems, like steering and brakes. Let the engine rev and scream all it wants. It likely has a rev limiter and your life is worth more than an engine anyway.


Not likely, something else happened at the same time. Not sure about all vehicles with push button starting is that to turn off engine the button has to be held in for more than 3 seconds if in gear.


Wife’s Lexus - must be in park to turn off.

So either Toyota did it right or something’s wrong with that cars ignition. I can’t imagine that would be overlooked.


Try pushing and holding the start button while it’s not in park. I bet it shuts off after a short time.


Two replies:

  1. With my current cars (spanning 1988-2006, both manual transmission and automatics), one can can turn off the ignition with the keys while moving, however to remove the keys they must be turned to the lock position (the automatics also must be in park but the MTs don’t care). Steering and braking forces go way up with the engine off and the airbags deactivate - wise people don’t do this. With my earlier cars, (1950 & 1960), the keys could be pulled (after turning off the ignition) at any time - no transmission or steering interlocks.

  2. Good question about whether our son’s car, a 2016 Mustang, is defective and maybe he should check with the dealer. At the end of the section on starting/stopping the engine the owners’ manual addresses the dangers of shutting off the ignition while the car is in motion, but for those who might do it goes on to advise what to do until and after and after the comes to rest. The manual is little ambiguous, it doesn’t specifically instruct how to shut it off while moving but in addressing it implies that it can be done.


He’s confirmed it and the owners manual suggests that it is possible, but cautions against it.


I guess being old and having driven a great many cars over the years I have found myself with the throttle suddenly stuck on several occasions and more than once the throttle stuck wide open. It’s quite an awakening experience but immediately turning the engine off was the quicklest way to bring the car under control. I much prefer having as much absolute control as possible in such a situation. Loss of power steering and brakes weren’t nearly as important as immediately getting the power off. But young drivers today will have to figure out their best alternative.


I’ll try that when I get home. I’d be very surprised if it does.


The Lexus owners manual instructions were unclear but the shut down instructions were revised in the accelerator pedal recall;

Shift the transmission gear selector to the Neutral (N) position and use the brakes to make a controlled stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine.

If unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine OFF by firmly and steadily pushing the button for at least three seconds. Do NOT tap the Engine Start/Stop button. This will not cause loss of steering or braking control, but the power assist to these systems will be lost.

The procedure was changed on later models to also shut off with repeated tapping of the start/stop button.


I think I need a system that turns everything off when I walk away from the car. On our Toyota Sienna, if I remove the key from the ignition, the headlights, interior lights, etc turn off after a fixed time period. However, if I leave the key in the ignition which I do when I park the van in our attached garage, the lights stay on. (I always leave the keys in the ignition of our vehicles when the vehicles when they are parked in the garage. In the event of a fire, I wouldn’t have to search for the keys to move the cars out.). At any rate, I didn’t get the left door closed on the Sienna last night and the interior lights remained on. When I went to start the car this afternoon, the battery was completely dead. I have the battery on the little charger I own. I am now up to interior lights and the horn. I haven’t tried starting the van yet. We are going out this evening so I will give it a try when we get home. In the meantime, Mrs. Triedaq is chauffeuring me around in the 4Runner, so I’ll get driven up to the door while she parks the car. Maybe I should run the battery down more often.


Can you manually turn off the interior lights, so they don’t come on when you open the door, or stay on when you leave it open? I did that with my Civic, not because I was worried about running down the battery, but because I didn’t want to attract mosquitoes every time I open the door.


@Whitey Yes, there is a switch that turns off the interior lights whether the doors are open or closed. I use this feature when I have the doors open when I vacuum the interior of the car and have all the doors open. However, I usually have the switch set so that the lights come on when any door is open. I frequently have passengers with me with their musical instruments as I did twice last week for an evening rehearsal and then a.concert. Since the youngest of my musical friends is 60 and the oldest is 81(and plays a great tuba) having a well lit interior for entering and exiting the van at night is important. Years ago, I had a bottom of the line Rambler that didn’t have the door switches to turn on the interior lights. My first wife complained about that as she hated to enter a dark car at night.
At any rate, 7 hours on the battery charger and the Sienna started right up. It didn’t lose the radio settings, my smartphone was still paired with the audio system and even the clock had the right time. I made a run to the grocery store and all worked well on the way there. On the way home, the right turning signal started flashing double time. I found a bulb out which had nothing to do with me running down the battery.


In all of my recent Civics, my current Insight, and my daughter’s new Kia Sorento, the engine can be shut off with the key with the shifter in DRIVE.


my wife’s '13 Mazda has a push button also, but if she leaves the car running and starts to walk away with the fob in her purse the car makes loud a beeping noise that is unmistakable…be really hard to leave it running…


A push button start cannot turn off the car with a casual push of the button while in gear. My Mazda 6 will shut off in park with a simple push of the button but if the car is in gear you must press and hold the button for several seconds to turn off the engine. All push button starts have this type of safeguard so one of several things happened here:

1- The button is defective
2- The dog is very talented and can hold the button down for several seconds
3- This is an urban legend and plays on our fears of technology
4- The “friend” was drunk and covering for his behavior (or crash) with a yarn about how the dog shut the car off

I personally like two and four. I imagine I have missed some other possible scenarios as well.


I’m curious whether any manufacturers have the option of integrating a remote start into the keyless fob.


My Lexus GS has remote start from the fob.


Sure. Been around for a dozen years or so. Maybe more.