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Keyless Car Ignition

Discussion in 'The Breakroom' started by RockyNomad, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. RockyNomad

    RockyNomad Loaded Pockets

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    Ok, I've seen recent commercials for vehicle which have keyless ignitions. How do these work? And please don't say you push a button and the car starts.
     
  2. jzmtl

    jzmtl Loaded Pockets

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    You push a button and the car starts. ;D

    Well before that the car will have to ID/recognize the key fob you carry, either by RF or plug it in, basically electronic version of the lock pins.
     
  3. carrot

    carrot Loaded Pockets

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    It's pretty simple if you consider it like this:

    The key fob you carry essentially identifies you as the owner of the car in a digital way over radio frequencies, similarly to the tumblers in a lock identify you as the holder of the correct key. Depending on the car, it may work if you are sitting anywhere in the car, or only if you are in the driver's seat. When the car identifies the key fob, it allows the "start engine" button to work the way it is expected to.

    IMHO this is great, and definitely worth embracing. One less hassle!
     
  4. Rah14

    Rah14 Empty Pockets

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    The best part for me is keyless entry. Just grab the door handle and it's already unlocked. I would love to have this.
     
  5. Monocrom

    Monocrom Loaded Pockets

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    What they don't tell you is the technology is in its infant stage. Way too many teething problems. Yeah, the push-button start feature is linked electronically to the key-fob that is specific to your car. At my last job, our old patrol vehicle broke down constantly. This meant I got to drive in a ton of different rental cars while that old Ford Escape was in and out of the shop.

    One of those cars was the recent version of the Nissan Altima. Push-button start all the way. Since I was in the market for a new car back then, the Altima was one of two cars I was seriously considering. So while on break, I took a good look through the owner's manual. And I was disgusted by what I read.

    Here are some of the things that can cause your push-button start vehicle to not start:

    1- Dropping the key-fob onto the ground.
    2- Placing your cellphone too close to your key-fob.
    3- Contact with water or salt water.
    4- Being in an area with a lot of radio-wave activity.
    5- Batteries dying in your key-fob.

    Notice something? I sure did! None of the above will cause a failure to start your vehicle if it relies on a metal key. And what about fixes to the above issues? Well, Nissan for example includes a thin, minimalist, key that fits inside the fob. You can use it to unlock your doors. But since the idiots over at Nissan didn't bother to include a back-up ignition slot that you could stick the key into, you're basically screwed. (I suppose being able to sit inside your car while waiting for a tow-truck to arrive is better than being stuck outside your vehicle.)

    I still recall an episode of "Speeders" where an obnoxious young woman was pulled over. Once the cop went back to his patrol car, she pushed the start button on her Nissan Murano, and it didn't start! Oops! Maybe she had her cellphone a bit too close to the fob. She went to the officer for help. Now all sweet and well-mannered. The officer told her to call AAA.

    As for me, I like hanging out in Western Long Island. But that's close to 20 miles away from where I live. No way in Hell am I going to rely on such a pathetically useless, unreliable, gimmick built into my ride. Push-button start is a solution to a problem that never existed. How lazy does one have to be to not be able to insert a key into a slot, and then turn it?

    I ended up buying a Mazda6 V6 model. Some of the trim levels for that model use a traditional ignition that requires a key. Some, use a push-button starter. But unlike the idiots over at Nissan, the folks at Mazda decided that they'd rather not have their customers possibly getting stranded if the "gimmick" decides to malfunction. Mazda's key-fob also incorporates a minimalist key. But that key will not only unlock the doors, but you can then pop off a clear plastic cover located on the steering column, and insert the key into a back-up, traditional, ignition.

    So yeah, I went with Mazda. Cause I'm not a gambler. I don't want to wonder if my car will start each and every single time I shut it off.

    If you're going to buy a vehicle that incorporates this gimmick, be sure it has a traditional ignition as a back-up.
     
  6. 50ft-trad

    50ft-trad Loaded Pockets

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    LOL - I'm with you all the way on that one !!!
     
  7. Crude

    Crude Loaded Pockets

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    What happens when your car battery dies?
     
  8. jzmtl

    jzmtl Loaded Pockets

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    Er, the same thing that would happen if the battery in a traditional car dies? :p
     
  9. HOMELAND SECURITY HAM

    HOMELAND SECURITY HAM Loaded Pockets

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    If the car battery is dead you will need a miracle key. Without a jump start Dead is Dead! One of my cars (2011 Sonata Limited) has the push button start. Fortunitely it's the wifes car. My GMC Sierra does not have it (thank goodness).

    I am so disgusted with the technology that is out now. It only makes things unreliable and unreasonably expensive to repair. Also the so called "Technicians" don't know what they are doing when the car goes in for service.

    I am almost ready to take my 1971 Chevelle out of the garage and rack up mileage on it. The so called "Technicians" cant repair that car either because there is no where a computer can plug into it and tell them what is wrong. Being a mechanic is getting to be a minimum wage job. They plug in the computer and it tells the "parts changer" what part to change. You do not have to be inteligent enough to be able to diagnose a problem.

    So now even having a classic car is like having a Rolls Royce, you need a specialist to work on it. Most new young mechanics dont even know what a carburator is.

    That makes it just as hard to enjoy a classic.
     
  10. adnj

    adnj Loaded Pockets

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    Keyless start technology is more than 20 years old. The price is coming down now so you see it more. We did some concept cars that would allow you to unlock and start them with the signal coming from a pocket cell phone when you were standing close enough.
    .. I have used it for years on my personal cars. With it you CANNOT lock your keys in the car. The proximity sensors know that the key is still inside. It will only unlock doors that you choose on some cars when a door handle is pulled.
    .. It allows you to start the car with your key in your pocket. A definite deterent for car jacking. They can take it if it is running but it will never start again.
    .. Most systems have a key switch back-up just in case you lose the fob or the batteries fail.
    .. Most systems will not allow you to engage the starter once the engine is running.

    Some people don't like them. But some people didn't like color TV either. Within 15 years, all cars will go to keyless start. Because it is too expensive to run the wiring up the steering column.
     
  11. rdrogers

    rdrogers Loaded Pockets

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    I don't have a keyless ignition, but I have no problem with them. You either turn a key to complete a circuit, or a radio or digital signal does it. I'm willing to bet that a keyless one is harder to steal. They keyless battery probably lasts for years, and I would change it every time I changed the car battery. I do that every two years whether I need it or not, just like my brake pads.
     
  12. Crude

    Crude Loaded Pockets

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    Seriously? You know my average battery lasts 4 years? My longest lasting battery made it 8 years. My diesel truck I drive has 2 batteries and I've never changed them and it's a 06. Both my vehicles are 06's and neither has needed new breaks I suspect the truck will need new ones soon only because the driver side is stronger then the other.

    On the flip side the 05 chevy malibu my wife used to drive had to have new breaks every year because the rotors wouldn't cool properly and warp.

    I guess what I'm getting at is that from a car guys vantage point changing those parts every two years is OCD and a complete waste.

    FYI my parents jeep has the key fob and inside the fob is an actual key...for in case the battery dies. I wouldn't own a car without a physical key. There are so many things that could happen to a vehicle that would cause it to loose it's connection with the battery.
     
  13. rdrogers

    rdrogers Loaded Pockets

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    Yep. I get a new battery every two years. My local place stopped carrying the ones that are guaranteed for four years, so now I change it at the end of its warranty (2yrs). You know where I'm coming from on the brake issue too. I spend a lot of vaction time hauling a bunch of stuff around to camp and kayak. My ride is a 2002 S-10 blazer, and the break pads don't last three years. Better to replace them, than pads and rotors too, right? I'm gad your diesel's maintenence is less, but don't call me OCD because my little ride needs more frequent maintinence. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
     
  14. vegassprky
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    My 2000 S-10 blazer has 106000 miles on it and original brakes! On the 3rd battery! 2 wheel drive. All Highway miles.
     
  15. Monocrom

    Monocrom Loaded Pockets

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    20 years to get the technology right, and it's still a miserable failure. Keep in mind, I took those negatives directly from the owner's manual of a current model Nissan Altima. All of those issues are specifically written out in the manual. 20 years, and THOSE are the types of issues that still exist?? That's pathetic.

    Who cares if costs have come down. Clearly push-button start technology is no where near ready for mass market. And after 20 years of not even coming close to perfecting it, I doubt it ever will be ready.

    My first car was a '98 Ford Escort. I never once locked the keys in my car. It had a traditional key for the ignition, and a key fob that allowed me to lock and unlock the doors remotely. After awhile, you get into the habit of always locking your doors after stepping out of the vehicle. Never an issue for me at all. No need for push-button start.

    Having Lo-Jack installed in your car is a better solution. A carjacker can drive for more than a few miles before deciding to shut off the vehicle. If he decides to drive straight to the chop-shop because he's experienced, and knows the car will not start if he shuts it off; then you're still screwed. Plus, the guys at the chop-shop don't need to start your stolen car in order to strip it down for parts. And with Lo-Jack, you don't get stuck with those utterly ridiculous disadvantages that could leave you stranded if your cellphone was too close to your fob.

    Thankfully, Mazda does offer a back-up that uses a key. But realistically speaking, Nissan's offerings are extremely popular. And they don't offer a back-up.

    Every now and then, a person has a brain fart. They turn the key in the ignition with the engine already running. The worst thing that happens is that they feel incredibly stupid for a few seconds. But it's not as though the engine explodes, or anything else drastic happens to the car.

    I'm sorry, but I honestly don't see a single good reason why a push-button start vehicle would be superior to one using an ignition that requires a key. Not to mention one that would off-set those ridiculous disadvantages outlined in my previous post.

    Even with regards to folks who drive older vehicles that have no lock/unlock buttons on a fob attached to a traditional key, the solution for preventing accidentally getting locked out of one's vehicle is rather simple . . . Carry a spare door-key in your wallet or purse. (Not a very thrilling or cool solution. But a very effective one that comes with none of the disadvantages highlighted above.)
     
  16. Narcosynthesis

    Narcosynthesis Loaded Pockets

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    I like the simplicity of it - with the key in the pocket the car unlocks as you walk up to it, you get in and push the button and drive away. No faffing about digging the key out of your pocket or having to faff about in the rain to open the car. Sure using a key isn't hugely hard, but all the little things add up to making our lives that bit more seamless and easier.

    At the same time I don't like the idea of having to rely purely on electronics - what happens if the battery goes flat when you are in the middle of nowhere or the key gets soaked accidentally? I would definitely want some form of manual/mechanical backup available like a traditional key hidden in the fob that will allow you to open the doors and start the car.

    I guess the same reason that the fact that while the main brakes of my car are the standard hydraulics that require power to work, I always have a simple cable activated rear drum brake if something goes wrong and I lose power or some other fault appears.

    It is only a matter of time before I lose all of this to the modern day keyless ignitions and handbrakes that are controlled with a button rather than a lever...
     
  17. XD_Dawg

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    My wife has on 09 Altima with keyless ignition. If the key fob battery dies there is a slot in the dash under the steering column that you slide the fob into and it will register and allow the car to start. I have tried it and it works fine. I agree that its a solution to a problem that didn't exist, but the car is great, and she loves it. Happy wife = happy husband.
     
  18. Straya

    Straya Loaded Pockets

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    Those of you who like to work on their own cars are going to hate some of the modern cars that are coming out that are designed to have all their service work done at a dealership. I believe for instance that some new Jaguars don't have dipsticks to check oil levels.
     
  19. vegassprky
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    They figure if you can afford a Jaguar then you can afford to let them service it! We are losing the chance to do anything on our own to the cars we drive! They're getting so complex that without the right equipment and knowledge that we won't be able to do anything ourselves! Not too long in the future they will make it so you won't be able to fuel it either. It will get so expensive to own a car we'll be stuck using public transportaion and thats just depressing to me!!!