Current Reasons Not To Trust Keyless (or Push Button Start) Ignitions Clarence Holm
Carbon Monoxide Risk
There are a number of reasons to be wary of new vehicles that utilize Push Button Start. The first of which is the hidden danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. In some vehicles the push button start is enabled with a controlling key fob. When that fob (containing an electronic signal) is with you in your pocket or purse, you can start and turn off the vehicle with a button.
The hidden danger in that system is whatever you turn off with a button, must be turned off with the button (in some models of car). Walking away from those types of vehicles with the fob will not automatically turn off your engine. For modern cars, it is very possible to not be able to detect an idling engine in a vehicle. If you were to leave a vehicle on in your attached garage, the accumulated carbon monoxide in the bay could enter your home and poison you.
While it is apparent to some that having push button start is a “fabulous” option. But what happens when you drive that new $60,000 car to the shopping mall and you leave your push button fob in a store. Until you retrieve or replace the fob (at $300 a crack) you now have a locked out paperweight.
Besides the risk of loss, the keys and fobs can easily be broken leaving you with a hunk of plastic that can’t phone home.
Ever have your computer destroyed by spyware, spam or viruses? Guess what the wireless connection between your fob and your car allows— A handy gateway to your car for a tech savvy thief. If you are used to the constant updates that are needed on your computer to download protection software, you have a good idea of the race car manufactures are in with these car hijackers who want to control your car.
Now I might be willing to put up with the risk of having my car stolen by someone using software to enter my car, but the thought of someone taking over control of my car when I am driving it scares me to death.
First Responder Nightmare
Some first responders have related tales of accidently bumping and restarting the vehicle while rescuing an accident victim. Accident sites are a very chaotic scene! Imagine trying to locate a key fob in the dead of night with multiple victims strewn around the scene. It is one more complicating factor.
Sometimes a key might not be the most convenient, but for some that little piece of metal turns out to be worth the extra effort.
During the late 50’s I was a young boy growing up on a farm. Like all young children I dreamed of driving the big old red farm tractor. Normally that would entail getting a key, inserting it into the right spot on the dash and then pressing a separate button to start the tractor. But like so much of the old equipment on the farm, accessories like fan shields, safety switches, pesky keys simply wore out or were lost. Parts and repairs were time consuming and expensive. For most farmers the solution was simple, short out the switch and hotwire the part. If a key got lost or wore out, a push button start was an easy fix.
For my father, life was easier that way. In fact, he enjoyed the freedom of a keyless ignition on his tractor. That was until I learned how to climb into the tractors driver’s seat.
My father had just driven into the farmyard after working in the field all morning. He parked the tractor and plow, turned off the engine and came in to wash up for the noon lunch.
Oh, how I wanted to be like my father and that tractor sitting in the driveway was my chance. I climbed onto the cab and dangled my feet over the edge of the seat. Even though I couldn’t reach the pedals for the clutch and brakes, I could lean forward and hold the steering wheel and play with the dash switches. I was in my glory, I made engine noises that went “putt-putt” and pretended I was plowing the field. I turned the wheel, pull the hand throttle and blinked the blinkers, it was heaven. I was having a great time until I spotted the bright red start button!
Because my father always parks the tractor in gear, my pushing of the start button immediately through me back in the seat when the engine roared to life. In one brief moment, I had fulfilled my dream and I was “driving” the tractor. I panicked and start pulling levers trying to make it stop. All I managed to do was to trip the plow that cut a nice furrow right through the front yard of our house.
I could hear my mother scream as the tractor idled by the house headed for her prize plum grove. Luckily my older brother was able to jump aboard and throw the tractor into neutral before I went completely through the grove.
I was plucked off the tractor and was handed to my mother. Looking over her shoulder I could see the damage to the lawn caused by pulling a five bottom plow through our yard. It was one of those cases where my parents were so relieved I didn’t kill myself or someone else that I wasn’t punished. But I knew I had done wrong!
Yesterday, my daughter drove into my yard with a brand new car. She was so excited to show me all the features including a big red start that worked in tandem with a keyless ignition. She thought it was the neatest feature she had ever seen.
I backed away and ran a mental list on the whereabouts of all my grandchildren. That car may not be attached to a plow, but I bet it could damage a plum grove.
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