Keyless Starting of Cars, Feature or Flop


Keyless Starting of Cars, Feature or Flop

A friend got a call yesterday that her father was in the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. Seems he left his car running in the garage and went inside and went to bed. His car was one of those with they keyless starting feature. He simply didn’t turn it off. I’m sure his car was quiet and he many have been distracted (we all have.) However all of us make a habit of taking the key when we leave a car. Not so, perhaps, with a keyless fob.

Are these things a good idea, or as Andy says, a solution in search of a problem.

Doing a bit of research I find that there are numerous blogs and bulletin boards on the auto sites that comment on this feature and most are negative. According to the manufacturers the car is supposed to turn off when you remove the “fob” from the car area.

I checked the blogs and noted that many users say that their car DOES NOT turn off when the fob is removed from the area of the car. One of the employees here has such a vehicle and started the car and removed the fob and walked away. The car DID NOT stop.

So, first of all, this is a warning. Be absofrigginlutely certain that when you get out such a car it is turned off. CO can kill you. I also suggest you take your keyfob with you and not leave it in the car.

Secondly – except for the “Gee” factor, can anyone come up with a good reason for this feature to exist, or is it like the 1000 features in Microsoft Word that no one ever uses but are there because they can be. I know I can’t.

Third – Is this really a problem or am I sewing dragon’s teeth.

My prediction: Within a year you will be seeing a class action lawsuit against the auto companies concerning this feature.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

4 Responses

  1. One of these new fangled cars was left running at my cruise ship lot for a week. It was near the 24/7 cashier’s booth, so we didn’t worry about it being stolen. With a full tank the car idled four days. The owners came back after their cruise and thought somebody siphoned out all their gasoline. We told them that they left the car locked and running. Yep, key fob ignition.
    I have a remote start on my Chevy truck. I love it, but it stops running after 5 minutes unless I put the key in the ignition.

  2. Two comments on this story. First from a parking point of view, this is a terrible system for valet parking. I cannot tell you how many times valet customers have forgotten to provide the attendant with the fob. The customer leaves and we have no way to start the car again. We train our attendants, but….
    From a personal stand point, it is very convenient. When approaching the car with your hands full, you do not have to dig for the keys. My wife loves it, she keeps the fob in her purse and does not have to get the key out each time. I will not comment about ladies and their purses.

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