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How Does Keyless Start Work?

 Does Keyless Start WorkPersonal convenience is now a necessity not luxury as it was before. In fact, making living convenient in all its spheres is a global phenomenon. Ranging from simple household utensils to office equipment, factory machine and even automobile, stakeholders are more interested in how the mode of operation can be made easy through automation.


One amenity that is becoming more popular now in the automobile world is the keyless ignition system. The keyless push-button, keyless start as well as intelligent and smart keys are what is reigning or trending if you like to call it that. We will be answering how does keyless entry work among other frequently asked questions related to keyless start.


While in your car already, to put on the engine and move, press down the brake and press the engine start button together at once and move on! You want to know more of the device, please read on.

All it takes is you getting into your car and off you go once the engine is automatically on via your keyless device thus saving you the trouble of having to look for car key on the shelf, bed side or wherever!


What does keyless start mean?

One automotive gadget that is becoming more popular now is the keyless ignition system whereby you are allowed to fire up your car’s engine without using a key.

The keyless ignition system comes with a battery-powered key fob that is built with a transmitter which operates with a low-frequency radio ID that transfers signals from the key fob to the car’s computer system to activate your command when you are physically present in the car with the fob.

 How Does Keyless Entry Work

What You Need to Know About Keyless Ignition Systems

Simply a system whereby you need no key to put in your car engine once you desire to get in your car and while you are done driving, no key is equally needed to stop the engine from working.

Keyless ignition scenario first appeared between late 90s and mid 2000s available only for high-enders due to the cost of getting it in its novelty days. High-priced cars like the BMW, Rolls-Royce, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz and Acura were the leading autos that pride themselves with this system then. The keyless system became more visible in many other brands of car starting from 2008 upward and still very much invoke.

The system comes with no key but a fob just to be kept in your purse or pocket proximately close to the receiver in your car. As you approach your car, the antennas in your vehicle will quickly recognize the key fob presence and permit you to unlock and lock your doors just by pressing a button on the car handle.

These antennas recognize your entry and quickly transmit the electronic ID or signal from the key fob to the receiver module in the computer so as you press the ignition button to start the car, the immobilizer is disabled by the receiver to power the starter circuit and turns on the engine for you.

If for example you want to go for shopping at a nearby mall with your car, with the keyless fob in your hand just send a uniquely low frequency signal to the car’s computer to validate your request thus allowing you to push a button on the dashboard or console and the engine is on automatically.

While you are through and back home, all you need do is to just press the same start-and-stop button to switch off the engine. When you are in proximity to your vehicle, antennas around your vehicle recognize your key fob’s presence and allow you to unlock and lock your doors with the press of a button on the handle, if it is so equipped.

Some systems also include keyless entry into the car in addition to their keyless ignition process which allows you entry without inserting any key into the door or hitting a button on the key fob.

Although using keyless ignition system is becoming a norm now because of its affordable pricing, the system is yet to meet the aspirations of car shoppers to the fullest and deliver a complete automotive convenience they desire by not yet including car windows, headlight, rear light and door locks in the automation.

Other necessary information you may wish to know about this keyless ignition system are as follows;


 How Does Keyless Start Work

How secured are keyless system

Keyless start systems come with measures to safeguard your car from coming up and on at the wrong time. With the installation of the pre-start safety check on your car’s computer which ensure that your vehicle is in ‘P’ (park) on the gear selector knobs and that you already have pressed the brake before it allows the engine to come on.

As an added advantage, it is required in some other systems that you rotate a switch before the start button can give in to start while the key fob must also be inside the car before you can get the vehicle running.

With keyless start, it is difficult to forget your car key on the trunk when there is no key to use anyway. You have the advantage of having the fob permanently in your pocket or briefcase at all times (just ensure that it is inside the car).

In addition to this and for reason of safety also, some systems are designed in such a way that the door will not lock if for any reason you forgot the fob inside the car while others quickly alert you if you attempt to shut the door or trunk-lid while the fob is still inside your car.

The keyless ignition systems is designed to prevent break-ins and vehicle theft since the car’s computer will not recognize any other signal apart from its own fob which is with you, thieves will not find easy access into the car talk less of starting the engine and moving away with the car.

To emphasize how secured your car is with this system, there is no mechanical steering column to lock neither is there any physical metal key to duplicate so your mind is at rest all through.

Sometimes your fob may have low battery while you are away from your house, with the system built for most keyless start you are still covered and have nothing to worry about.

The solution that is common to all is remote unlocking which is available by just putting a call through to the company’s mobile application via the over-the-air emergency service for their representative to send the unlocking signal to you for reactivation of the system.

In some other keyless ignition system, a hidden key will come out of the fob with which you can unlock the doors and then be inserted into the emergency port to start the car. If this is not feasible, the company can send one of their available technicians to be at your service immediately.


Some challenges with keyless ignition system

Although most of today’s automakers are working tirelessly to address some, yet there are number of issues associated with the use of keyless ignition system we think you need to know.

Loss of key fob

Please note that if your key fob is lost and all efforts to locate it proved abortive, you may not be able to start your car except you contact your auto makers to find a solution or make another key for you in order for you to use that car again. So, it is advisable to jealously guard and guide your key fob as you will your eye glasses (if you use one).


Hacking is the most common problem facing cars with keyless ignition nowadays. It has been researched and confirmed that with right equipment available, hackers can hijack the radio signal being sent from your keyless fob and use it to open, start and move away the car conveniently.

Unlike in those days, most cars now come with silent engines that are exceptionally silent even to the extent that car owner can be tempted to forget to put off the engine. With keyless ignition it is not impossible to forget to turn off your car’s engine after parking in your enclosed garage and then leave. A lot of people have been reportedly killed of carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of this avoidable negligence while many others suffer illness and injuries.

Remedies applied

As the above challenges become more apparent, many car makers have come up with possible solutions such as installing sound alerts into the car system warning drivers of some impending dangers while they were about to leave their cars.

Some vehicles will trigger an alarm if the ignition fob is removed from the car when the car is still on while some are customized with a device that automatically transmit to ‘P’ position when the driver’s door is opened. Some other systems will shut down completely should the engine be left idling for more than a specified period of time.


Should you not protect yourself?

Yes, you should of course. What you need do first and foremost is to read your owner’s manual carefully to ensure that you are clearly familiar with mode of operation procedure of your car’s keyless ignition system.

Also, as a driver (either a beginner or well experienced) it is essential to have a good driving habit of making sure that you park your car, shut the engine off and take a thorough check of other necessities before disembarking from your car except under unavoidable emergency.

Embark on investigative research when planning to buy a new vehicle built with keyless ignition system to know what are the features it comes with. You may need the one that comes with an alarm system informing you of what to be done before leaving your car or such that will not allow your door to open until all that is necessary to be done are done before allowing you to shut off the engine and then disembark.


 Keyless Entry

How do you start a keyless car without the fob?

Once you are physically present and seated in the car with the key fob proximately within, just press and press the start and stop button at the same time to enable your engine come on live. However, if the fob is not with you or is failing it may be impossible for you to start the engine. But first try this out before you give up;

Quickly swap your fob’s battery with another pair and get it to work again, this is if you have a spare or you are lucky to be within a location where you easily can have one from a shopping mall.

To do the swapping, use a screw driver edge to open the fob’s battery cover look carefully with the matching numbers and replace the battery.


If you have problem with unlocking the door

unlock the door if your car comes with factory fitted remote door unlock service, if not get the assistance of a roadside technician.

We assume that you would have set up all these services in your keyless ignition system through reading up the owner’s manual and come up with a PIN that will enable you to survive this challenges as many brands of vehicle come with their own different specifications that are peculiar to their kind of vehicle alone.

If the above fails and you want to unlock the door manually, hold your dead fob against the driver’s door handle and try to pull. Sometimes, you might be lucky to still have small juice in the battery that can bail you out. If not, then check on the fob and remove the leather on it to check for the hidden mechanical key inside. A small scratch sometimes pops out the spare key and if you are luck with this key coming out, insert it into the lock opening in the driver’s door and off you go.


How to Start a Car with a dead Key Fob?

Now that you are inside with the hidden but discovered spare key in your hand it is easy. As an alternative, manufacturers are cognizant of the fact that keyless ignition may need to work if the fob is dead so they have designed the system to work with even a non-functioning remote. You may start your car manually using the key in your hand to access the key slot carefully concealed somewhere around the steering column (e.g. in Mazda vehicles) to turn a ‘switch’ and start the car’s engine live.



Differences between keyless go and keyless start

The keyless start system is being operated when you just have to press down the brake pedal and dashboard mounted button factory fitted for ON and OFF manipulation to put your car engine on or off as may be required.

However, the Keyless GO system that is in most cases fitted from the factory with the car (most especially the Mercedes-Benz) only come as an upgrade to the keyless ignition system.

Featuring computer installed gadgets that recognizes signals from the key fob in your pocket or wherever you keep it to start your car engine, when you press the brake pedal while in the driver’s seat of your car and press the On and Off button built on your dash board.

It also has the capacity to lock and unlock your doors automatically when you touch the handles provided you still have the fob on you.

The latest Mercedes-Benz sports series comes with the combined technology of Keyless start and Keyless Go systems which deliver to you easy access to lock, unlock, start and stop your Mercedes car without the hassle of digging out your car key. While staying outside the car, you are even allowed to close your car windows and sunroof provided your Smartkey is readily available.

The Keyless Go allows your car accessories like radio, dash-light, inside light and other electrical items to come on and off unlike the keyless start system. Just press the brake pad once at first and then press the button. As long as you do not press on the brake again keep pressing the button to give you varieties of functions.

By opening your door after you might have shifted to park and set the parking brake, all features will automatically go off.

With Keyless Go, simply press the brake and press the start/stop button if you want to turn off your car engine. If you want to lock it from outside, locate and touch the sensor within the door handle and hold it still if you forgot to lock the windows and sunroof until everything is perfectly done.

The above are some amazing and distinguishing features of keyless Go as against those of the keyless start system. For more information, get the owner’s manual for details.



Is push button start reliable?

Answering this question could be in two ways, one can say yes and, in another tone, say not really depending on some factors that had earlier on been analyzed. It is reliable if your key fob is kept with you whenever you desire to run your car. It is reliable when the key fob is loaded with working battery that will not fail you. It is reliable when other systems of your car such as battery etc. are working perfectly well. It may not, on the other hand be reliable if the radio frequency with which it works is hacked by thieves to make away with your car.


 Keyless Entry

How to stop keyless car theft?

Keyless start system does not work only for starting the car’s engine, it also helps to protect the car from theft once the thief has no access to the key fob. Since there is no physical key to duplicate, stealing of car is reduced.

To protect your car therefore we offer some tips you can digest:

  • Use a blocking pouch to safe keep your car key fob
  • Turn the keyless fob’s wireless signal off when not in use
  • Use car alarm system or steering wheel lock always when you are out of the car
  • Keep your vehicle very clean and tidy to make the sensor ever ready
  • Always park defensively
  • Etch your car windows and
  • Reprogramme your keyless fob if need be.



How to start keyless car with key

Inside the start button, some manufacturers had a hidden spot disguised with plastic. Use the key fob to push the start button while your leg is pressed on the brake. Also, you may discover a key hidden within the steering compartment or inside the key fob, slot it into the hole and start your car’s engine.



Can I add keyless entry to my car?

Yes, you can. For older cars that does not come with keyless entry and start system, getting one installed will be a great value added to your car.


keyless start


Keyless ignition system is very convenient as much as they are potentially dangerous if care is not taken as to how you handle and use them. It is a helpful tool in the hands of an arthritis driver or any other for that matter whose abilities to insert and turn car key are greatly impeded.

Getting one for your old car or planning to get a brand-new car that come with one is not a bad idea at all if you can afford it.

We hope you found this article helpful and you found an answer if you are inquisitive on how does keyless entry work among other relevant question. If you have a comment or question drop it in the box below, we will be glad to hear from you.