3 Things for Students in Mechanic Programs to Know About Push Button Ignitions

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Most of the cars on the road today have the same standard ignition that has been in use for decades. The driver takes their key, inserts it into the keyhole, turns it, and the engine starts. Some cars are moving away from this method, though, and introducing a push-button ignition instead. Press the button, car starts. Pretty simple stuff.

Well, not quite. Though the experience is simple for drivers, there is a lot of interesting technology at work behind the scenes that enables modern push-button ignitions. Curious about how it all works? Here are three things you can learn about this technology.

1. During Your Mechanic Program, You Might See That Keyless Ignitions Have Solid Security

To some, keyless ignitions don’t seem as secure as a regular ignition. They think anyone who can get into a car can just press the button and go. There are some security measures in place to prevent this, though.

Cars with keyless ignitions come with a key fob that broadcasts a signal to the car. The car will usually have sensors that allow it to detect those signals. This can enable a few features. For example, if it sees that the fob is near, it will unlock. If it sees that the fob is not inside, the car could disable the ignition button.

With some cars, this means you can start the car and drive off without taking a key fob out of your pocket. It also leads to intricate components being needed to start a car. If this technology becomes more common, an auto technician might need to make examining fob sensors a part of their regular maintenance routine.

2. Push Buttons Can Offer New Possibility for Drivers With Some Disabilities

Some people, such as those with arthritis, have a more difficult time starting a car than they do driving. Broad movements like turning a wheel might be relatively easy, whereas grabbing a small key and twisting it in an ignition might put uncomfortable strain on joints.

That means that by removing the need for turning a key, push-button ignitions might be able to restore an amount of freedom to people who might otherwise need to go without. With the Canadian population set to see a large increase in elderly drivers, this could become increasingly important as the years pass. Of course, the fact that this feature is usually found on pricier vehicles could be an obstacle to widespread adoption. If the technology makes the jump to more affordable cars, though, it could make an important difference in many lives.

3. Keyless Ignitions Have a Problem That Future Auto Technicians Might Want to Know About

Students enrolled in a mechanic program likely know that many accidents are caused by a lack of attention by drivers. Unfortunately, a lack of attention with keyless ignitions can lead to accidents as well.

The issue: in order to turn off the engine, drivers need to press the ignition button again once they’ve stopped driving. If a driver has forgotten, they could leave their car running in an enclosed space like a garage. In these situations, fumes from the exhaust can accumulate, and re-entering the space can mean breathing in dangerous fumes. This can seriously injure, or even kill, a person.

Proposed solutions include things like warning sounds that go off if a car detects it is idling while a driver walks away, or an automatic shutoff if a car idles for too long. Neither is entrenched in law just yet, so time will tell how this problem gets solved in the coming years.

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