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HomeTips & GuidesPush Button Start or Key: Which is the Best Way to Start a Car?

Push Button Start or Key: Which is the Best Way to Start a Car?

What’s the working mechanism of your car’s push button start or key

Before, starting a car required an ignition key, but this technology is nearly obsolete today. Only vintage vehicles ignite via this method. 

In its stead, we have autos that start using a push button start. It’s a more automatic system with several advantages over the key method. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the push-start button system in detail, among many other insights. Let’s get started. 

Table of Contents

What Is a Push-Button Start?

The system allows you to start your car electronically by pressing a button. 

The typical ignition key start method prompts the input of a key into the ignition port. 

But, the push start button is a keyless ignition system that uses a remote controller type of device. 

How does it work? Check out below.

How Do Push-to-Start Systems Work?

Car remote control by smart key. 

Car remote control by smart key. 

Typically, the main part is the key fob which primarily must be within the car’s vicinity for the engine to start. So what happens when you click the key fob? 

It sends a low-frequency signal to the car’s ignition system as a transmitter

The ID signal of one car is different from that of another. Hence, the car’s receiver deciphers the signal and takes up the action of starting the car. 

Nonetheless, the basic safety tip is to press the car’s brake pedal for the push button to start working. 

It is to protect you from rapid starts, which could cause accidents. 

When stopping the car’s engine with the push button, the prerequisite is that the vehicle must be in park mode

The uniqueness of a car’s ID signal from the keyless fob is critical in preventing car theft. 

The reason is that a car will only start under two primary conditions: 

  • First, you must be within the interior of the vehicle. 
  • You must use the car’s unique fob, as none other will send the right signal. 

How to Push-Button Start a Car

A car key fob. 

A car key fob. 

First, the main condition for opening the car’s door is that your fob must be on and you must be near the car. 

  • Hence, to enter the car, press the door button handle once to open the driver’s door. When you press it twice, it’ll unlock all the car doors, enabling other passengers to board. 
  • Next, enter the car and press the brake pedal. Simultaneously, press the engine start button, and the car will immediately start. 
  • Start driving, and when you arrive at your destination, press the brakes gently to stop the car. Now put the car on park mode, then press the button to stop the engine. 

When you buy a car, you often receive a physical key for a manual car start.

 Hence, you can alternatively use this when you don’t have the fob or if the modern push system malfunctions. 

Pros and Cons of Push-Button Start in Cars

A car fob with house keys. 

A car fob with house keys. 

Keyless-start cars are now everywhere, thanks to this system’s numerous upsides. But they also have a fair share of downsides that we’ll look at in detail below. 

Push-button start advantages

  • You don’t have to remove your keyless fob from the pocket to start or stop the car. Thanks to its great sensors, you can even use the smart key while it’s still in the purse to unlock or lock your car. 
  • If the push button fails, you can always rely on the mechanical backup key system. Thus, with it, you have one more option up your sleeve. 
  • Whenever you want to warm your car while it’s still locked or parked, this system facilitates a remote start. 
  • Also, the technology is imperative in helping you prevent a possible key lock up inside the car. It can detect whenever the key fob is within the premises and give an alarm signal to alert you. 
  • Again, you are safe from car rapid start with this system as, ideally, you must apply the brakes before the engine starts. Hence, the key fob method is handy in preventing accidents. 

Push button Start Disadvantages.

  • Most modern cars with keyless entry start have near-quiet engines. While it prevents sound pollution, this issue means you can forget to switch off your car. It is impossible with mechanical keys, as you’ll always see it on the ignition port. 
  • Replacing your fob once you lose it means you’ll have to use quite a lot of money because of the complexity of its technology. Replacing the traditional metal key is way cheaper. 
  • The key fob battery can sometimes run out. It will pose a problem to drivers who don’t know the alternative start methods. 
  • Due to frequent use, the buttons will likely snap out or fail to work altogether. 
  • Also, accidents are still possible with this system when one doesn’t put the gear on parking mode. It means the car is still in drive gear, and thus, it’ll move when you apply the accelerator pedal. It puts you in a dangerous situation. 
  • Hackers can easily decode the push button start key fobs signal with artificial intelligence systems. If this happens, the hacker can easily start your car and steal it. 

Comparing Key Start To Push Button Start Button

A Car Key fob. 

A Car Key fob. 

When choosing between a push button starter and the mechanical key system, there are several considerations you should make. 

Antitheft Property

Push button starter systems come with sophisticated anti-theft safety features.

 It makes the autos harder to steal than keyed systems types. 

The former comes with an immobilizer that prevents starts by any key other than the original fob. 

Contrastingly, key ignition cars lack such properties and can start via hotwiring, which makes them theft prone. 


Installing the push button ignition system is also straightforward compared to the keyed ignition. 

Primarily this is because the push button method requires no significant alterations to the car’s electrical system. 

The keyed ignition is complex because you must find a way to connect the key infrastructure to the electrical system. 


The push start system is way cheaper than the keyed ignition. Due to its ease of installation, the former will cost you approximately $100. 

But for a keyed system, you will have to pay more than this as it requires expert installation. 

Ease of Use

Of the two, the key ignition is the more complex method as it conventionally requires you to control the car from the inside.

 No way you can start/stop the car while the key is in your purse or pocket. 

Also, the push button start guarantees convenience. 


When gauging which of the two techniques is more reliable, we base it primarily on which has the least moving parts.

 Hence, the push button start wins the reliability contest as it’s a purely electrical setup with few to no moving parts. 

Why Do Some New Cars Still Have Physical Keys Instead of Keyless Push Button Starts?

Car Keys

Car Keys

It’s all about the costs. For instance, it would take at least $75 to replace a car’s system from keyed ignition to a push-button start system.

 While this figure is seemingly low, it’s very significant considering the volumes that car manufacturers deal with daily. 

Is a Push-to-Start Car Right for Me?

The driver's hand is pressing the car start button.

The driver’s hand is pressing the car start button.

It all depends on your preferences and the kind of experience you’re looking to get from your car start.

 But it brings you convenience and ease of use that you wouldn’t encounter with the conventional keyed system. 

Nonetheless, a push-to-start car features its fair share of downsides, so it’s all about finding the balance. 

If you choose it, be ready for the disadvantages we highlighted above. 


Car ignition is a significant part of your auto as it’s a key determinant of your user experience with any vehicle. 

Some people prefer to go the old-school way of switching on their car with the car.

 Conversely, most people opt for the push button system, the modern auto industry option. 

Either of the two is okay, but the push button has more upsides than its conventional counterpart. 

We’ll leave it to you to choose which suits you best. 

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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