Keyless Automobile Ignition Systems Are Fatally Flawed, Critics Say

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2016 12:45 AM GMT
    The problem is you can walk away from your keyless car and think you've turned it off. Maybe you forgot to press the dashboard button, or didn't press it firmly enough.

    That happened to a friend a ours. He's got a V-8 Lexus LS-something, and it's virtually silent at idle, and without vibration. He left it for several hours, and came back to find it still running.

    I think there's a need for some changes in how these keyless ignitions work, per this article.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/business/autos/keyless-automobile-ignition-systems-are-fatally-flawed-critics-say-n490111
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2016 1:36 AM GMT
    Well, I drove a friends Prius to the airport for him, and without having read the manual, I couldn't figure out if it was on or off icon_confused.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2016 2:37 AM GMT
    mindgarden saidWell, I drove a friends Prius to the airport for him, and without having read the manual, I couldn't figure out if it was on or off icon_confused.gif

    I had the same problem with our friend's Lexus LS I drove for him. I looked at the tachometer and figured the engine must be turning over. Because I couldn't hear or feel it. One time he left the thing running for hours. I don't think that's a good system.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2016 3:08 AM GMT
    Some of those newer cars don't idle. They actually shut off the engine when you stop at a red light or something.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2016 5:27 AM GMT
    A friend of mine did that; she went into the gym and came out and her car was still running. I started to do it once but realized in time before I got out of the car.

    This is yet another one of those things that they could provide an override for. Have the default / automatic condition be that the car locks itself and turns itself off when you get out of range; it knows when you're in range to allow you to open the car when it's locked. I just touch the door handle and it beeps and unlocks. Mine also makes a large repeating warning beep if I walk away while it's running; when it's running in the driveway I've walked away to go back into the garage for something.

    It really irritates me that the car doesn't automatically lock itself when I walk away. It seems like a trivial thing to implement and it would be easy to provide an override for it.

    Mine turns off the headlights after I get out when I've turned off the engine. This also used to irritate me, that cars didn't turn off the headlights automatically. (And mine turns on the headlights automatically when it starts getting dark; I never have to worry about whether my headlights are on.)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2016 5:57 AM GMT
    Some of these default settings can be changed, if you read the manual.

    I had a really unfortunate experience with a rental car that automatically locked the door, when we got out and left it running, on purpose, to illuminate a work site.

    Anyhow, there was a list of settings that could be changed on my parent's Pontiac. A typical sequence was something like, "Turn the ignition on and off three times. Step on the brake twice. Open the drivers door. Get out and open and close the trunk three times. Close the drivers door. Pump the gas pedal three times. Press your right elbow to your left ear, and while holding this position, turn the key on and off one more time. icon_eek.gif

    The Beemer has similar codes for some things. Some hacker bois have been working on an open-source code to unlock and control the onboard computer a little more rationally, in their spare time. I think some soldering and eprom burning may be required. icon_confused.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2016 6:55 AM GMT


    There was some getting used to when I went from my Mustang old style key ignition to a keyless, key fob in my Hyundai import. You kind of have to 'retrain your brain' and realize that all you have to do now is have your key fob with you, in your pocket, when you get close to the car and finally enter it, there is no need to remove it from your pocket until you exit the vehicle for, work, shopping or the evening and lock the doors.

    Until I read about this so called 'danger', I never gave this issue a second thought. Not to sound mean or anything, but the people complaining about keyless, push button ignitions are old or older drivers who are accustomed to putting a key in the ignition for most of there adult driving lives.

    I compare this to, older drivers tendencies to use the driving excuse "I meant to use the brake", when they 'accidentally' crash into a building or a group of pedestrians by pushing on the accelerator instead. You cant sue the manufacture for not creating a fool proof, accelerator or brake system. Some manufactures, like Volvo, are experimenting with front 'crash sensors' that will stop the vehicle if it senses the driver is not going to depress the brake in time before rear ending the vehicle in front.

    I think the keyless ignition system is not "fool proof" enough for older drivers because they're not used to it. I don't hear younger, or experienced drivers complaining about the key fob. I love the convenience. I have already had to replace the battery in one of my fobs. The fob also comes with a manual key in case the fob battery dies while your car is locked. Then you use the cars 'fob jack' to start the car.

    I am not sure what kind of 'safety features' could be added for people who "forget" to push the ignition button off. If you walk away from the car with your key fob, and your car is still running, your car will sound an alarm. The problem might be that you leave your car running, lock your doors, while you leave your key fob locked in the car. Now you have locked yourself out of your, parked running vehicle which nobody could steal anyway icon_confused.gif



  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2016 10:28 AM GMT
    First world issues; imagine locking your keys and the dog in a running car:

    dog-car-heat-612pb.jpg

    506b1301d9127e3104001674._w.640_h.427_s.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2016 5:07 PM GMT
    This must only affect or applicable to cars with silent engines. I've had a keyless car for 10 years (Altima) and not once have I forgotten about it running.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 07, 2016 2:14 AM GMT
    Prius - left it on when I went to an interview for an hour

    Prius - left it on from about 9am - 10:45pm and had to get it jumped, then bought its $300 battery from the dealership
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 07, 2016 2:27 AM GMT
    i remember years ago i had to move my boss's MB 500SL. He gave me the pass card (Few cars had keyless start in the 90ies) …. to say the least, who i was moving his car for, gave up waiting.. I couldn't figure out how to start it… hahaha. icon_eek.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 07, 2016 3:07 AM GMT
    Erik101 saidThis must only affect or applicable to cars with silent engines. I've had a keyless car for 10 years (Altima) and not once have I forgotten about it running.

    Well, as I said, the Lexus LS is very nearly silent. And our friend who left his LS running for hours wears hearing aids. I've worn them, too, for 20 years now. But I hate them and can usually manage without them. Except I simply cannot hear his Lexus running, nor can I feel it.

    So I can understand how these problems are happening with some cars, and some drivers. Maybe the very newest Lexus has resolved the issue, but I've witnessed it myself.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 07, 2016 4:45 AM GMT
    The only thing flawed about technology in general is the idea that it's "smart." Once people start waking up to the fact that humans create technology, they'll realize it's not smart...it just stores a lot of information, just like humans (who are way smarter) designed it to do.

    Once that philosophical hurdle has been jumped, the learning curve for the user end of new technology becomes hella easy.

    Oh and BTW, my dumbphone is hella fast on the internet and takes fucking awesome pics and video (iPhone 6s). icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 07, 2016 5:05 AM GMT
    How dimwitted can people be? This is an obvious PR agency paid placement "fake news" story. Their goal is to get enough mooches to complain, then the law firm can file a class action lawsuit, and collect millions from deep pocketed auto makers.

    I've driven several keyless ignition cars and never had a problem. I can maybe understand a hybrid, since the gas engine might not be running. But there are several clear signs of a running gasoline car...keyless starter button is illuminated green, tach above zero and and illuminated dash lights all indicate the engine running.

    If you miss these, you probably fail to notice other important things, like stop signs and pedestrians. Maybe it's time to give up your DL before you hurt somebody.
  • Wendigo9

    Posts: 426

    Jan 07, 2016 6:23 AM GMT
    Keyless ignition = go ahead, steal/rob me!

    That's just one of the dumbest features of today's cars #fail
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 07, 2016 6:28 AM GMT
    Wendigo9 saidKeyless ignition = go ahead, steal/rob me!

    That's just one of the dumbest features of today's cars #fail

    Yeah, right.   icon_rolleyes.gif

    The car won't start unless the wireless gizmo that's on your key ring (in your pocket) is within something like 3 feet of the button you press to start the car. Inside this wireless gizmo (key fob) is a backup mechanical key you can use in the door to unlock it when the battery in the fob goes dead. And in that situation it still transmits something weakly because you can then hold it against the start button to start the car.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 07, 2016 6:37 AM GMT
    Speaking of clueless, my friend was telling me that she'd seen or read a news story recently where some old guy died in his car because the car battery went dead on him and he couldn't unlock it. He was trying to unlock it with the convenience switch that electrically locks and unlocks all of the doors and that was the only way he knew how to lock and unlock it. In my current car and my old truck that switch activates a little motor in the doors that manually operates the locks (you can see and hear them move when you use the switch). So this guy had no clue that the manual locks were still there.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 07, 2016 6:44 AM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal saidInside this wireless gizmo (key fob) is a backup mechanical key you can use in the door to unlock it when the battery in the fob goes dead.

    The reason for this is that the door lock also senses proximity of the key fob. When you're near the car and touch the door handle the car beeps and unlocks the door. And there's a button in the door handle that you can press to lock the doors if you forgot to use the switch inside the car. And of course there are the usual buttons on the fob for locking and unlocking the doors and opening the trunk.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 07, 2016 7:09 AM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal saidSpeaking of clueless, my friend was telling me that she'd seen or read a news story recently where some old guy died in his car because the car battery went dead on him and he couldn't unlock it. He was trying to unlock it with the convenience switch that electrically locks and unlocks all of the doors and that was the only way he knew how to lock and unlock it. In my current car and my old truck that switch activates a little motor in the doors that manually operates the locks (you can see and hear them move when you use the switch). So this guy had no clue that the manual locks were still there.




    I think that was the guy in the Corvette, story. That vette did not have door handles. This was not because of a keyless fob. Interesting though, most cars and trucks do not have this manual door opener like this corvette model, but then again, most cars and trucks have inside door handles. This was tragic
    http://www.insideedition.com/headlines/12832-after-car-fanatic-dies-in-corvette-how-to-escape-a-locked-vehicle


    Even more tragic is that there was a simple way out. When you're stuck in a Corvette made after 2004 and you lose battery power, there's a manual release and you just pull up on it.

    James Rogers could have instantly opened the door with the pull of a lever if he only knew it was there.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 07, 2016 7:16 AM GMT
    Actually, on the aging E36 series BMW (such as my car) there is a function to "super lock" the doors, which disables the manual locks. (IDK why... Lock your kids inside? Trap an abductee?

    And there is a not all that rare malfunction that super locks the doors and ignores the key fob, with you inside. (Frayed wiring, apparently). The only way to get out is to pull down the back seat, get the emergency crank out of the tool kit in the trunk lid (you saved that, didn't you?) and manually crank open the sunroof.

    Among the horror stories over on the Bimmer site is one guy who's car locked him in while at a border checkpoint. Ended up with guns pointed at him! Some people have had to break windows.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 07, 2016 7:32 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    Erik101 saidThis must only affect or applicable to cars with silent engines. I've had a keyless car for 10 years (Altima) and not once have I forgotten about it running.

    Well, as I said, the Lexus LS is very nearly silent. And our friend who left his LS running for hours wears hearing aids. I've worn them, too, for 20 years now. But I hate them and can usually manage without them. Except I simply cannot hear his Lexus running, nor can I feel it.

    So I can understand how these problems are happening with some cars, and some drivers. Maybe the very newest Lexus has resolved the issue, but I've witnessed it myself.


    The part I don't understand is how could anyone leave it running regardless on whether the car is silent, not using hearing aids, etc. For me, it's a force of habit to turn off the engine every single time I get out of the car. I rented a Prius in Orlando and I turned it off every time I parked it. Even though the engine was silent, I always looked to see if the dashboard lights are off.

    Seriously….I just don't get it!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 07, 2016 1:18 PM GMT
    Erik101 said
    The part I don't understand is how could anyone leave it running regardless on whether the car is silent, not using hearing aids, etc. For me, it's a force of habit to turn off the engine every single time I get out of the car. I rented a Prius in Orlando and I turned it off every time I parked it. Even though the engine was silent, I always looked to see if the dashboard lights are off.

    Seriously….I just don't get it!

    Read the link in my OP at the beginning. It's apparently a widespread issue. And may result in government-mandated changes. Some manufacturers are already taking the initiative to correct the problem. They wouldn't do that if it wasn't real & significant.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 07, 2016 9:19 PM GMT
    mindgarden saidActually, on the aging E36 series BMW (such as my car) there is a function to "super lock" the doors, which disables the manual locks. (IDK why... Lock your kids inside? Trap an abductee?

    That does sound sketchy. As for why, the only reason I can think of is that maybe it makes the car harder to break into.

    With my last car, a GMC pickup, the CA Department of Motor Vehicles sent me the wrong license plates. I never noticed when I renewed the registration because who looks at the license number on that piece of paper? Not me anyways. I didn't find out until I had to finally take it in for a smog inspection. The smog inspection guy had a terminal that's hooked up to the DMV's computer and he input my license plate number and it came back that it was some little compact and he told me, "Hey, you've got the wrong license plates!" and I was like, "Huh? Whatever. Use the VIN." and didn't do anything. Months later I was parked at the train station and coming back from work I walked up to my truck and on the driver's seat was a little card and the two license plate frames. The card informed me that the police had noticed that my plates were wrong and confiscated them. The next day he drove to my house and explained the situation and I told him my side. I then drove to the DMV and picked up new plates.

    But there were no scratches or anything on the windows or door so they were able to easily jimmy the locks.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 08, 2016 1:11 AM GMT
    Art_Deco saidThe problem is you can walk away from your keyless car and think you've turned it off. Maybe you forgot to press the dashboard button, or didn't press it firmly enough.

    If you do that in your garage and the garage is attached to the house, you'll be dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in short order. Happened in the D.C. suburbs about 10 years ago. The garage was underneath a split level. The whole family died, kids and all.

    That's the problem I have with those remote start features--remember the commercial where the wife is at the airport and she uses her remote to start the husband's car at the house? Anybody who has access to the spare key fob can bump you off just by starting the car in your garage while you're in the house.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 08, 2016 1:52 AM GMT
    JDuderrr said
    That's the problem I have with those remote start features--remember the commercial where the wife is at the airport and she uses her remote to start the husband's car at the house? Anybody who has access to the spare key fob can bump you off just by starting the car in your garage while you're in the house.

    Wireless remote starts have been popular for years in northern US climates. The idea is you start your car and let it run for a half hour to warm up, so you've got heat when you get in.

    I have multiple problems with that. I know the contamination it causes the engine oil. And of course the carbon monoxide poisoning issue if the car isn't properly ventilated.

    Then some people get delayed or distracted indoors, and the car overheats or has some other unobserved mechanical problem. I never had one installed in my cars in North Dakota, where they were common.

    I had an electric engine block heater, that was plugged in at home or at other places that offered that courtesy. My car heater worked as soon as I started the car.