Advantages and Disadvantages of Push Button Start

Cars with the push button start offer drivers a convenient way to start their vehicles without using their keys. Basically, push-button start systems use a keyless ignition system. How it works may differ from car, but they all work similarly by just replacing the traditional key with a key fob.

However, while cars with this feature might seem alluring to acquire, they come with their pros and cons. Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of push button start. This may come in handy in determining if the push start button is the right choice for you or not.

what is the advantage of push button start

Advantages of push-button start

Here are some benefits that come with using cars with push-start buttons.

Hands-free operation

While the conventional key requires holding it and slotting it into the door keyhole to open your car, smart keys don’t need you to do this to get in your vehicle. Key fobs work with frequency sensors that get the car door and trunk ready for you to access.

All you need is to put the key fob in your pocket or bag and ensure you’re within a certain range of your vehicle. The push start button is especially useful when you have many things in your hand, or it’s raining.

Extra security layer

Vehicles with the push start buttons have lower chances of getting stolen thanks to their keyfob. Push start button vehicles use a key fob with a unique code that signals the vehicle computer to grant access to the doors, trunk, and other car accessories.

The ECU looks for this code and only allows you to drive or access any car electronics when it detects any. Without the key fob, you can’t unlock or start the car, making it almost impossible for thieves to steal your vehicle.

Auto lock feature

Sometimes, you may not be sure whether you locked the car. Instead of walking back to check, the start push system handles it. Most vehicles with the push start ignition system shut the door automatically after you walk a certain distance with the keyfob.

Extra benefits

People with traditional keys often forget their keys inside their cars and accidentally lock their vehicles. This turns out to be stressful and unpleasant for them. However, with the push-start button system, that can’t happen. Your computer will detect that you’ve left the key fob inside your car and won’t let you lock the doors unless your keys are outside.

push button start vs key toyota

Disadvantages of push-button start

While the feature has good benefits, it also comes with its disadvantages. Below are some push-button start cars problems.


While the key fob technology is convenient, it is also costly. Cars with the push start system are not only costly to purchase, but their key fobs are also expensive to replace when they go missing.

This is one reason many car manufacturers till date still produce cars using the conventional key. Invariably lowering its cost and making it affordable for customers. So yes, don’t think all cars have been modeled to use the push start ignition systems. You will still see many 2023 cars without push button start.

If, however, you buy a car with the push start ignition system, ensure you don’t lose your key fobs. Otherwise, you will hit your pocket really hard, replacing it compared to getting a physical key.

Problems shutting off the car

There are times when your car engine will fail to turn off even after pressing the push start button. This systematic bug often frustrates car owners using the push ignition system. And it keeps happening because the system is not sure whether the car is in park or not. Here, you may have to check if the gear lever is okay or if the cables are misaligned or broken.

In other cases, the engine not turning off may stem from owners who are not used to the system, forgetting how to turn off car with push-button start properly, or just being careless. For example, some drivers used to the stick shift often leave their gears in neutral when shutting their cars, apply the hand brake afterwards.

These same drivers apply the same principles in cars with push-start buttons. Eventually, they forget to shift to park mode before leaving their vehicles. Whereas a large number of users just forget to shut theirs.

The engine refuses to start.

Many times, engines refusing to start stem from not pressing the push start button long enough. So you may wonder how long to hold push start button. Many vehicles with a smarter push start system only require you to press and release it in seconds to start the vehicle.

However, in vehicles with less smart systems, you would have to hold the push button longer because it loses signal when you remove your hands. For example, in cars like Kia, you are required to push the start button 3 times or more to turn on the engine.

There are cases in which the car refuses to turn on even after pressing the button according to manufacturer instructions. It will look like the starter motor didn’t receive any signal to start the engine. In such cases, you’ll be alerted by an onscreen message saying, “No keys detected.” This is a common problem with this key, though it can be fixed.

Try replacing the key fob battery before starting the car again. If the key fob battery is weak, not charged, or damaged, it won’t send enough signal to the engine to grant you access.

Alternatively, you can start your car like cars with the conventional key. Eject the starter button cover and insert the keyfob into the ignition hole. But do push-to-start cars have keys? Yes! Many keyfobs attached to vehicles with the push start system have both remote and physical key.

Push start button cars can still be stolen.

Just like car manufacturers are upgrading to make cars more secure, car thieves are also upgrading and getting smarter. These hackers can read the code from your fob within a particular range. Then, infuse this code into another smart key to access your car. This is one reason most car experts say traditional keys are more safe and convenient.

However, you can avoid this by turning off the remote control when exiting the car. To turn off the smart lock system, hold the remote control tightly and press the lock button for about 2-5 seconds. Then, press the unlock button twice.

A red light should pop from the keyfob, letting you know that you have turned off the car remote signal temporarily. So long as the system is disabled, there won’t be any code or signal to read and steal. Turn it back on by pressing the unlock button when you need to use your car again.

Environment hazard

Many, in haste to get out of the car, often leave the key fobs inside the vehicle with their engines running. It’s only a matter of time before the whole place is engulfed with carbon from the vehicle’s silencer.

However, if you drive cars like Nissan, Honda, Ford, and Toyota, you may likely never experience this issue. This is because these cars have an alarm system that alerts owners that their engines are still running. Whereas vehicles like Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Volvo, or Chrysler without this alarm will have to deal with this issue.

push button start vs key

Which is better: push button start or key?

The Advantages and disadvantages of push button start highlighted above should enable car owners to decide whether or not they want a car with the push button start. However, when deciding which is better among the push button start and physical key, your choice and budget come into play.

Typically, both of them come with their pros and cons. The push button start is convenient and has many features, but it is expensive and has a high chance of malfunctioning. However, while the traditional keys last longer and are reliable, they quickly get lost or stolen.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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