Problems With Keyless Cars (4 Most Common Issues)

There are several meanings for the term “keyless cars”. However, all meanings navigate toward keyless entry and keyless ignition systems.

These systems often use an electronic key fob with a chip that sends a signal to the car and some affordable cars have keyless entry today.

Let’s discuss some common problems you might encounter with keyless cars.

1. Drivers Can Easily Forget To Turn Off Their Cars

This may seem a little far-fetched, but it is very possible. Drivers can forget to turn off the ignition and this causes the engine to run for a long period.

It is even more likely today because cars (especially electric cars) now run more silently.

By now, you’re probably thinking of the terrible consequences of leaving your car running. The obvious consequence is depleted fuel. Also, if the fuel gets burned up, it might damage your fuel pump and spark plugs.

With electric cars, the battery (not fuel) pays for the driver’s mistake.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is another deadly possibility that comes with forgetting to turn off your car. Like depleted fuel, it affects both gasoline and diesel-powered cars.

Over the years, many reports of carbon monoxide-related deaths from automobiles in the United States have been reported.

This occurs when the car is left running in an enclosed space like a garage. So it’ll probably not happen if you park your car out on the street or in front of your house.

According to Edmunds, “since 2006, over two dozen people have died from carbon monoxide poisoning.” This occurred “after leaving a car running in an enclosed garage that was attached to a house. And many others have suffered illness and injury.”

From this information, we know that you have to be extra cautious if you use an enclosed garage.

2. Drivers Can Also Forget To Set Their Cars to ‘Park’

We can liken this problem to the first. That’s because it has something to do with forgetfulness. The reason they’re so common is that drivers are already used to keys.

So for experienced drivers, driving with keys is pretty much muscle memory by now. Hence, they need little thought to do it. Keyless cars, on the other hand, introduce a new process to driving.

Still, people (especially youngsters) who aren’t already used to car keys wouldn’t have a problem adapting to keyless cars.

As you’ve probably guessed, forgetting to set your tranny to ‘Park’ can cause accidents and serious injuries to occupants. First, the car might roll away and collide with another car or a wall. If that doesn’t happen, then the car would suddenly jerk forward the next time you start it.

Both of the above scenarios are quite dangerous and undesired events. With ‘keyed’ cars you can’t pull your keys out if your vehicle isn’t in Park. This is the needed reminder that keyless cars lack.

Though some automakers have built-in warnings, they have not always proved effective. More recently, some cars now automatically set their trannies to Park once a door opens. Other models sound an alarm if you exit the car with the key fob while the engine is running.

We can only hope automakers add such safety features in all keyless cars soon.

3. Keyless Cars Are More Susceptible To Hacking and Theft

Keyless cars are undeniably convenient to use, but one of their downsides is that they are susceptible to hacking. This has always been anticipated with the way cars now have more electronic components than mechanical ones.

Of course, it doesn’t mean they’re less secure than regular cars with keys. It just means they’re less secure against hacking. Sure enough, car thieves exploit this opportunity to steal cars.

Let’s briefly discuss how this happens. Keyless entry allows the driver to unlock and start the car with the key fob still in their pocket. So the car unlocks and starts, using only a signal from the fob.

Keyless car theft occurs when that signal is intercepted by someone else and used to open the car. Ultimately, they can also start the vehicle and drive off with it. This means thieves can break into keyless cars and drive them away without having to hot-wire them.

The sad news is that the car’s immobilizer wouldn’t prevent the action because thieves have the signal vouching for them.

There have been several cases of keyless cars being hacked in the past few years. Thankfully, it’s the automobile industry we’re talking about, where there’s ever-improving technology because of the immense competition. So, we expect automakers to come up with more secure technology fast.

For now, some cars allow owners to block their fob signal temporarily to prevent any hacking. However, it isn’t a great solution because you’d have to unblock it whenever you want to use the keyless feature.

4. Keyless Ignition Wouldn’t Work If the Power Supply Is Affected

Regular transponder chip keys used radio frequencies so their operations weren’t completely mechanical.

However, key fobs use an electronic chip and this again complicates the situation a little. Due to the electronic chip, fobs need a battery to work.

One problem with keyless cars is, keyless ignition will not work if the electricity supply is affected. Hence, the operation depends on both the fob battery and the power supplied to the car’s doors.

Thankfully, with modern cars, there’s a bit of a workaround for these problems. However, they may not be appealing. Many modern vehicles allow car owners to use their phones to unlock or start their vehicles via a mobile app.

Of course, there should be ways to solve such a problem other than using an app.

Besides the mobile app, car owners can use the emergency key inside their fobs to unlock their cars. Still, using this method, we’re left without a way of starting the car, so let’s deal with that.

If you’re able to unlock your car with the emergency key, you may be able to start the car.

All you have to do is place the key fob close to the ignition button. This shortens the distance the signal has to travel. That way, the car can use its power instead of relying on the fob’s battery.

These are great ways to get past any supply problem temporarily.

Related: 8 Cars Without Push-Button Start Function (With Pictures)

General Pros and Cons of Keyless Cars

Keyless cars are undoubtedly more convenient to use. However, it’s best to note their pros and cons.

Although they’ve practically taken over the automobile industry, knowing their flaws and strengths helps us to be careful.


  • Automatic locking
  • They’re more convenient
  • They’re also more stylish
  • Your keys can’t get locked in the car


  • Drivers can forget to turn off their cars
  • Drivers can forget to set their cars to “Park”
  • Keyless cars are more susceptible to hacking and theft
  • Keyless ignition wouldn’t work if the power supply is affected

Related: 8 Cars Without Auto-Locking Feature (With Pictures)

What Do the Reviews Say?

According to Edmunds, “In 2008, keyless ignition was standard on 11 percent of the vehicles sold in the U.S. By 2018, it was standard equipment on 62 percent of vehicles sold.”

This information means that in the span of 10 years, an enormous percentage of the population has embraced keyless cars. This is because automakers mostly make decisions based on consumer preference and demand.

It is also clear that a higher percentage of car buyers would opt for keyless cars today.

While there are still negative reactions from the public, including skepticism regarding safety, most people love the convenience they bring.

Related: 7 Answer To Know About Keyless Cars (Before You Get One!)

Final Thoughts

Thankfully, keyless entry and ignition are not restricted to premium cars today. That is to say, you don’t have to purchase the most expensive cars to enjoy keyless ignition.

Hence, you can get it in a breathtaking Lexus LS or even a budget-friendly Toyota Corolla.

All you need to do is ensure you read your car manual. This tip may sound too obvious and unnecessary. However, you’d be surprised at the number of terrible scenarios that could’ve been avoided if more people read their manuals.


What You Need to Know About Keyless Ignition Systems | Edmunds

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