Converting a Car to Push Button Start: All You Need to Know

Having a car that operates with a push-to-start system is convenient and modern. You might think because your car came with a key and ignition start that this is not an option for you, but it is possible to convert to this newer system.

Whether you plan on switching it over yourself or going to a mechanic to get the job done, understanding how the system works and how it can benefit you is both helpful and important.

Benefits of Converting to Push Button Start

You likely already have a list of benefits in mind, which is why you are interested in converting your car. The list below covers several benefits that you will experience when you can do away with the standard key/ignition startup system.

Protection Against Car Theft

With the way this system works, the car will only start when the button is pushed and the key fob is present at the same time. This means that, even when left unlocked, nobody can easily start your car if they do not also have the key fob. Although this will not completely deter burglars from getting inside your car, it will lessen the chance of your car getting stolen.

Lower Likelihood of Locking Keys Inside of Car

Locking your keys in your car is one of the biggest inconveniences. With traditional key/ignition systems, it is easy to make this mistake. Having a push-button start system can often alert you when you leave the key fob inside of the car. It might even prevent the doors from locking so you will never accidentally lock your keys inside.

Ability to Start Car With Dead Key Fob

Key fobs are great because they replace a traditional key with a more modern option, but even these devices stop working because they are battery-operated. Even if your key fob dies, it is still possible to start your car. This means you can go to a store to have your fob battery replaced instead of being stranded.

Option to Start Car Manually

Most people do not know this, but many key fobs actually include a standard key inside that you can pull out. This gives you the option to start your car manually in case there is some sort of key fob malfunction.

With these benefits in mind, it is clear to see why you want to convert your car over to a push-button start. If it is compatible, you can turn an older car into one that feels newer and upgraded. It is like giving your car a minor restoration without breaking the bank.

Is Your Car Compatibile With the Push-to-Start System?

Before proceeding with this conversion, it is important to make sure your car is compatible with this system. Most cars are, but there are some that are not. The easiest way to do this is to take it into a shop for a professional opinion.

Even if you plan on doing the installation yourself, it is still a good idea to make sure you can do what you are setting out to do without ruining your car in the process. Essentially, you need to replace the hot wires with a switch. It sounds like a simple task, but it does involve several steps that you must follow carefully.

Push-Start Button Kits

To make the switch, you need to purchase a push-start button kit. There are many of them out there, some are even located on Amazon for convenience. There are many factors to take into consideration when selecting the kit you want to use.

The operating range refers to the distance between the key fob and its ability to start your vehicle. Although most push-button start systems simply require your key fob to be inside of the car, there are options out there that will allow for a further range. This will allow you to actually start your car from inside your home.

Since the new system operates digitally, there might be an option to download a compatible app that also allows you to start and control your car. Many people enjoy this feature because it not only allows you to start the car but also to lock/unlock it right from the app.

If you want your significant other or family member to have a key fob of their own, you should keep in mind that most kits only come with one. It usually does cost extra for another key fob or even multiples, so think about this before you make the conversion. The best option is usually to just pass the key fob between drivers if there is more than one person operating the same car.

How to Install a Push-Start Kit

It is important to follow the directions that come with your kit closely, but it is also a good idea to know what to expect before you complete the process.

  1. Disconnect your battery. This will keep you safe and prevent any accidental fires from starting while you are working on it.
  2. Decide on the placement of your push-button. The good thing about making this conversion is that you get to decide where to put it. This choice is entirely personal and should be convenient for you to easily start the car.
  3. Remove the nut from the positive side of your starter. Make sure you put it in a safe place so you do not lose it. You will need to replace it later.
  4. With a crimping tool, remove about one-fourth of the wire used to start your vehicle and put on an eyelet connector that fits your positive stud. You will then crimp the connector onto the wire, slide the eyelet over the stud, and reattach the nut.
  5. This step gets complex because you need to carefully run the wire through the passenger side of the car while simultaneously ensuring it will not touch your engine or any sharp edges. After this wiring has been run through the passenger compartment and it can reach the switch, make sure you have an additional three or four inches of space before clipping the wire. You will then strip the insulation, install a crimp connector, and place it into the switch.
  6. You will then attach the push-button switch to the connector switch and then route this wire to the positive side of your car’s battery. Using the same precautions, make sure the wire is not going to touch any hot surfaces or sharp edges.
  7. After everything has been set up, you can reconnect your car’s battery and try out your new push-button start system.

These steps are not for a car novice, so if you feel you cannot complete the task, take your car into the shop. The wiring plays a crucial role in the new system, so any misplaced wiring can mean your car will not start. These steps give you an idea of what you can expect the process to be like.

Home Installation vs. Mechanic

There are pros and cons with each choice, but it is still important to consider both when converting your car to a push-button start system. Of course, one of the main benefits of installing the kit yourself is that you will save some money.

Many people like to budget when it comes to their cars because taking it to the shop can be very costly. If you know what you are doing and feel confident in your ability to make the conversion yourself, then doing a home installation can be a good option.

If you do not have much experience and you still try to do the installation at home, this might result in mistakes that will require you to bring your car into the shop anyway. Not only will you pay for the installation, but you might have to also pay for additional problems that arise because of mistakes.

When you take your car in to get this done by a professional, you do not need to worry about it being done correctly or safely. Mechanics will be sure to place the wiring correctly to prevent any interference and will probably be able to get it done more quickly.

It all comes down to personal preference, but you do have options that are helpful when making this decision. If you decide you want to take your car in but are not ready to pay for the service just yet, you can make it a goal to save up money to convert to a push-button system.

The Bottom Line

Push-button start systems are great for giving your car a more modern feel. There is a lot more control involved when you and only you can start your car by pushing the button. As long as you have the key fob on you, others will not be able to start it or hot wire it because it operates on a switch system.

Most cars are compatible, but it is still important to get a professional opinion before you go forward with the conversion. You can install the kit yourself or get it done at a shop, which is helpful if you do have some existing knowledge with cars and want to save money.

Overall, a push-button system is going to enhance your life for the better. The benefits are great, and you can turn a car that feels outdated into one that you are excited to drive again.

See also: What Happens if You Don’t Start Your Car for a Long Time

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