Keyless Ignitions

Feb. 18, 2013
Automotive ignition security is moving in two directions pushbutton and high security

The future of the automotive ignition is moving in two different directions, pushbutton (keyless) and high security mechanical.

General Motors and Ford have been introducing models in the North American Market using high security mechanical ignition locks. These mechanical ignition locks are the sidewinder and Tibbe Locks. For Tibbe Locks, think Ford Mercur from the late 1980's. This is a turn-around from car manufacturers who removed the side bar from ignition locks.

Vehicles equipped with pushbutton ignitions are available from just about every manufacturer. In the near future, a number of car manufacturers are scheduled to convert more of their models to keyless operation. It's cheaper as fewer parts are required and installed. There are also fewer problems in regards to lost keys/remotes during manufacturing and delivery. And the profit margins are greater when customers need replacement remotes.

However, with just electronic ignition locks there are problems. The technique of signal capturing appears to be reemerging. In addition, aftermarket companies are introducing what appear to be quick methods of adding remotes that require only access to the passenger compartment and a compatible remote. No mechanical locks to defeat.

Pushbutton start BMW models appear to be getting media attention in regard to the relative ease in which a BMW contactless key can be programmed. Important: BMW is not the only car manufacturer to allow key code access through the OBD port.

Having a high security mechanical ignition lock may prove to be the better investment, as electronics alone may not provide a strong enough safeguard.

As always, I look forward to your comments, suggestions and recommendations.