Many of today’s cars feature keyless ignitions and push button start. While this may be pretty cool and more secure, it can present a whole new set of problems when the car or key FOB battery goes dead.
Here is a look at a few jump start car techniques to get the engine turning over when it, or the key FOB, is out of juice.
Jump boxes are essentially a small car battery with a set of jumper cables attached. By connecting it to your car’s battery, you can power the electronics in the car, as well as the starter, to get it going. Simply attach the jump box to your battery, then get into the car with your keyless FOB in your possession, press the start button and it should start right up.
If your car is manual shift, you can also hill start your car. Note that this method will only work if your battery is too low to start the engine but still has enough juice to power the electronics (like the fuel pump and the various onboard computers). With your car facing downhill, press the Start button once to turn the vehicle on and then release the brakes, which will allow it to roll slowly with the clutch pressed in. Put the car into second gear and then let the clutch out. With the car’s electronics turned on, the engine will start right up once the clutch engages.
Getting your car jump started isn’t very different from vehicle’s that don’t have push to start ignitions; however, what should you do if the battery in your FOB dies as well? Because the car’s electronics use the FOB to identify when the key is inside the car, it is needed to get it started. Car makers have thought of this to a point, as many have come up with methods for allowing the car to identify the FOB when the power goes out.
FOBs are powered by a button cell battery to do things like unlock the door and transmit a signal to your car when it’s inside. But they also have a small magnetic identifier that works to uniquely recognize the fob is in close proximity to the car. In most makes of vehicles, simply hold the FOB up to the push to start button and then press the button with your foot on the brake and the car will start. Some manufacturers have installed a receptacle for the FOB that is located somewhere else on the dashboard or in the glove box, so you’ll need to place the FOB in this designated area to get it to start. In either case, always refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual to see where your FOB goes.
If you find that your car or FOB battery has gone dead for your push to start car, don’t sweat it, we’ve got you covered.
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Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.