How to handle emergency with push-button ignition

  • Article by: PAUL BRAND
  • Updated: June 27, 2014 - 10:26 PM

Q: In your column you gave advice on what to do if someone experienced a stuck throttle. With a traditional key I understand the steps you mentioned. But our next vehicle may be equipped with a push-button ignition. How would we handle an emergency situation like a stuck accelerator or unintended acceleration? Also, one of the vehicles we are interested in has a push-button transmission, not a normal gear shifter. Does shifting to neutral still apply?

A: We currently have a vehicle with electronic rather than mechanical door locks and a fob-in-pocket push-button ignition on the dash. I don’t care for either of these. If the car battery goes dead, the doors cannot be unlocked from the outside. You must use an emergency key stored in the fob to unlock the rear hatch and pull a cable to mechanically unlock the front door. If you are inside the vehicle when the battery fails and the doors are locked — exceptionally rare, of course, but still a possibility — you must pull an emergency door release lever to open the door.

As modern and slick as this technology is, I can’t help but wonder what the true benefits are. A remote keyless entry system opens doors from the outside and a key-in-the-ignition switch started and stopped the engine. Mind you, these electronic systems aren’t necessarily bad but I don’t see any real advantage.

In reference to dealing with a stuck throttle or unintended acceleration, the push-button ignition switch does suggest a possible complication. In order to shut off the engine, one must depress and hold in the button for a short period of time — a demanding and difficult procedure when dealing with an emergency.

To deal with a stuck throttle/unintended acceleration with a system like this, shift the transmission into neutral, then steer and brake the car to a safe stop — as I suggested in my earlier column. Again, modern engine management systems will prevent the engine from over-revving in neutral in this situation.

Whether the shift mechanism is push-button, floor-mounted or on the steering column doesn’t matter. Immediately shift into neutral and then deal with the situation.

Q: I love my Dodge Intrepid but the headlights have never been adequate. I keep the lenses polished and clear but the lights are worse thsn the 6-volt bulbs in my 1951 Ford sealed-beam headlights. What can I do? I need better lights to drive at night.

A: Age and your eyes may be part of this, but regardless, you can upgrade the halogen bulbs in your composite headlamp assemblies. Probably your best choice would to install a xenon HID (high-intensity discharge) headlamp kit. HID headlamps are original equipment on many newer vehicles and offer a significant improvement in lighting. The installation isn’t quite as simple as replacing the standard bulb — it requires a ballast assembly and additional wiring harness. Prices are in the $100-$300 range for the kit.

Q: I have a 2007 Chevy 1500 V8 that can burn E85. I got the flex fuel option when E85 was about 65 cents per gallon less than gas. Now I am seeing a difference of about 25 cents, which means it doesn’t make sense to burn E85. Is there a formula for figuring the break-even point? If you use E85 on every fill, will that harm the engine or make it run rough?

A: There’s no perfect answer here. E85 prices vary state-to-state from about 10 to 25 percent less than gasoline, thus the economics vary tremendously. The EPA combined mileage estimates for a 2014 Chevy 5.3-liter K1500 4WD are 18 mpg on gasoline and 13 mpg on E85 — a difference of more than 25 percent. Compare this with the percentage difference in cost between fuels and you’ll have your answer for that fill-up. While there is no benefit to engine reliability or durability, E85 won’t harm your engine.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close