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I have driven a Skoda Fabia which has turn-key ignition system. When I start the car, there is a whole lot of vibration in the car.

When I was in the initial stages of learning car driving, the car would stop in the mid of the busy road, as I was not used to changing gears swiftly. I had struggled to start the car by turning the key multiple times. Also, I have not driven any other car.

I would like to ask these questions based on my driving experience,

  1. Does start-stop ignition improve engine's life and performance ?

  2. Does it make the car ride, a smoother experience for the driver ?

  3. What could be the advantages of start-stop button over turn-key ignition ?

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  1. In no way would a button improve the performance or life-time. Maybe you could possibly argue that it could save the starter engine from running to long (which shouldn't be a problem for most people), but to the engine itself it does no difference.

  2. The ride of the car is of course in no way affected. A smoother experience? Maybe, that's a question of preference I guess. For example if you have a "keyless go" (or whatever it's called at the individual brands) (you can have the key in your pocket) you could argue that it would be a smoother experience.

  3. Yesteryears (and nowadays on some simpler car models) the key was directly coupled to the ignition and starter engine (via relays etc). So when you turned your key you knew (more or less) what was happening. But (I think) most modern cars have a lot of computers controlling stuff, so for example when you turn to crank your engine, the key (or starter button) will send a command to a computer that in turn will do a bunch of stuff (and one of the things is to turn on the starter engine). On many cars this computer will nowadays run the starter engine for as long time as it takes (or a fail timeout), so you don't have to press the button (or turn the key) until the engine starts, but instead the computer determines when the engine is running.

The message I want to convey is that key or button doesn't matter, it's just a question of style, and convenience.

Oh, and the button comes more or less from motorsports where a key isn't as important. It's both quicker to push, and easier to install a simple button.

  • I believe that home consumer cars had button starters long before the ignition key was added. – HandyHowie Mar 3 '16 at 12:40
  • The button doesn't come from motorsport. Up until about 1970 almost all cars were started with a button. The key simply turned on the ignition. – Chenmunka Mar 3 '16 at 13:07
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    @Chenmunka Are you sure about that date? I could swear every 50's and 60's car I have seen had keys, not a button. My fathers 1959 English Ford had keys, and the parents of my childhood friends, all of their cars has keys, and trust me, those are from before 1970. I could be crazy here, but that's my recollection. And it would not be the first time my memory was called into question lol – cdunn Mar 3 '16 at 15:12
  • One thing is for sure, military vehicles have not had keys ever, as far as I know. Could you imagine the nightmare having keys for every vehicle would create for a military motor pool. – cdunn Mar 3 '16 at 15:18
  • @cdunn: The date is approximate. There were certainly cars with key-turn starters before then but button starts only became ubiquitous when the key switch was moved to the steering column and linked to a steering lock. My father's 1973 car still had a button starter. – Chenmunka Mar 3 '16 at 15:18
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The main reason I see for the start/stop button is cars with RFID key fobs. You do not need to put the key in the ignition, you simply need it inside the vehicle. Since there isn't a slot to put the key into, it makes more sense to use a button than a standard rotating ignition switch.

This will not effect the performance, or longevity of the engine. It may effect the life of the starter, as the computer will know exactly when to disengage, and not to run it too long.

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