General Question

El_Cadejo's avatar

Ignition key lock?

Asked by El_Cadejo (34472points) October 4th, 2008

I’ve owned 3 manual vehicles now and been in many others. Every single one of them has a little button you have to push down to be able to take the key out of the ignition. WHY!!?!?! Why is this on manual vehicles but not automatic ones? Whats the point of this stupid button for that matter?

i always tape mine down to i dont have to worry about it.

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38 Answers

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I don’t know, uber! My friend has an ‘89 corolla that has the opposite ‘feature’. well, we haven’t decided if it’s a feature or a defect, but you can pull the key straight out of the ignition without turning, and the car will stay on. it comes in pretty handy.
good question!

El_Cadejo's avatar

My jeep used to have that nifty feature, it was great when i left something in the house and needed my key, didnt have to turn it off.

Most vehicles ive been in atleast put this stupid button somewhere near the key so you could just hit it as you were taking the key out, but my mustang has it on the bottom of the steering column which is just fucktarded so i need two hands to get my key out of my car.

Bri_L's avatar

How old were the vehicles?

I wonder if there was ever any concern about the keys coming out while the car was being driven.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

EDIT: i misread something. nevermind. lol.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Bri L Age is irrelevant as ive driven both old and new cars that have this, but like i said its only in manual vehicles, if it was some sort of safety concern itd be in auto as well.

Bri_L's avatar

True True.

Cardinal's avatar

Have patience Uber when the car is old enough you can take the key out running or not in any position. For example my Mustang 350 GT. It is a goofy feature!

hearkat's avatar

I’ve never had that button on my manual trans. VWs or my Mini Cooper. I remember that in the 80s and early 90s I drove Automatic Japanese cars (belonging to friends or rentals) that had those annoying buttons.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Really?? hmmm so i guess its not all manuals, ive definitely driven in some newer manual cars that had these though. Never saw an auto one before….hmmmm i really hope someone can give an answer to this question its killing me to find out why those damn buttons exist.

arnbev959's avatar

My dad’s 1990 Nissan Stanza manual has a button, but my mom’s 2009 Scion manual does not. Still no explanation as to what the button’s purpose is.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Poor uber! 10 “responses” (now 11) but no answers!

La_chica_gomela's avatar

slight problem. and PLEASE don’t hesitate to tell me if I’m misreading this, buuuuut…

what about under, “BACKGROUND, SUMMARY AND OBJECTS OF INVENTION” about halfway through the 3rd line, where it says,
“they are only suitable for passenger cars having automatic transmissions”

El_Cadejo's avatar

@La chica gomela that is talking about the locking system that auto cars have where you have to put the vehicle in park to be able to take the key out of the ignition. Since manual transmissions have no park thats moot. I still dont really see the “safety” purpose of this lock. It makes sense in the auto transmission but not manual. I mean maybe if it was built into the E brake id understand it.

Bri_L's avatar

That is giving you the history of automatic on column anti car theft devices.
where if it isnt in park you cant get the key out.

keep reading :-)

La_chica_gomela's avatar

oooookay. thank you! i’m definitely no car expert at allllllll

awesome then! we have a winner!

Bri_L's avatar

Hey, waddaya want, I gave you the patent for crying out loud. I am going to bed.

:-)

Thanks la chica

El_Cadejo's avatar

And for that i am grateful, just still want to know wtf is the point? :P

arnbev959's avatar

Uber, This question is bothering me now too. I haven’t given up.

Bri_L's avatar

I am confused what you don’t understand from the patent explanation.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Well, being the kind of person who…may not actually be able to understand the patent…pretend i’m stupid (ok, maybe you don’t have to pretend) or maybe i just chose to not really read it: how does the button help prevent your car from being stolen?

Bri_L's avatar

As I under stand it. With automatic cars there was a mechanism in the steering column that automatically locked the steering wheel so it could not be turned with out the key. It was activated by putting the car in park and removing the key.

The button was the solution for the fact you couldn’t do that with a manual. The stick shift isn’t connected to the steering column in that fashion. Not even when it was on the column. This button was one solution.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Why is the lock necessary thats my question. Or why cant it always be locked, like i said above i tape the button down and yet theres no problems. So why cant they make it always locked?

Bri_L's avatar

it is my understanding that you press the button down and that releases the key. the absence of your key releases the steering column locking mechanism, where you cant move your wheel.

It worked that way on my car.

Buy taping it down your just not engaging the lock would be my guess, although I can’t be sure.

El_Cadejo's avatar

soooo then since my button is always depressed, the steering column never locks?

So then i should be able to move my wheel? Well i cant, it still locks up if i try to move the wheel. Then i have to jiggle the wheel while turning the key to unlock it. Most cars are like that i believe.

Bri_L's avatar

after you remove your key can you still rotate the wheel?

what make car is it?

and year

El_Cadejo's avatar

i currently have an 88 mustang gt, but it was the same on my 90 jeep wrangler and my 99 ford ranger.

As for the whole steering wheel lock thing, ive seen that happen on a couple different cars, a lot of people dont know about it, my uncle thought his car was broken cause he couldnt turn it on, you just have to jiggle the wheel as you turn the key.

when your cars off try turning the steering wheel until it locks, you wont be able to just turn the key like normal to turn it back on.

Bri_L's avatar

I get that to.

when you have your button pressed in, and your key is removed can you turn your wheel?

El_Cadejo's avatar

no, it locks.

Bri_L's avatar

I am stumped.

For tonight.

Bri_L's avatar

Ok. i read through what we went through. And I goofed. Let me restate.

It locks the steering column so you can’t steer the car without having the key in the ignition.

El_Cadejo's avatar

wouldnt steering the car be the same thing as turning the wheel? and then that would be the same as that lock we were talking about last night. Right?

Bri_L's avatar

On manual cars, before the button, you could steer the car. with the button you can’t unless the keys are in it. then they designed a way to do it with out the button on a manual.

I have now brought my engineer dad in on it. Mr. mechanical engineer patent attorney. we will figure this out!

El_Cadejo's avatar

“On manual cars, before the button, you could steer the car. with the button you can’t unless the keys are in it. then they designed a way to do it with out the button on a manual.” i understand that, but that would mean if the button was depressed you should still be able to steer since the lock isnt initiated, but you cant. It still locks up.

Bri_L's avatar

I am not sure we can make that assumption. Perhaps the key needs to be in the ignition and engaged.

Hope I am not annoying the snot out of you with this. I rather like trying to figure things like this out.

El_Cadejo's avatar

no actually i LURVE YOU immensely for not getting annoyed with my constant rebuttals and for you taking the time to try and figure it out :P

you have no clue how long this question has haunted me

Yorka's avatar

On my friends 06 corolla I believe, his key would come out even when driving if you pull it out. How do you fix that. Is the key thing broke or is the key scrapped and cant stick in the key thing anymore HELP ME!!! ANd does he need to get a new key ignition thing

proXXi's avatar

If the key leaves the ignition the steering wheel lock (an antitheft device) will engage.

This won’t be very fun to experience while the car is in motion.

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