Push Button Start Systems



Passive entry and start systems using a “smart key” have been available on select vehicles for many years now. These systems allow a driver to leave the key in their pocket while both entering and starting the vehicle. The smart key communicates wirelessly with a receiver which then communicates with other modules over a wired network. These systems are typically very reliable, but when they fail and a vehicle will not start, technicians will need to understand how they work to diagnose them.

The goal of this class is to prepare the aftermarket technician to be ready to diagnose and repair push button start systems. Technicians will learn to differentiate between a smart key system fault and a module-controlled starter fault. Technicians will learn the core components involved with all push button start systems, as well as the OE specific components and their operation on four different vehicles.

After completing this class, the technician will be able to:

  • Understand module controlled starting system
  • Identify the core components of a push button start system
  • Understand the necessary inputs to allow for passive engine start
  • Identify service and repair issues
  • Diagnose wireless communication faults
  • Diagnose wired communication faults
  • Identify which part of the system has failed and create a diagnostic plan
  • Read and interpret a starting system wiring schematic


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