If a keyless ignition car is left running, can it be driven away without the key?

If a keyless ignition car is left running, can it be driven away without the key?

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  1. I guess it depends on the make and year. I had a colleague take a business partner to the airport. I came back from lunch with the business partner in my Mercedes and was pressed for time, so she hopped in my car at the office parking lot and drove towards the airport.
    About 25 minutes later I get call, she is almost at the airport and she frantically asks me where the key is, as the dashboard displays says ‘key not detected’. I realize the key is still in my pocket. I told her to drop off the guy but not turn of the car!
    She did and returned 45 minutes later with no issues.

  2. I left my car running (Camry Hybrid) in the driveway. Went inside to get something. Not wanting to leave my keys in the car… i took them.
    I put them down in the kitchen to pick something up. took my new item to the car, went to work. 40 miles away.
    When I was 39 miles away, i noticed some letters near the odometer.. key not detected.
    too late. Gotta be at work Turned car off.
    Had to have someone bring my keys to me before end of day.
    It would have been nice for an audible warning.. beep beep of the horn.. flashing words… anything.
    Some other cars will let you go a minute and cut off. I can see why that might be a lawsuit waiting to happen, so I dont mind Toyota letting me drive. I just would like more warning.

  3. We did a test this morning. We started our vehicle, then I gave my wife the key and I drove off. The vehicle kept running and I drove away for about 20 minutes. I drove about 5 kms away and the car kept running. I am not sure if it would have kept running but it certainly ran until I got home and shut it off.

  4. As many answers suggest, yes they can.
    I have a Range Rover Evoque and I learned this the hard way (almost very hard!). I drove 2 hours to the airport with my wife, she was dropping me off and then going back home.
    I jumped out of the car and grabbed my coat, backpack and suitcase. She jumped in the drivers seat and drove away. I checked in, went through security and browsed the duty free. About 45 minutes later, I got an panicked and slightly angry call from my wife. “Where are the keys?” she asked. I said, “in the c…” and put my hand in my coat pocket. “Shit…”. “What?” she asked. “They’re here…”. Silence. That silence when you know you screwed up bad.
    My wife had stopped at the services to grab a coffee and turned the car off. Only then did she notice the message on the dash that the key was missing…
    I had to pay for a taxi to take the keys to her as I was due to get on the airplane. But, at least I didn’t get on the airplane with them.
    Never made that mistake again..!!

  5. Yes, but it might not get far.
    drove off in a land rover without the key less key, and found out when I put some fuel in it at a petrol station… ‘‘Key not detected.”
    had to sit by the pump for 45 minutes while the prat who did not leave me the key drove over with the key.

  6. Yes.
    Unless it’s remote started.
    Once you start the key with the fob in the vehicle it’s no longer needed until the next ignition cycle. You most likely will have warning chimes etc.
    Say you’re driving down the road and your fob craps out. Should the car shut off? The answer is no. That would be a HUGE safety issue.

  7. We have 2 vehicles with auto start, 2013 pathfinder and a 2018 expedition. The pathfinder can drive without the key once started and the key is detected once. The expedition actually has remote start but a hard key and will not shift from park without the key inserted.

  8. Yes, the car will keep running (will display a message like “key not found” or similar) until you stop the engine. Then it won’t start again…but the “bad guys” will know this and make sure not to stop the engine until they’re somewhere safe.

  9. I have two cars with keyless ignition/entry systems: A 2017 BMW 220d Gran Tourer and a 2018 Toyota C-HR Hybrid. In both cases, you can start the engine and drive it without the key fob present but won’t be able to restart the engine or lock the car without it. In both cars, it’ll display a message on the dashboard / display in the center. The BMW silently displays the message, the Toyota beeps, I think. Hope this helps and makes sense.

  10. Pretty sure my mustang wont go out of park without a key present. But if you tossed the key out the window it would be fine until you put it in park.

  11. That depends on the vehicle. I had a 2011 Cadillac and if the key fob was in my pocket and I walked more than three feet away from the car, it automatically locked the doors, even if the car was running. So in that instance it could not be driven away by anyone who didn’t have the key fob.

  12. Here is my true story.
    Background: I had a 6am flight to take one day when I will be traveling to Asia for a week. So, as a friend of mine offers me, I picked him up with my Lexus CX200H with the key in my pocket and drove to the airport. I left the engine running while I unloaded my luggage. Then he took off and went back home with the car.
    What happened to the key?: I found the key in my pants pocket at the hotel, 10,000 miles away.
    Was he able to get home?: I contacted his wife and asked how he was doing? The answer was a simple one “He is taking a nap with his dog (she has her own as well)”. She told me he had got back home and let the car in their drive away. So the car drove him back home safe.
    Long story short: I asked my wife to take the spare key to him before my return as he was going to pick me up with my car. He did not know he needed the key to start the engine until my wife delivered the spare.
    To answer your question: Yes, anybody can drive off a keyless ignition car as long as the engine is running or the key holder is nearby for somebody else to start the engine.
    I must admit that I or he was lucky that he did not stop by at a store on the way home and turned off the engine while I was 10,000 miles away.

  13. I have a 2016 Chevrolet Malibu that has keyless start, and when you exit the vehicle while the engine is still running it does several things to alert you that you no longer have a key fob inside. First, it will beep several times and display on the instrument cluster screen that the remote is missing. Then if you try and turn off the engine, it will turn off, however, the car will go into accessory mode and you can still restart it by pressing the break and then pressing the ignition button again- without the key in the car. If you press the ignition button again, without pressing the break to restart the engine, then the car will turn off completely and you will not be able to do anything with it until you have they key fob. I’ve seen other Chevy cars honk when you leave the engine running and exit with the key fob as well.

  14. YES…. I believe a keyless ignition car once the engine has been started and the engine is normally running, it can be driven away even without the key being present inside the vehicle..…
    I had experienced that as soon the key is taken out of car, it will give an audible alarm notification that the ignition key is not being sensed in the immediate vicinity but the engine will stay on and keep running..
    I have not tried testing how far and how long the car engine will continue to run without sensing the ignition key being nearby..or inside the …

  15. If it isn’t locked, the answer is ‘yes’. Anyone could just get in, put it in gear and drive away. (2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited). All that is different is the message on the dash: “Key Fob Has Left The Vehicle”. Pretty ridiculous. Of course, leaving the car running but unlocked is also pretty ridiculous.
    If I had designed it there would be a different message. “Please relax, your Jeep has already called the nearest police to help you find your keys.”

  16. Yes. A former colleague borrowed his manager’s company car and got as far as Sheffield (from Derby) before the manager realised the key was in his pocket. He phoned the driver, said turn around and come straight back. DO NOT TURN THE ENGINE OFF.

  17. I left my keys on our key board while my wife and I ran some errands. She had her keys so the car was happy to start at home.
    I dropped her at a store, drove 1/4 mile to another store, turned the car off. When I got back to the car, “No key detected “ came up. I had walk to her ( recent knee replacement limited her walking distance), get her keys, walk back. Glad it was not a 30 mile distance:).

  18. Yes. Until the engine is turned off it will continue to run. If it is in accessory it will remain powered until it is switched off or the battery dies. I transported a car once for 350 miles with it on accessory and no key as it had been lost some how. Car was still powered on no key detected. It was a tow on a tow truck.

  19. Surprisingly, yes. This just happened two days ago, where my friend and I were going to the U-Haul to drop off a trailer we had rented. We had rented the trailer for a machine she was going to purchase. When we arrived at her store we left her car, along with her trailer to her husband so they could unload it. We then hopped into my car to drive to her house to pick up her son. When we got back the machine was unloaded and we jumped back in her car to drop off the trailer. Her and her husband spoke a bit, and he still had the key. The car had been left on as he had just came out of it when he saw us pull up. He walked away and she drove off to Uhaul. When we got there, they asked us to drive to the back so they could unload from there. That’s when she realized she had turned the car off and upon trying to turn it on again, it failed because the key was nowhere in sight. We had to call someone to bring us the key, but it definitely got a chuckle from me as this was as “first world problem” as you could get!


  20. I took my girlfriend to work, she gets out and my car starts binging “key fob not detected” steady on the screen. I reached down to my belt and could feel it hanging there. Instead of pulling off to the side and stopping I continued on to my parents house with it beeping away, it wasn’t a long drive. Just down the road from them it suddenly stopped. Don’t know why it did, she doesn’t carry a key for my car, she hates it and doesn’t want to drive it.
    While doing my job I will leave my car running but have the keys with me and lock the door, but I have no doubt if some one stole it while it was running it would go without a problem.

  21. yes in some models, i have seen it, forgetting the key and drving a couple of meters to the key is out of range and car stops

  22. Some can but once turned off it won’t restart. Others will stop running when the key fob is out of touch. We tried it with our new Ford Edge. It stopped running & wouldn’t restart with out the fob about 30 yards away.

  23. Absolutely and I have seen a few cars left running. It is easy to do without needing to remove the key. Once running, the car will continue to run until the button is pressed. This is a safety feature. If the key fob failed while driving and the engine shut off, it could cause an accident.
    Going without a key was a terrible mistake. Thieves can use a transmitter at the key end and a receiver at the car to simulate the key fob being near the car. The car can be several miles from the car and still start it. I some cars, it will even unlock the door if the key fob is nearby, they don’t even have to break in.
    Some of the newer key fobs have a switch that can turn off the key fob. If you don’t, you should keep the key fob in a metal box while not in use.

  24. Obviously the question has been answered with a resounding yes, and I’ve had my car driven without the keys nearby too. My sister and I had to switch cars, and I jumped in hers and drove off with my keys. Since my car was already running, she had no problem driving it. We were going to the same place, so it wasn’t a big deal, but we both would have been annoyed with me if she had stalled it anywhere on the way as it is a manual. I wonder when/if they’ll change this? I often worry I’ll dumb again and leave my keys and drive away.

  25. Yes, I used to work a rental car company. Customers would return cars, forget to turn them off, get checked out, forget to give us the keys, head for their planes, and we’d have a running car. We knew not to turn it off until we could get it to the storage lot, because we could not turn it on again.


  26. Reply
  27. That would probably depend on the car…
    On my 2012 Nissan, when I walk out of range, the engine will remain running, but you cannot put the car in gear… On my Nissan, you are “out of range” when you are more than about five feet from the car… and it beeps when you pass that point.
    (This is intended for both the situation you describe and “so the kids won’t put the car in drive while you walk inside to get something”. Since there are different levels of protection involved I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that it might be easier for a thief to bypass the transmission lock once the engine is running… but I don’t know about that.)

  28. My brother and friend have this on their cars. The lock that prevents the transmission from being put in gear does not disengage so there is no way to shift into gear without the key. So I think that there is no elevated theft risk from vehicles.

  29. Yes, and we only realized it 220 kilometers away.
    To give you some context, my brother and I decided to take holidays and have a roadtrip between Florida and California in October 2017.
    For this special occasion we had splurged a little and had decided to rent a red Mustang convertible.

    If a keyless ignition car is left running, can it be driven away without the key?

    ( Picture of the car with my brother )
    On the 7–8th day of the trip ( I do not remember the date exactly) we noticed that someone had damaged a bit the car when it was parked in New Orleans. We decided then to take it to the rental place in the New Orleans airport.
    We drove into the rental space, had the car checked (they told us to just ignore it, our insurance would cover it) and then exited the area. To do so we had to drive to a counter and then hand over:
    They keys of the vehicle
    The contract
    Our driving licences
    This car being a keyless ignition car, the engine was still running and when the lady gave us back our documents, we drove off.
    We drove all the way towards our next destination (next state would be Texas) and so we stopped around 200kms later to fuel up the car.
    Once the car was turned off and that we could not start it up again we realized our mistake and that the lady had probably forgotten to give us the keys back (and we had also not realized it because the engine was still running!).
    In the end we had to request for a tow truck to come and take the car all the way to Lafayette airport where we got a new car.
    TLDR: Yes they keep running and we realized it 200kms away and had to be towed.

  30. As long as the key card is inside the car you can push the button on the car will start. And if you walk away from the vehicle it will stay running and you can drive it but once you turn it off it won’t start up again until the key card is inside the vehicle again.

    Victor Allen’s

  31. Some cars yes,!others no. A lot depends on the manufacturer. Both my Honda’s have remote start, but nothing works inside the car until the ignition button is push when entering the vehicle.
    If the car doesn’t “see” or sense that the fob is near the car, nothing happens. Once the car is shut of or turned off, it needs to see the presence of its key.
    The key itself has a rolling code like a garage door opener. It must sense that key, it must match before the car is allowed to start the engine. That means more that can cranking it. You got to have fuel, air, spark and timing to run.

  32. One time I was driving my wifes car and the keys were in her purse. I dropped her off at the entrance and went to park the car. As soon as she hopped out car started beeping and displaying key not found on the dash. I yelled for here, but she was gone. The car still ran so I was able to park. After parking I discovered that I could not lock the car without the key! If you lock the doors before you close them the just unlock when you do close them.

  33. Only so far like that, the push button start cars require the key fob (which contains a RFID Chip) to be in close proximity to the car to keep it driving, I carry mine on my belt loop, once the car is out of range of the fob it will shut down

  34. Yes it can. However the thief will not be able to restart it after they turn off the engine. Great if all you want is to break the car up and sell the parts, which is what people do. Keyless entry is one of those totally stupid ideas that someone had without thinking it through.

  35. This was in the early 2000s. Keyless ignition was still a bit of a novelty. We were taking our daughters to a softball tournament. The tournament was about 50 miles away from home. When we got there, and the girls were warming up, I noticed that one father was very upset. He was in an animated conversation on the phone. I asked him what’s up when he was done. Well, they have a rack of keys in the garage for their cars. The key to the car he drove out with his daughter was close enough to the car for it to start. Of course, 50 miles later, it will not REstart, as the key is now 50 miles away. The animated conversation was with his wife, who had a day planned with their other child while dad and daughter was off playing ball. If I thought the father was upset, it was NOTHING compared to when the mother showed up two hours later!

  36. The ones I have Yes I left my wife with the key fob and drove around the block and the engine kept running with a key not detected light flashing.

  37. Yes, absolutely, and as long as you don’t shut the engine off (it will not restart without the key present) you could drive cross country. They do not shut themselves off as this could be a serious safety hazard.

  38. My car will continue to run without the key fob for around 30 minutes – but it cannot be driven away. It has something that locks the gear selector so no one can shift into drive (or any other gear) until the key fob is detected.

  39. I have a keyless Harley Davidson. I keep the key in the pocket of my leather jacket that I kept folded on the seat. Or should I say, I USED TO. One warm afternoon, I was going for a ride and just laid the jacket off to the side. It was still close enough to my bike for it to start up. I rode to the next town with no issues until I went to start it back up. I had to call my wife and have her bring me the key.

  40. My coworker had this happen to her, thankfully I’ve never done it.
    She drove her husband to an appointment before work and when she got to the office she realized she didn’t have her key, he did. He had to get a cab from 40 miles away to bring her the key, she left early that day so she could bring her husband home. According to her there was no beeps or warnings that it wasn’t in the car, I think it was a VW but I’m not completely certain.
    My Jeep warns me when I step out to grab my mail that the key has left the car, brings up a warning that takes up the entire info screen by the speedometer and beeps about 20 times when you close the door reminding you. Even if you get rid of the visual warning the beeps will continue. It’s probably more common than I think since I’ve never done it but really the only thing that car manufactures can do is bring up visual and audio warnings if the car doesn’t recognize the key being in the car. My Jeep also won’t lock if I leave the key in the car on accident, by far the best feature on any vehicle I’ve ever owned, except the time I had 2 keys in the car and didn’t know about the 2nd one, took about 10 minutes for me to figure out why my door kept unlocking after I closed it.

  41. Yes. If the KIN (keyless ignition node) is in the run position and the key fob leaves the vehicle, this will be detected by the RFH hub and a warning will produced by the instrument panel. ALL vehicle functionality will remain active for safety reasons. But once the vehicle is turned off the RFH hub will not detect the key fob and the KIN will lock out the pcm.

  42. It depends on the car (make/model).
    Some people are reporting that you can drive the car until you shut it off.
    This cannot happen with a Tesla, because as soon as you open the door to exit, the car automatically puts itself into park. After you walk away, the car shuts down and turns on the security system(s). You cannot even enter a Tesla again, without permission from your key/app.

  43. Not on mine. Instant engine kill if you push the break without the key in the ignition. There are probably a few reasons for this behavior such as nobody can hop in your car and drive away without the key. It also protects you from leaving the keys on the counter at a gas station and driving away.

  44. On some cars, yes.
    Particularly manual transmission cars.
    Some newer cars with automatic transmissions require you to push the brake pedal to put the transmission in drive. If the key is not detected, the car will merely shut the ignition off when you depress the pedal.
    My 2011 Lincoln is designed this way as is my friends 2016 Mazda.

  45. Yes, and I believe all keyless ignition cars are like this. Once turned off, you will not be able to restart it. From what I’m told it’s done like this for safety.
    It could be dangerous if your key fob battery died while you were driving and the vehicle just shut down.

  46. Yes, and not just keyless cars. (UK) I currently own a Vauxhall Astra VXR that is keyless, and until very recently owned a Ducati Multistrada 1200s motorbike. Both keyless. Both vehicles have to be started with the key present, but as soon as they are running I could leave the keys at home and drive any distance I wanted without any problems other than a warning on the dash saying “key not present”. However, if I stopped either vehicle and it’s not within range of the key I couldn’t re-start them. I also tested the car to see if I could lock the key inside the car. If you press the start/stop button, then get out of the car and just touch the door handle the car locks. But, if you do this and leave the key *inside* the car, it’s smart enough to know…and it won’t lock the doors.
    The Ducati had an emergency way of starting it. If the key is not present (or the battery in the key is depleted), you lift off a flap near the top of the tank and enter a 4 digit security code using a turn-wheel under there, then the bike will start and run until you shut it off again.

  47. Yes it can be running till you stop it manually.
    There are certain laws, which insists the manufacturers that a key less car shouldn’t halt if the key fob isn’t in range.

  48. I used to know someone who managed to get in his car, drive 20–30 miles to work and park his car, before he realised he didn’t have his key with him. At home, he stored his key close enough to the car that it apparently never locked its doors and was willing to start.
    I think his wife had to go home and give his key to a bike courier so he could get home.

  49. I have a Honda Odyssey with keyless Ignition. The car also usually detects that the keys are on me so I do not even need to take the keys out of my pocket to unlock the car door. Once I start the car if I get out and step more than a couple feet away the car will start beeping letting me know that the keys are not detected inside the car. I have yet to try driving off leaving the keys elsewhere.

  50. Yes. I do it all of the time.
    My fob doesn’t work. My wife’s does.
    We work 2 blocks from each other, and drive together. I can start the car when she gets in. When I drop her off, the car complains there is no key, but I drive away with no problem.
    My fob also has a regular key, so I can start it when I go to pick her up.

  51. Basically, as soon as the vehicle gets out of range of the key, the engine stops.
    A friend has a motorcycle (Harley Davidson) which has keyless ignition fitted.
    A friend of his took it out for a ride and the key fell from his pocket while riding.
    The motorcycle only went a short distance and then the engine stopped.
    The fellow riding at first thought something was wrong with the bike until he talked on the phone with the owner.
    He did find the key but unfortunately, it had been run over and destroyed. Cost quite a bit of money to get a replacement.
    So the answer is yes and no as they can start to drive it away but the vehicle will only get a very short distance.

  52. Yup, been there, seen it done for a Lexus. Friends and family go to drive way chatting etc and they go into car and say so and so come over there and then they started it. To be funny he eventually drove off down the road and our neighborhood is big. Drove all the way down and back no problem. If the vehicle was turned off of course it would not be able to turn back on. Other vehicles might behave differently. Not sure how the new ford trucks will react but if you get out with the key and walk off it will double honk.

  53. In a word, yes. To further explain, an old girlfriend of mine once asked me to drop her off at an eye doctor’s appointment. We drove her brand new 2019 Honda CRV with a keyless ignition. The reason she asked me to drive her was because parking around her optometrist’s office was always crazy. When we got to the office she jumped out of the car and I got in the driver’s seat. Since we were rushed while stopped at busy intersection with a traffic light, neither one of us remembered that her key fob was in her purse.
    I drove off and got about two miles away when I looked down and realized I didn’t have the fob. I had totally expected the car to shut off at any second, so I decided to to keep going and risk getting home, since I was closer to the house and would have to travel farther if I doubled back to get the fob. Once I parked in front of the house I turned the car off and tried to start the car again. Nothing! I called her and said she should grab an Uber to get home. Lesson learned.

  54. i have a slightly different question. i exit the grocery store, unlock my vehicle, load my groceries, and then return cart to corral. can a thief enter my vehicle, start my vehicle, and drive away? how far away do i need to be for the thief to be unable to start my car?

  55. I can’t speak for every car, but I assume almost everyone will run just fine. The keys fobs to these cars run on a battery and that battery can and will die one day, and that to the car, is exactly the same as the fob not being in the car.
    Both my cars currently (a Mazda and a VW) will allow you to start the car with a key fob with a totally dead battery, by touching the key fob to the start button and pushing it at the same time (I assume it uses an RFID chip or similar to identity and accept the key)
    So since I can start my car with a dead key fob by design, it must be designed to run indefinitely without a key fob signal in the car.

  56. Subarus run fine without the keys nearby once they have been started.
    A friend with a fairly new Subaru started her car to warm it up, then locked her keys in the house. But she was still able to do some critical morning errands by leaving the car running at each stop before returning home to meet the locksmith! She knew she would not be able to start the car if she turned it off, but it ran fine with the key far away.
    The reason keyless ignitions work like this is safety. You don’t want the car quitting on the highway when the battery goes dead, or if it is damaged and has a flaky connection internally. Or if you drop your key in the driveway, you don’t want the car stalling out just as you are pulling out into traffic! That’s a terrible safety and liability issue. I read another response to this question about a motorcycle that quits when the key gets too far away, and I am very surprised they made that design decision!


  57. Yes and it will ding with a warning on the instrument panel saying key has left vehicle, it will stay running until it is turned off so you will be stranded at your destination.

  58. Aftermarket kits can stop this from happening:
    I had a remote start kit installed on my Wife’s car. Which means she can start the car from inside the house. It also has “valet mode” which allows the key to be removed and the car locked all while still running. If someone manages to open the door once they step on the brake pedal the car dies.

  59. Yes.
    I now own my second push-button-start automobile.
    My first was a 2013 Camry and I tested this theory. I started the vehicle then went inside and intentionally left my keys on the table. Then I went for a little drive. No problems at all. The dash had some message on it “no key present” or something like that, but I was able to drive just fine.
    I guess you don’t typically want to leave a running vehicle unoccupied in any situation. What made it a little more difficult to accept was the fact that I could not get out and lock the car electronically while it was running without a key. it would lock momentarily and then automatically unlock again.
    I could lock it by removing the mechanical key from the FOB and using that in the keyhole, but that seemed to be a little less than convenient, so several times I have actually left the vehicle running without anyone inside and the doors unlocked.
    It seems like a strange thing to do. Why would you want your car running if you’re not in it? Well, in Canada when the weather is 30 degrees below freezing we like to start our vehicles and stay inside where it’s warm while the vehicle warms up.
    My next vehicle (an Infiniti Q50) doesn’t have the same issue with the locks. now when I leave it running, at least it’s easy to lock.

  60. I drive a Prius. My boyfriend was driving the car oh, and I was in the passenger seat. I was going to get my hair done oh, so he dropped me off at the salon, and went to his friends house about 25 miles away from the salon no, when he realized I had the key. The car would still work as long as he didn’t turn it off, but as soon as he turned off the ignition, it wouldn’t restart.

  61. Yes , my Subaru can be driven indefinitely with the key removed. Once you shit it down you are required to have the key present again to restart it.

  62. If a keyless ignition car is left running, can it be driven away without the key?
    I can’t speak about all keyless cars, but some months ago I had a rental. As an experiment my daughter and I went to a large parking lot. As in many acres. We stopped at one edge of the lot and then my daughter drove away. Completely out of sight. The car operated fine. But when she stopped it and turned the ignition off it wouldn’t start again.
    Both, what we expected and would want if it were our car.

  63. Yes, it can.
    I was once going for a trip with my college mates so we had a bus waiting to take us … I took the car keys and my mother came with me and I drove to the where the bus was waiting …
    Since I was very very late and was the last one to arrive … I quickly jumped out of the car and got into the bus with the car keys of course … my mother jumped to the driver’s seat and was going to go back to her home while I enjoy my trip … 3 minutes after the bus moved I found my mother chasing the bus and using the car’s horn in panick and telling the bus driver to stop … he stopped and she told me that I took the car keys with me … there was an indicator in the dashboard that notified her that the keys were missing … thank God that she discovered this quickly while I was only a few kilometers away and not when I was already gone 200 kilometers away …

  64. I’ve never tried this with my mom’s sonata, but I do know that if you leave the car running and take the keys away, it will beep for a while. She says it won’t, but I’ve never tried it… maybe we will sometime.

  65. If a keyless ignition car is left running, can it be driven away without the key?
    Yes. Until you turn it off, then it won’t restart.

  66. Will run until it runs out of gas or you shut it down. I dropped my car at a valet parking stand and picked it up a couple of hours later. It was only after I entered the highway that I noticed the valet had not left the key in the car but had placed it on the windshield wiper outside. After a brief panic I managed to pull over to a shoulder and retrieve it. Had it flown off I would have been in deep doo-doo (my wife lost the other key).

  67. Yes.
    Although I can’t say for a fact that this applies to every car, I do believe it applies to every Honda cars with push-to-start.
    I drive a 2019 Honda Accord. The car will make a noise when you close the doors of the vehicle while it’s on, but with no keys inside. When you drive it, it will give a notification that there is no key detected.
    But that’s about all. I have not attempted to drive any significant distance without the key, but as far as I know, the car would behave like normal.
    The only problem is that if you somehow left your key at home/not in the car, you can’t turn it off or otherwise you won’t be able to turn it back on again.

  68. I found out it can; I had driven to the airport (Toronto, Canada), with wife & adult son in car. Got out of my then ’15 Charger hellcat with it running (and fob in my pocket), got suitcases out of trunk, and son got in to drive the car home. He called me on the way, saying message on dash said “key not detected”, but he was already several Km away, we hoped it would allow him to continue and not shut off. He made it, (30 Km) and shut it off in the garage with the Start/Stop button.

  69. I can tell you from personal experience that the answer is YES!
    The backstory: I currently drive a 2012 BMW 535i GT (F07) with keyless ignition and comfort access. One day my friend and I were golfing at a course about 45 minutes from my house, concluded our round and got back to my car. Unlocked the car (key in my wind breaker’s pocket due to comfort access), started the car and then commenced on our normal post round routine of changing shoes, organizing golf bags etc…..
    Somehow during all this my keys fell out of my pocket and onto the ground without either of us noticing. We both hopped in the car and I drove him back to his house, parked in front of his house, turned off the ignition and helped him unload his gear and used his restroom before I ATTEMPTED to finish the journey back to my house. When I pressed the Start/Stop button I received an ominous message “Remote Control Not Detected, Vehicle Cannot Be Started” (or similar). I thought, oh they must be in the hatchback and started looking around. Not there. Started tearing apart the rest of the car, not there.
    Fast forward. He drops me off at his house on the way to meet his family at a party he had to attend. I got my spare key. LYFT ride back to his house. Started the car, called the golf course and started driving back.
    By the time I got there someone had turned in a set of BMW keys (thank you! Saved me over $300 for a replacement). Since we teed off early and it was summer months in the Seattle area I had enough daylight left to play another 18 holes as celebration of finding my keys.
    So yes, you can drive off without your keys. The problem lies when you turn the car off. You are now stranded.

    Eight O’Clock

  70. No. On most keyless vehicles the engine will shut off when the brake pedal is pressed if the key is not detected. Most Toyota’s will shut off when any door is opened. I found it disappointing when I installed a remote starter system on my keyless Toyota Tacoma and every time I open the driver door to get in t…

  71. I think it differs from car company to car company.
    I had a company car that was a Nissan. I did it once and it drove until I came back and got the key.
    personal car is a Ford Fusion. I did it to test like the Nissan. The key was in the house. The second I changed gears the engine cut off.
    I think it is that way with gm also.

  72. It depends on the car, and the device. Many of the answers indicate cars with key-less ignition systems and remote starts.
    In my case, my service van did not originally come with key-less entry or remote start. They were aftermarket additions.
    And in my case, if you attempt to put the vehicle in gear, (which is usually putting your foot on the brake pedal prior to switching gears), without having the key inserted and turned to run, the vehicle dies.

  73. Yes, and here’s the technical reason why.
    Since pretty much all vehicles from all manufactures do this, there must be a good reason, right?
    As it turns out, there is a reason. Redirect your ire at the government, not the car companies or their engineers.
    The NHTSA has basically dragged their feet for 2 decades on actually coming out with proper regulations for keyless entry vehicles. It so centers around the existing regulations and their specific requirements.
    Long story short – they can’t immobilize the vehicle if the fob isn’t present unless they can actually physically prevent the fob from being removed from the car until the driver puts the car in park. Remember how keyed cars started doing that? Then they started to auto shift into park if you opened the door? That was to prevent people from exiting their (really quiet) vehicles before shifting into park, because some people got killed by lurching cars. So hangovers from that regulation prevent this, oddly.
    Also, Technical limitations means that it can also only check infrequently, i.e. when you close a door and try to turn off the vehicle. Otherwise the battery in the fob would die too quickly.
    Want more information? Let’s dig in.
    The specific functionality centers around CFR 571.114, AKA FMVSS 114. Specifically section 5.2.1 which states:
    Except as specified in S5.2.3, the starting system required by S5.1 must prevent key removal when tested according to the procedures in S6, unless the transmission or gear selection control is locked in “park” or becomes locked in “park” as a direct result of key removal.
    The electric code transmitted from the fob is the equivalent of the key referred above, and that code is removed from the car when the user presses the on/off button. Note – the CODE is the key, NOT the keyfob.
    So, removal of the key requires that the vehicle be in park. Easy, they can prevent the “key” (code) from being removed because it’s not physical.
    In order to abide by the rules, if the fob were the actual key, not only would it HAVE to be constantly checked for pres…


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