Reader Question: Is it Stopped or Started?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply! 

Kara asks: About ASS. My Volkswagen Jetta has it and push-start ignition. One of the thing I dislike about it is that I frequently find myself re-starting the engine when I am trying to shut off the car. I’ll park, gather my things, prepare to exit the vehicle. The engine has of course stopped because of ASS. But to shut the car off, I have to push the ignition button and the engine re-starts!

My reply: Thoughts? Yes, several.

I have experienced the same with several brand-new cars that are similarly equipped. The engine kills itself, but the ignition switch is still in the “run” or “on” position… if there were a switch. But there isn’t such a position with pushbutton ignition, at least not in the physical sense of keyed positions you can see and feel (e.g., “on” and “accessory” and “off”).

So you (and I) push the button to shut the car down prior to exiting it – and the engine restarts, courtesy of ASS.

You can avoid this by defeating ASS (push the “off”) button prior to every drive. And by pushing the ignition button just the right way – see owner’s manual.

But either way, it is an annoyance. Several, actually. And for what?

ASS is a “feature” I doubt 1 out of 500 people would order and pay extra for  as optional equipment. But we’re being force-fed ASS because of CAFE.

Send a love note to Uncle.

. . .

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  1. You know these ‘ASS’ features certainly provide entertainment.

    The other day I was downtown, where it’s crowded and parking spots are few and far between.

    I managed to find a spot, it was tight, however, I still retain the old art of parallel parking without any silly buzzers, chimes and sensors that modern cars are plagued with.

    Well, after I parked and walked a block, I saw another guy in a modern Mercedes Benz trying to perform the same operation of parallel parking his car. I know I should not take pleasure in others misfortune, but, the ensuing hilarity was hard to resist.

    This poor guy is trying to get his car into this tight parking spot, and every time he hits the brake to change from forward to reverse or vise versa his engine stops!! Then it immediately starts again, then stops then starts… Of course each time this happens the poor guy in the drivers seat is clearly frustrated, and, obviously having to get the engine to start again (even if it is just taking the foot off the brake and pressing the gas) does not allow for ‘graceful’ movements required when maneuvering a vehicle into a tight spot (in an automatic, I probably wouldn’t even use the gas at all at that point in the parking operation, and merely lift the foot off the brake instead for those fine movements). Maybe an engine start by pressing the gas is ‘ok’ for getting off a red light and heading straight. It’s not so nice when you’re only going to move a few inches… far too jerky.

    Who knows, maybe the ASS wasn’t working quite right, and/or he could have used some ‘parking assist’ feature that would have made this work, regardless, the whole exercise for what used to be a fairly simple task seemed rather asinine.

  2. How much extra gas gets wasted by the car having to be re-started?

    BTW, I’ve had vehicles years ago that would automatically shut off at a stop light (but the re-start part was manual). Guess they were way ahead of the times – LOL

    • I can’t remember where I read it now, but I read that if you’re going to be idling for more than 30 seconds, you’ll save gas by shutting off the engine.


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