Is The Ignition On?

Is the Ignition on? Is the Battery Voltage acceptable? Push Button Start?

These are questions any technicians have when performing diagnostics and calibration procedures on a vehicle

Ignition on state is important to achieve for accurate and desirable results. Most diagnostic, calibration and programming functions are performed with the ignition on and engine off. Remember it is important to support vehicle battery voltage levels while in this state by connecting battery support such as a battery charger, booster pack or preferably a voltage maintainer with programming setting. If battery voltage drops below 11 volts due to a discharged or weak battery, results can be skewed or procedures will not be successful.

NOTE: Battery support and chargers are not needed on Electric/Hybrid vehicles such as Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and others. Ready Mode with no battery support is sufficient. If you are not sure review OEM service information before attempting to connect any battery support or chargers to these vehicles! 

So how do you know the ignition is on? This is generally pretty easy with keyed ignition switch.

key switch

Just turn the key position to on without starting the engine. Make sure it is set to “on” and not accessory position. Some vehicles have the accessory setting one notch before the on position.

The instrument cluster will generally perform a “gauge sweep” when the ignition is turned on with a momentary “Bulb Check” of the instrument cluster indicators.

Push button start vehicles are becoming more prevalent in new vehicles so how do we achieve ignition on, engine off state with these?

Push button

For these types of ignition switches the modes people are already familiar are engine start and stop, Brake pedal depressed to start engine. But to set the ignition to on with engine off is not hard, you just have to know how to do it.

There are 2 different sequences depending on Manufacture and Model year.

  1. Place vehicle fob (Transponder) inside the vehicle
  2. Insure brake pedal is released (Foot Off Brake)
  3. Press start button 2 times in 1-2 second intervals
  4. Instrument cluster gages will sweep and warning lamps will come on and go off.
  5. If a Hybrid there may be a “Ready” indicator on the instrument cluster.

The second method is

  1. Place vehicle fob (Transponder) inside the vehicle
  2. Insure brake pedal is released (Foot Off Brake)
  3. Press and hold start Button 10-20 seconds until instrument cluster turns on
  4. Instrument cluster gages will sweep and warning lamps will come on and go off.
  5. If a Hybrid there may be a “Ready” indicator on the instrument cluster.

Most of these vehicles will time out of this mode in 10-15 minutes to protect the battery “battery saver mode”. If a vehicle should time out and go into “battery saver mode” Push start button 1 time, remove fob from inside vehicle temporarily and repeat setting the ignition on.

When a technician is performing a remote scan and results seem skewed or incomplete, a technician will be calling the shop to verify the vehicle is in the correct state for the procedures and/or scan tool functions being performed.

 

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