What Happens When I Press The Panic Button On My Car Keys?

March 22, 2017

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We’ve all been there. After a long day, you walk up to your car in a crowded parking garage and try to unlock it – except, instead of unlocking your car, you pushed the panic button. The alarm starts going off, and you start to “panic”, along with your car, desperately trying to disengage the car alarm!

Despite how common accidentally pressing the panic button is, many people still don’t understand what the panic button does (and doesn’t!) do. So we’re here with some basic information about the functionality of panic button on modern cars. Read on, and learn with us.

The Panic Button Turns On Your Car Alarm – Until You Turn It Off

This is probably not a surprise to you – everyone who has a car enabled with a panic button has hit it once or twice and heard their full-force car alarm right through the streets. Essentially, this is the most basic functionality of the panic button. It will set off your car’s emergency alert systems at will, whenever you press the button.

Your car will continue in this state with its car alarm blaring until you shut off the alarm by pressing the “panic” button, the second time. You can also turn off the panic alarm by starting your car with the proper key, and most cars will automatically shut off from “panic” mode after about three minutes.

That’s about it – your panic button is just a quick, convenient way to turn on your car alarm at-will. But despite its simplicity, your panic button can be quite useful.

What Can My Panic Button Be Used For?

It may seem that your car’s panic button isn’t too useful, but there are many applications where it can be quite handy. Here are several examples.

  • Using Your Car’s Panic Button To Prevent Home Invasions – It’s a fantastic idea to keep your car keys by your bedside at home, as long as your car is within signaling distance of your panic button. If you hear suspicious activity that could be a break-in, you can simply set off your car’s alarms by using the panic button. The would-be thieves will likely run, as they don’t want concerned neighbors to be witnesses.
  • Using Your Car’s Panic Button While Walking To Your Car – This is especially true if you’re in a dangerous area. Your car’s panic button is a great safety alert system, so if you are attacked or intimidated by someone and you’re near your car, you can set off your panic button – the assailant will likely flee.
  • Using Your Car’s Panic Button To Find Your Car – Even the best of us can lose track of our vehicles, whether it’s in a crowded supermarket parking lot or a gigantic parking garage. The panic button gives you a great way to locate your car – keep pressing it until you hear your car respond, and it should be very easy to find your vehicle. 

The Panic Button – Often-Ignored, But Not To Be Underestimated 

As you can see, your car’s panic button is as useful as it is simple. By understanding the basics behind its operation, and a few scenarios in which your panic button can be very helpful, you’ll be armed with all the knowledge you need to make full use of that little red button on your key fob

About the Author

Kimberlea Buczeke is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

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