Keyless ignitions can be great for people who have their hands full and don’t want to take their keys out of their pocket. But it’s possible that such ignition systems could pose a deadly threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The problem occurs because many such cars won’t shut off automatically if the driver doesn’t press the start/stop button at the end of a trip. According to a lawsuit filed in federal court in California, at least 13 people have died of carbon monoxide poisoning after failing to manually shut off their engines, and there have been many more “close calls” that could have been fatal.

According to the lawsuit, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, GM, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and others were aware of these risks or should have been, but sold keyless fobs without any safeguard or warning. The manufacturers also allegedly could have installed an inexpensive “auto-off” feature that would shut down the engine when it was left unattended.

Some manufacturers have been installing the auto-off feature in later model cars, but the lawsuit claims the earlier models should have been recalled so it could be installed in them as well.

If you have such a vehicle, you might want to take it to a dealer to see if an auto-off feature can be installed at the manufacturer’s expense.

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