What is Tip Start?

If you’ve never heard of the term “tip start” when it comes to your vehicle, don’t worry because you are not alone. A lot of vehicle owners are not aware that their model has the option of tip start. It doesn’t seem to be something that is widely advertised, and it doesn’t seem to be something that your salesman will mention when discussing the options on the vehicle you are interested in purchasing.

Believe it or not, tip start can make the difference between the starter on your vehicle wearing out and/or seizing up and the starter maintaining a healthy life with the vehicle. That is why today we are going to take a look at what a tip start is and how to discover if you have the option on your vehicle.

What is Tip Start?

Tip start button in blue background.

Tip Start, when it comes to a vehicle, is the ability to turn the key in the ignition to the crank position, or the start position, and then you let the key go. The Tip Start will then allow the engine to continue to crank until the vehicle is started and ready to drive.

Generally, vehicles that have an automatic transmission will have this option built in, provided that it is a newer model and not over a decade old. It allows your key to connect directly to the computer of the vehicle to be started while saving wear on your actual starter. One of the most common issues with vehicles and the starter is that the wires or the thermals are loose, so the vehicle won’t start. Having a tip start can prevent these issues from happening as you are not over-cranking the engine.

How Can Tip Start Help Me?

Tip Start can be a great advantage to someone who is continuously cranking their vehicle beyond what is required for a quick start. It does help with the longevity of your engine and transmission as well because if the key is cranked over and over; the potential for flooding your engine with gas and oils is significantly higher.

Continuously cranking your engine and transmission by turning the key too hard and too long can also cause long-term damage to your vehicle. This can be quite expensive as automatic transmissions tend to be on the expensive side anyway when it comes to repair, as well as replacement.

How to Find Out if I Have Tip Start

There are a few ways to determine if you have tip start on your current vehicle and they include, but are not limited to:

  • Testing the ignition manually by inserting your key and turning it to the start position or the “crank” position. If your ignition is not marked start in this spot, it’s the location that the key starts to catch in the ignition, and you can hear the vehicle starting to wind over. If your engine cranks and starts after turning the key to this position, then you have tip smart technology.
  • You can ask your mechanic or the salesperson who sold you the vehicle through the dealership. They should be aware of the different features and options currently available on your vehicle.
  • You can go online to numerous mechanical forums where mechanics, vehicle owners of the same model, make, brand, etc., and car enthusiasts go to discuss vehicle options, repairs, and more.

Pros and Cons of Tip Start

Engine start stop button of a car


  • Saves wear and tear on your engine and transmission by reducing the number of times and the length of cranking your vehicle over into a starting mode.
  • It makes a remote starting system possible without adding additional systems.
  • Sends signals to your vehicle’s computer to start the vehicle and these signals are then sent to the starter to ignite.
  • Decreases the amount of wear on your starter and can save you money over time.
  • Will check the engine’s current state of operations before engaging the starter.


  • If you are currently experiencing engine trouble and you are not aware of it, the tip start will continue to try and engage the engine – which can cause more damage over time.
  • When not used properly, the possibility of overheating the starter or wearing it out is a strong likelihood.


Vehicles that have tip start technology can be easily started without having to crank the engine over and over. Cranking the engine multiple times, either intentionally or unintentionally, can have a negative effect on your vehicle. These negative effects can be stripping your starter, flooding your engine, and even damaging your engine which costs a significant amount of change to fix (if it can be fixed at all!).

Check with the dealership where you purchased your vehicle to determine if your current make and model of vehicle has tip start technology. They should be able to let you know or check an online forum that is designed for your vehicle!

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