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What is an immobiliser?

An immobiliser is a device fitted to your car which prevents it being started without the correct car key. They’ve been compulsory for new vehicles since 1995, so if your car was made after this date, chances are it’ll have an immobiliser fitted.

However, older vehicles may still have one, as they can be fitted aftermarket.

Many immobiliser problems which leave your car unable to start are caused by problems with your key fob. For example, it could have lost its transponder chip, or the coding within the key could be damaged.

How do immobilisers work?

When you remove the ignition key from your vehicle, the immobiliser is automatically activated. This is one of the benefits of immobilisers – they operate automatically, so you don’t need to remember to set them.

When you start your car, an electronic device within your transponder key fob will send an encrypted radio signal to the vehicle’s engine control unit (ECU). The vehicle will only start if the code sent by your key matches the authorisation code of the ECU – if the code is not recognised by the vehicle, the immobiliser will remain activated.

On a mechanical level, immobilisers ensure that your vehicle doesn’t start by disabling at least two of the three key factors needed to get your car going – ignition, fuel and starter motor. Without all three of these components activated, your vehicle won’t be going anywhere!

Immobilisers mean that your car can only be started by your car keys. Because your car’s ignition system is disabled by the vehicle’s on-board computer, hot wiring won’t work.

Hot wiring the vehicle used to work in some circumstances, by breaking open the steering column and connecting the ignition wires by hand, rather than by your key.

New car keys and your immobiliser

If you need a new set of car keys – maybe you lost your old ones, or they’ve simply stopped working – the immobiliser will need re-programming so that it stops trying to communicate with the old set, and instead corresponds with the new set of keys.

There’s no need to go straight to the dealership for this type of car key programming though, which can be expensive and time consuming.

We have the required software and equipment to ensure that your new car keys can communicate with all your vehicle’s necessary electronic equipment.

For over 18 years, we’ve been fixing common immobiliser and car key issues, so get in touch today if you require our assistance!

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