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Engine Immobilizer: What is it?

Here's where you can find out all about the engine immobilizer
In this article, you’ll learn all about the engine immobilizer

Worried about the security of your car? Are you afraid that someone might get away with your automobile?

Worry not!

With the help of Engine Immobilizers, you can keep your car safe, secure and prevent it from being stolen. Usually, the car thieves steal cars by connecting the ignition wires of the vehicles, i.e. by hot-wiring it. With the help of an Engine Immobilizer, even if the ignition wires are connected, the car’s engine will not start up.

What is an Engine Immobilizer?

Engine Immobilizer is an anti-theft system which keeps your car safe from prowlers and car thieves. When you put your car key inside the ignition switch, it transmits a code to your automobile. There is a code that is present on the transponder chip. If it matches the code present inside your car’s Engine Immobilizer, only then would your car start.

The Engine Immobilizer stops your car’s engine from being started unless the matching digital is present. Only the car’s matching key would start the car’s engine. With any other incorrect car key, the engine of your car will not work. Even if the thieves are inside your car, they will not be able to just hotwire your car.

Engine Immobilizers are basically anti-theft devices which are found inside your cars. Countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom have a law which makes the installation of Immobilizers in cars mandatory. Since the Engine Immobilizer works automatically, you do not have to activate it first to make sure your car is safe. With the use of the Engine Immobilizer, the rate of car theft has been reduced by almost 40%!

Do I have an Engine Immobilizer?

We have learned what an Engine Immobilizer is. The question which arises is whether your car comes with an Engine Immobilizer or not.

It can be a real stump if you think that your car is fitted with an Engine Immobilizer and then later find out that you were wrong.
All the cars that have been manufactured since 1998 have a mandatory clause to include an Engine Immobilizer in them.

Unless the Engine immobilizer has been disabled or removed, it is most likely that you have an Engine Immobilizer if the car was built after 1998. If your car was built before 1998, there might still be a chance that it comes with a factory-fitted immobilizer. You should check the car’s user and owner manual to make sure that you do.

How does an Engine Immobilizer work in a car?

There are three main systems which make your car move. These are as follows:
• The Ignition System
• The Fuel System
• The Starter Motor

Immobilizers disable two out of these three systems and stop your car from being started. There is a transponder in the key to your car. When you put the car key in the ignition, a code is transmitted from the transponder chip inside the key to the Electronic Control Unit of your automobile.

This is done usually through a receiver present inside the steering wheel of the car. The method may differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the basic working principle in every one of them is the same.

The mechanisms of the Engine Immobilizer may change, but their function is to keep your car theft-free.

How the Engine Immobilizers work technically isn’t a fact that is publicized. This is because it might help the thieves in coming up with a counter-strategy. This is how an Engine Immobilizer generally works.

Components an Engine Immobilizer works

The two components through which an Engine Immobilizer works are:

  • A transponder in the car key
  • A radio frequency reader

The transponder is present inside the car key. The radio frequency reader is mostly present inside the steering wheel. When the key is placed inside the ignition, the transponder sends a signal to the radio frequency reader.

This signal is a unique code which identifies whether the correct key is placed. If it is the right key, the ECU will allow the car to be started. Otherwise, two of the three main car starting systems are disabled, and the vehicle doesn’t start up.

Is it worth having one?

Your car is safer from thieves if you have an Engine Immobilizer. It is always better to be safe than sorry. While an Engine Immobilizer may not be the only option for the security of your car, it is the most easily accessible one. You can also keep your car safe by using steering wheel locks etc.

Read more: Video: How to fix an Odometer that doesn’t spin

Tim MillerFounderOBD Advisor

I’m Tim Miller from Denver, Colorado. I’m the founder of obdadvisor.com, an automotive blog about "Auto Diagnostic Tools and Repair Guides". My fan page is facebook.com/autozikcom. I've been working as an automotive mechanic and blogger for over 10 years writing articles to share my experiences and expertise.

Web: https://www.obdadvisor.comEmail: [email protected]
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