An engine immobiliser is a security device to prevent theft of vehicles. It uses an electronic chip embedded into the ECU (Engine Control Unit) of the vehicle which prevents the engine starting without the use of an authorised key.
Smart Key fobs on most modern vehicles now contain a transponder chip which stores an electronic security code. This code is transmitted to the ECU when inserted into the ignition, and it is only when this happens, that the engine will start. In most vehicles, two of the three main components of the car will be disabled without the presence of the key – the fuel system, the starter motor and the ignition.
This effectively protects the vehicle from being ‘hot wired’, a traditional method, used by thieves to start vehicles without a key.
Does your vehicle have an immobiliser?
If your vehicle was manufactured from 1998, the answer is yes – as factory fitted immobilisers became mandatory in that year. If your vehicle is older, it’s likely that it does not have one, though some may have been retrofitted, or indeed have been included as standard on some models.
If you are not sure about your own vehicle, it is worth checking the manual to see if it has an immobiliser.
Immobilisers and insurance
Since the mandatory introduction of vehicle immobilisers, the incidence of thefts had fallen dramatically. Car insurance was therefore cheaper for vehicles with immobilisers. However, as the technology turned keyless this gave the thieves a way around the immobiliser. There is a constant signal from the key to the car and there is a device available from Amazon and Ebay that boost these signals allowing thieves to drive the cars away without needing the keys. There have also been more reports of car jackings in recent years as they then get the keys.
Retrofitting more effective immobilisers & trackers
Here at Motabars, we retrofit immobilisers and tracking devices to vehicles to give more protection than the device fitted at the factory.Talk to us about the best options for your vehicle, and our recommendations of approved products.
We also fit ghost immobilisers for added protection against thieves who may steal your keys, either by breaking into your home, or taking an opportunistic moment if you momentarily leave your keys unattended in a public place. Please view our separate article for more about ghost immobilisers.