How Do You Bypass An Ignition Immobilizer?

Are you stranded because your car's ignition immobilizer is not responding to the remote key fob? We have researched the best method to bypass your car's ignition immobilizer to share with you.

You can bypass the immobilizer if you have your 4-digit emergency key access code. Some cars use transponder technology that doesn't need an access code. They only require you to insert the key in the ignition and hold it there for a few minutes without turning the engine on. By alternately turning the key on both sides, the car will eventually recognize the key. 

This topic is a common question for car owners who are faced with a non-responsive immobilizer. While there are many different reasons why an immobilizer could be non-responsive, we'll discuss the most common causes in this post. Read on to find out more.

How Does an Ignition Immobilizer Work?

When someone attempts to steal a vehicle, the immobilizer system will disable the ignition of the vehicle to thwart anyone from getting in.

Previous immobilizer technology that preceded the transponder technology worked by analyzing the key signal emitted by the key fob. If the key signal matches a preset code, the ignition is unlocked.

Nowadays, most cars use transponder technology to communicate with the immobilizer system. The transponder is a small microchip housed inside the plastic head of the key. It receives and interprets low-frequency radio wave signals transmitted by the car when the key is inserted into the ignition.

If the signal is recognized by the chip, the ignition is unlocked. If you own a vehicle with a transponder key system, it can be very difficult for thieves to bypass the system and get inside your car.

They will need to have a transponder key bypass kit and understand the diagram first before they can get their hands on your car. The transponder technology makes it virtually impossible to start your car without the correct key. 

hand holding keys from car. How Do You Bypass An Ignition Immobilizer

What Causes an Ignition Immobilizer To Be Non-Responsive?

One thing that you need to avoid when you have an old immobilizer system that does not use the transponder chip technology is a weak key fob battery. 

If you ever notice the immobilizer is not responding to the key fob, it might be because the key fob battery is weak and needs to be replaced. Always bring a spare CR2032 battery with you.

Always remember your 4-digit emergency key access code if you have this kind of immobilizer system in your car. This way, you can easily bypass the system.

You can also do the same if you have a transponder key. Some transponder keys use the same CR2032 battery while some don't have a battery at all.

If you happen to have a transponder key with no battery, try to check if moisture has penetrated the inside. Moisture can disrupt the chip and cause it to malfunction. The plastic housing could loosen over time and allow condensed moisture to get inside.

It is also possible that the battery (for battery-operated transponder keys) could be dead or damaged due to prolonged exposure to moisture. 

In addition, moisture is also a perfect breeding ground for corrosion, so if you've had your key fob for a long time, it might be good to look inside and check for corrosion. 

Check out this CR2032 battery on Amazon.

Common Causes Why Immobilizers Become Unresponsive

1. Tampering

When you are having problems with your car's immobilizer, it could mean that someone has attempted to tamper with the system in order to render it inoperable.

Check for physical signs of tampering in the ignition system like scratches, loosening, or misalignment of the ignition switch. Check also the driver's door lock for any signs of twisting and turning.

2. Wiring problems

When the vehicle's immobilizer becomes unresponsive, it means that the ECU has detected something that prevents it from operating. And oftentimes, wiring issues in the ignition system are to blame for this malfunction. 

3. Radiofrequency interference

If your key fob malfunctions, it could be a result of RFI. Radiofrequency interference (RFI) is caused by the electromagnetic radiation generated by high-frequency radio waves. The radiation can travel through the air and be picked up by an electrical circuit.

As a result, it can cause changes in the voltage and currents in the wiring of the key fob, which can adversely affect the operation of the vehicle's electronic systems. RFI can also come from many sources including cell phones, microwaves, or cordless phones.

woman using a mobile phone indoors

4. Software issues

Your car's anti-theft system works hard to protect your vehicle. And while this protection does a good job of keeping thieves at bay, it also puts you in danger if you forget to update your car's anti-theft system.

You should always maintain the latest software updates to your car or truck. You wouldn't want to get in your car and find out that you didn't receive a software update that could have prevented a serious problem from occurring, would you?

This is why it's critical to keep your car or truck software up to date. It's also why you need to set up a schedule to do this on a regular basis. Some auto manufacturers even offer this as an option for free.

The idea is to make sure your car is always running the latest software. And if you do this, you're less likely to experience synchronization problems.

But it's not just software updates that you need to keep an eye on. There are also certain firmware updates that can affect your vehicle's operation. For example, it's important to keep your car's electronic control unit (ECU) firmware updated as well.

An ECU is a small computer that controls various functions of the vehicle. When the ECU firmware is outdated, you can run into many different types of issues.

For example, you may have downloaded the latest anti-theft software for your car but failed to update the ECU's firmware.

This can result in synchronization problems and your anti-theft software may not work as intended. However, this can be an isolated case since an ECU update almost always includes security updates and fixes, too. 

Technician tuning engine car with the computer laptop in repair garage

How To Bypass an Ignition Immobilizer

To bypass an ignition immobilizer that requires an access code, here's what you need to do:

1. Open and close the driver's door.

2. Insert the key in the driver's door lock.

3. Turn the key to the lock position.

4. Turn the key to the unlock position a number of times to match the first digit. For example, if the first digit of your access code is 2, then you should turn the key twice to the unlock position. 

5. Do the same for the following digit, but this time around, turn the key to the lock position. 

6. Repeat the process in an alternate fashion until you complete the code. 

7. Lock the car with the key so you won't have to enter the code again. The immobilizer will activate again after 30 seconds if you close the door and forget to lock it.

Can Car Thieves Bypass Ignition Immobilizer?

Yes, they can, and they do it through relay theft. Relay theft is a crime that's very common. It happens when a device mimics the signal of another device and tricks the receiver into thinking it is talking to the original key fob. 

In most cases, a relay works by using a transmitter to transmit a signal to the receiver. The transmitter emits a specific signal that looks like the signal the receiver is expecting, so it will activate. However, the transmitter is actually just transmitting a copy of the original signal.

To understand what relay theft is and how it works, it's important to know that all remote controls use radio frequencies to communicate with other devices, such as your car's key fob to your car.

The car's remote key fob transmits a radio frequency signal when it's in range of the car's built-in receiver. But what happens if someone else has a transmitter that's transmitting a stronger signal?

The result is that the original transmitter is ignored, and a stronger signal gets transmitted instead. This is called "relay theft" because it's like having someone steal your car's relay to give him the go-ahead to drive.

Check out this transponder immobilizer bypass module on Amazon.

Bypassing Immobilizer Through OBDII Port

As the popularity of mobile technology has increased, so has the number of vehicles being targeted by thieves who are looking for quick and easy ways to steal vehicles.

From deliberately unlocking cars just to prank the owner to vehicles that have been reported stolen, criminals are getting more creative than ever. One of these creative ways is to program a new fob key by downloading a digital key through the OBDII port

These hackers are developing software that can access a car's software and reprogram the key fob. This allows the hacker to start your car, open the doors, and drive the car without your authorization.

Some car manufacturers offer anti-theft software on their vehicles. While this is helpful, hackers are working on ways to hack into those systems as well. They may have already found a way to get through that.

OBD2 port for vehicle electronic diagnostic under the car dashboard

Does Disconnecting Car Battery Reset Immobilizer?

The short answer is no, it won't reset the immobilizer. If you find yourself in a situation where the alarm is triggered and you think that you can shut it off by disconnecting the battery, then stop and reconnect the car battery because there's a better and easier way to do it.

You can only shut the alarm off through the key fob. Chances are you have a weak battery in your key fob that needs replacing.

car key with remote in the ignition switch

In Closing

If you have your 4-digit access code handy, you may be able to use it to unlock your vehicle in the event that the immobilizer system fails. If your car has an RFID-enabled transponder key, you can bypass the immobilizer by inserting the key in the ignition and turning and switching it on both sides until the vehicle starts. Some vehicles may take longer than others to recognize the key. 

You might also like:

How To Test Keyless Entry Remote

Can A Transponder Key Go Bad?

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  1. Not my first experience with an immobilizer leaving me stranded but it is the first time I’ve had any success. I put the chipped key in where the ignition cylinder goes and turned the ignition on five times and it recognized the key and deactivated the immobilizer

  2. Hi I drive a 1994 1.8 Jetta CARBURETTOR my car have no fire on the Distributor I replaced the coil and Distributor but still no fire can you help me please

  3. My car does nothing when I turn key and immobilizer light is on nothing is working I’ve tried so so many things this is our only family vehicle is there anything I can do thanks

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