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Everything You Need To Know About Engine Immobilizer

Vehicles are one of the most prized possessions for any individual. Probably this is the reason why each one of us, do our best to keep it protected from theft and damage. From dash cams to gear locks, ensuring the safety of your beloved vehicle is something that you can never ignore. As a major element of security onboard modern vehicles, the engine immobilizer is one of the most integral components of safety and security. So here is everything you need to know about an engine immobilizer.

What is Engine Immobilizer?

Engine Immobilizer
  • An Engine Immobilizer in simple words is an electronic security device that is used by billions of modern vehicles around the globe. An Engine Immobilizer technologically uses an electronic chip that is embedded into the ECU of the vehicle to comprehend smart key codes and turn on the ignition on your vehicle.Download The App Now!

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How Does An Engine Immobilizer Work?

Engine Immobilizer Dashboard Warning Light
Immobilizer Dashboard Warning Light
  • As an anti-theft system that is sophisticatedly built into the engine ECT, the engine immobilizer prevents the engine from starting in the absence of the vehicle’s authentic and authorized keys. To do that, an immobilizer uses a specially designed digitally coded key that is often dubbed as Smart Keys.
  • These keys contain a transponder chip within them that stores electronic security that can be understood much like the vehicle’s password. When inserted, the immobilizer processes the security code on the smart key’s chip with that embedded on the vehicle’s ECU. Once a perfect match is established, an engine immobilizer activated the fuel system and the ignition circuit.
  • If the match isn’t the same, the ECU fails to activate the fuel system, thereby preventing thieves from starting your beloved vehicle. In modern-day vehicles with keyless entry or engine start/stop feature, the portable smart keys transmit a security code to the code processor within the ECU, which then matches the two and thereby allows the start/stop function to work.

Also Read: 5 Best Safety/Security Car Accessories For Your Car

Electronic Immobilizers

  • As technology advanced, conventional immobilizers were further developed into advanced electronic Engine Immobilizer systems that use rolling/changing security codes. This system consists of Two-Tier security levels comprising of a permanent code and an additional changing code.
  • Each time the key starts the ignition; the intelligent system changes the second code and pushes it into the key. Whenever ignition is turned off, the immobilizer first processes the personal code and then moves on to process the second rolling code.
  • Only when both the codes match, the engine is allowed to start. In case of a mismatch or in the absence of the second security code, the engine will fail to start, even if someone tries short-circuiting the ignition circuit. Thanks to this sophisticated technology, codes onboard smart keys and ECUs cannot be easily duplicated. In case of key loss, only the authorized dealers can deactivate the lost key.

So this was everything you need to know about Engine Immobilizer. Stay tuned to the GoMechanic blog for everything automotive.

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Sankul Nagpal
Sankul Nagpal
Advocate || Creative and Legal Content and Copyright Specialist || Freelancer


  1. I got a 07Buick Lacrosse CXL 3800 Motor when I start the car and drive it about a mile it shut off Wait about 35 second turn the key time it starts what is problem


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