NZSA 3 Star or Thatcham CAT 2

No Immobiliser!

If you’re looking to prevent your vehicle from getting stolen then getting a good electronic immobiliser is recommended. Insurance approved Immobilisers are rated as AS/NZS 4601:2003 (3 star), or the more respected   Thatcham CAT 2 standard.

What makes an Immobiliser effective?

An immobiliser is only going to be effective if it is installed to a high standard. Immobilisers that are bulky limit where they can be hidden whereas a compact immobiliser can be placed in a hard to reach location making it harder for a would be thief to attack.

Attack Proof Immobiliser Enclosure

Thatcham CAT 2 Immobiliser

The security casing that houses the immobiliser circuit is an important factor. If it is easy to open then it is easy to by-pass. Thatcham requires CAT 2 immobilisers to have an attack proof security housing. Most Thatcham approved immobilisers are housed in 1.2mm+ steel or equivalent, or filled with a hard setting resin. The housing maybe glued, welded, riveted, cast or screwed together with one way screws. There are also other tests procedures that the enclosure must pass.

NZSA 3 Star Standards?

NZSA 3 Star Immobiliser

Although the NZSA are no longer associated with vehicle security, they were responsible for setting up the “Star rating system”. To gain a 3 star approval an immobiliser must comply with AS/NZS4601 amendment 1 2003 . This Standard is only for Australia and New Zealand and it must be noted that most 3 star Immobilisers fail to reach Thatcham CAT 2 requirements.

As the AS/NZS4601 amendment 1 2003 standard is not as stringent as the Thatcham standard this probably explains why most immobilisers here don’t have very effective enclosures.

The Need For Higher Standards?

Given that about 2/3 cars in NZ are Japanese imports, which more often than not have no factory immobiliser, there are a huge number of vehicles which could be considered as a soft target. I would go as far as to say that most vehicles with a  3 star immobiliser (or dare I say it even a 4 or 5 star alarm) installed remain a soft target. I remove and replace a huge number of alarms and Immobilisers and 9/10 of those that I rip out are extremely poor. This goes for both the installation and the Immobiliser. Whilst I don’t have the statistics on how many vehicles with an after market Immobiliser get stolen each year I would expect it to be a surprisingly large number.

To back up my view about the lack of standards (compared to those set by Thatcham) I will refer to a post involving the Immobiliser on the Mongoose M60 and M80.

It came to light that it was possible to program both systems to prevent the immobilisers form Auto arming. I raised my concerns with the NZSA who carried out an investigation yet still approve the systems. This simply proves my point about the lack of standards and my belief that they need to be reviewed. There is certainly a view that after market security is not effective in NZ and on the whole I have to agree with this. However if the right immobiliser is chosen and it is installed by a competent installer then it can still make a big difference.

Poor immobiliser installation.

Cutting the starter and ignition wires at the ignition barrel maybe quick and easy to do, (which is what so many of the local car audio shops do) but it’s also going to make the immobiliser easy to by-pass. Not only are the wires now easy to identify, but they are now extended which makes it easier to hot-wire the car then if it had no security system at all!

Effective immobiliser installation

A good installation is basically a game of hide and seek and cable dressing. It’s a skill you need to be well practised at and it helps if you’ve learnt from someone who shares the passion for good workmanship. It’s also vital to have a good knowledge about how vehicle electrics work and even have the vehicles wiring schematics to help find good immobilisation points that are not obvious.

Having a small well hidden attack proof immobiliser security case also means that it can not be located quickly as simply by-passed.

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6 Responses to NZSA 3 Star or Thatcham CAT 2

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