Up until 2003 Subaru’s were a fairly easy target and were constantly up there in the list of most stolen cars. However since Subaru introduced a factory fitted Immobiliser and Microdots in to all NZ vehicles produced after March 2003 things have changed.
The statistics from Australia show that Subaru theft has dropped by over 90% on post 2003 models. It would be fair to assume that the same could be said of NZ new Subaru’s which also feature the same security, but due to the high number of Japanese Imports on our roads which may or may not have an Immobiliser it is not possible to collect the data.
How Do You Know If Your Subaru Has An Immobiliser?
Given that about 2/3 cars in New Zealand are Japanese imports it is not always clear which vehicles actually have an Immobiliser. The basic rule I tend to go by is if there is a flashing red light in the instrument cluster (when the key is out of the ignition and the car is unlocked) then it probably does have an Immobiliser. The flashing light will either be a key symbol (as shown in the Subaru Legacy video below) or a simple LED with the words “Security” below.
Be warned as there are some Legacy models that have a key symbol that flashes when the O/E alarm is armed, yet have no immobiliser. The alarm is very basic and only has door intrusion protection, plus disarms as soon as the ignition turns on.
Transponder Car Key?
If your car key is the plain old fashion metal type with no plastic handle then you can be certain that it has no Immobiliser, but most modern keys have the remote central locking buttons built into the key. Some will have a transponder chip enclosed within the case, others will not, the easiest way to find out is to open the key up.
Inside the Subaru Key
If your key has no transponder Immobiliser Chip but has the space for one then it is possible to fit one inside the key that works with an after market immobiliser. I have done this to numerous vehicles (not just Subaru’s) as it is a better solution than having a separate transponder tag on your key ring. I have also gone to the trouble of fitting the LED warning light inside the instrument cluster to give it that factory look.
It is also possible to install a transponder chip into the Remote found on the Cobra AK4198 which is a clean solution.
How Do Transponder Immobilisers Work?
A transponder Immobiliser requires the Transponder Chip to be in proximity of the Ignition barrel to allow the vehicle to start, if there is no Transponder Chip in range then the vehicle will not start. The great thing with a transponder immobiliser is that there are no batteries to worry about and the system is completely passive, in other word no action is required by the driver as the Immobiliser will simply turn off when the correct key is inserted into ignition barrel.