Subaru Immobiliser

Up until 2003 Subaru’s were a fairly easy target and constantly up there in the list of most stolen cars. However, since Subaru introduced a factory fitted Immobiliser and Microdots into 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. Although 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?

Subaru Car KeyIf your car key is the plain old fashion metal type with no plastic handle then you can be certain that it has no Immobiliser.  Having a remote key is no guarantee of an immobiliser. The best way to find out is to open it and see if there is a transponder chip enclosed within the case.

Inside the Subaru Key

Subaru Key Opened Up

Transponder Chip Fits Inside Key Handle

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 aftermarket 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 words, no action is required by the driver as the Immobiliser will simply turn off when the correct key is inserted into ignition barrel.

Note: I do not sell Subaru Remote Keys!

This entry was posted in Car Security, Immobilisers, Obsessive Installs, Subaru. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Subaru Immobiliser

  1. Avatar obsessed says:

    Here’s an interesting read which is kind of related

  2. Pingback: Transponder Immobilisers | Obsessive Vehicle Security Blog

  3. Avatar jooner says:

    I am a Subaru driver and considering to go ahead with the COBRA AK4198 as mentioned in the text, but I could not find any detail with regards the transponder chip it supposed to have. I had looked at the details of COBRA AK4198 and its manuals and spec sheets etc…. So do you have to dismantle the remote provided with the AK4198 to find this transponder chip which you then put it into the Subaru key housing?

  4. Julian Julian says:

    This post explains all you need to know about the Subaru immobiliser. The AK4198 does not have a transponder
    Feel welcome to give me a call when I’m back from holiday (17th August) if you like to discuss it

  5. Avatar jooner says:

    I have a 2006 JDM import Subaru Outback that did NOT come with original keys. I only have a simple metal key and currently to lock the car I have to press the central lock button to lock the car and then lock the main driver side door!
    I suspect the factory immobilizer is removed or disabled.

    So I was hoping if I install an alarm / immobilizer that had a transponder chip, I can cut a New Subaru Key with such housing where I could place a transponder chip from a New Immobilizer to do a clean install. so Cobra AK4198 is out of the question then?

  6. Julian Julian says:

    With your Outback being an import it would not have come with an immobiliser.

  7. Julian Julian says:

    Autowatch make the 573PPi which is a good transponder immobiliser. The Cobra AK4198 would make a excellent remote alarm for your Legacy.

  8. Avatar jooner says:

    Good as gold.

    So Autowatch 573PPi would be an extra immobiliser in conjunction with the Cobra AK4198.

    The Big question…. Will I be carrying around all of the following?
    A) Autowatch 573 PPi transponder tag
    B) Cobra AK4198 remote
    C) Simple Metal Car Key

    Or is there any way I can integrate all of the above into a genuine looking Subaru key with the transponder tag embeded and also work as a remote?

    I can imagine this would require the following procedures:

    A) an after market 4D62 Transponder chip to fit into OEM Subaru Key replacing the 573 PPi Transponder tag with reprogramming (is it even possible?)

    B) Cobra4198 remote reprogrammed into the OEM Subaru Key (again would this even be possible…?)

    Sorry if I am being picky but I really can not imagine my key chain with lotsa things dangling….

  9. Avatar Josh says:

    Heya, Awesome site!

    I have a 2008 WRX STI (Import) with factory fitted immobiliser.

    I’m having trouble getting solid advice and before purchasing blindly.. I’d love to know;
    – Which Cobra would you recommend?
    – Do you have any contacts in Auckland who install this brand of Alarm?

    Enjoy your holiday! Thanks.

  10. Julian Julian says:

    Hi Josh,

    AK4615 assuming that you have working remote keys.

    No Auckland installers I can recommend but I know a good Hamilton installer if you’re willing to travel. P.M. if you want details.

  11. Julian Julian says:

    Hi Jooner,

    Flick me an email and I’ll explain the options in detail when I’m back from holiday.

  12. Julian Julian says:

    Hi Jooner,

    I can fit a transponder chip into a key head which is what I have done on my wagon.

    It is not possible to simply re-code remote controls to work on different frequencies. You’ll either need to go to Subaru and get factory remote keys sorted then an OEM upgrade alarm will work such as the Cobra AK4615, or you’ll need to put up with having a separate remote to the key.

  13. Avatar Tom says:

    Purchased 2015 Subaru Outback.
    Wife turns car off and Immobilizer icon starts flashing like crazy.
    Went nuts looking for the bloody icon in the Quick Reference Guide, eventually found it in the manual. This is a normal keyed entry system. Going nuts on trying to figure out how just to get the icon from flashing. Will have wife start auto…run it and then shut down and see what happens. I just hope this is not another weird electrical problem.
    Anyone have ideas on how to stop this icon from flashing….its red so you figure it requires immediate attention…well thats what I’m trying to figure out.

  14. Julian Julian says:

    Hi Tom,

    It sounds like your Subaru has a transponder immobiliser. The LED/key icon will flash when the key is out of the ignition. When you say “flashing like crazy” can you be more descriptive? Is it simply blinking as you make it sound like it’s doing cart wheels across the dash!

  15. Avatar Guy Davies says:

    Julian,I have a 2006 Subaru Outback Japanese import with two keys identical to he one shown above on your Blog, with transponders.
    I have an owners manual in Japanese!
    one key only operated the central locking at close range, I changed the battery and it no longer works the central locking.
    There is no code internally on the key, Is this key reprogrammed by:- connecting the two cables behind the cover to the right of the accelerator, pressing Lock on the working remote then Lock on the one to be programmed. Then pressing Open on the working remote followed by Open on the one to be programmed.
    Any help appreciated.


  16. Julian Julian says:

    Hi Guy,

    Without having access to the car and the key there is not much I can do to help you. Take it into your local Subaru dealership or find a good automotive locksmith to help you.

  17. Avatar Aidan says:

    Hi please help me…
    So I have a 1999 legacy g.t

    We made the battery’s flat as we never used it much and we broke intoo it to unlock the bonnet to change the battery but now for some reason our car won’t start or even show any lights nothing at all…I can’t find the name for the alarm either and no manual for the alarm

  18. Julian Julian says:

    Hi Aidan,

    Not much I can do to help without knowing what make of alarm I’m dealing with. If you are in Wellington then give me a call during work hours and I’ll book you in to sort it out.

  19. Avatar Aidan says:

    Sorry I’m in taranaki and thanks for the reply I’ll try sort the alarm type after work

  20. Avatar Aidan says:

    Hay it’s a mongooses alarm hope it helps email me if u need more info thanks

  21. Julian Julian says:

    Hi Aidan,

    As the car is not in Wellington there is little I can do for you.
    Contact Mongoose NZ to see who your nearest dealer is.

  22. Avatar Josh Mann says:

    I have just imported a 2007 impreza wrx and I am pretty sure it does not have a immobiliser and I need one!
    Im in Welly as well

  23. Julian Julian says:

    Hi Josh,

    No problem feel welcome to give me a call to discuss, or fill in the Contact form and I can email you some options.


  24. Avatar Winz says:

    I sent my car in for work at the mechanics. It has a Immbolizer on it which is linked to the alarm system and ignition start when I picked up car yesterday the whole Immbolizer system is no longer going and I’m able to start the car without beeping the key also I’m unable to lock it? Mechanic said he pulled a live wire on it or something does anyone know what it could be

  25. Julian Julian says:

    I suggest this is a conversation you should be having with your mechanic. I’d need some serious sorcery skills to know what has been done to the car without seeing it!

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