Transponder Immobilisers

Transponder Immobiliser

Transponder Immobiliser systems are beyond any doubt the easiest security system to live with. There are no buttons to press and no batteries to go flat so they require no thought or action from the driver. They prevent the vehicle from being hot-wired and are a very effective method of preventing car theft.

How do Transponder Immobilisers work?

A small transponder chip is usually located inside the plastic handle of the car key. When it is in proximity of the ignition barrel (usually about 5 – 10 cm) it allows the vehicle to start. The transponder chip has a unique code frequency that is recognised by the cars immobiliser system. If the chip is not seen then the car will not run.

How can I tell if I have a Transponder Immobiliser?

Subaru Key Opened Up

First of take a good look at your car key, if it is just a plain metal key then you don’t have one, however if you have a key with a plastic handle then you may have one. If your key has the remote built into the handle then you maybe able to take it apart and have a look. This is covered in the Subaru Immobiliser post which despite being about the Subaru key is still relevant regardless of your make of car. The Chip will either look like the type shown in the Subaru remote (see photo) or a tube glass tube type in the top photo.

European Cars Lead the way

All European cars made after 1998 come with a transponder immobilser as standard, but most of the cars here are Japanese imports. Even some of the 2011 models still don’t have them!

I highly recommend checking the compliance PDF on the Thatcham website to see what is listed for your make and model of car.

Do you have a plain metal key?

Old metal keys with no Immobiliser chip

Old metal keys with no Immobiliser chip

Remember if you have a plain metal key that starts the car then you don’t have an immobiliser.

If your key has a plastic handle of remote locking buttons then you may have one, but don’t assume that you do.

If you are not sure then you I’d suggest that you let me test the car first.

If you’re not from Wellington then talk to a good automotive locksmith who can test the key or the official car dealer service department. (Not some used car dealer!)

After Market Transponder Immobiliser Systems

Immobiliser Fob

Most after market transponder immobiliser come with a tag that hooks onto your cars keyring, however it is possible for me to replace the tag with a small transponder chip an insert it into the key handle (assuming that there is space inside).

The Dyantron D7600 alarm has a transponder remote so is a good option for ease of use.

I’ll be reviewing the other transponder Immobilisers in the coming weeks.

Autowatch 573PPi

Dynatron D2200

Mongoose M25

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11 Responses to Transponder Immobilisers

  1. Pingback: Autowatch 573PPi | Obsessive Vehicle Security Blog

  2. Pingback: Dynatron D2200 | Obsessive Vehicle Security Blog

  3. Rick says:

    We’re talking about straight immobilizers here right? As opposed to immobilizer/alarm combos. When would you choose such a device? I used to have one that I added to complement a car’s factory alarm that only nobbled the starter when the alarm went off. I could still use the factory remote to unlock and disarm the car but the passive immobilizer provided proper disabling of the ignition system. It was great. Until it broke. It was a less than stellar brand but there didn’t seem to be any alternative at the time.

    Would you use one of these, for example, in a car that otherwise has no security at all? Or would you always recommend the alarm combo in that case?

  4. Julian says:

    The post simply covers stand alone transponder immobilisers, be it a factory fitted one or after market option.

    As it is the Immobiliser that stops the vehicle from being hot-wired they are very effective. You only have to look at the reduction of car theft in Europe since 1998 (Year made compulsory) to see this.

    Personally I have an Autowatch 573PPi in the Beat as well as a Cobra AK4147. The Advantage of having a separate immobiliser is that it does not contain the hazard relays which click when the alarm is triggered. The clicking can give away the rough location of where to alarm module is hidden (or is not hidden as is often the case if a Muppet has installed it!). The other advantage is that I don’t ever need press the remote to disarm the immobiliser. The down side is that the combo solution is more expensive, but then that’s not exactly a concern for me seeing that I’m not paying for my own labour!

    Not everyone has the budget for a full immobiliser/alarm and some people don’t like alarms, so if it’s only the car you’re looking to protect and not the contents then a transponder immobiliser is a great solution.

  5. Rick says:

    Having separate immobiziler and alarm modules is a great strategy I hadn’t considered before – good call! Even if a crim finds their way to the alarm and presuming the immobilizer is hidden in a completely different place, the car is still undrivable unless the crim is super persisent, has good problem solving skills and has a lot of time.

    And the stealthy immobilizer only is great for doing the primary job (stopping the car getting nicked) without all that obnoxious noise. Hopefully insurance companies understand this and don’t get hung up on “no alarm”.

    And as a complement to a factory alarm that’s 3 scenarios where you might want an aftermarket one of these.

  6. Investigation Services says:

    Cars should always be parked in well-lit areas, preferably where they can be seen by others, or in a secure car-park. A thief is less likely to want to spend time breaking into a vehicle if there are plenty of passers-by. When parked at home, cars should always be locked in a garage if one is available. Whenever the car is parked steering-wheel locks should be used and any car alarm activated.

  7. This sure is helpful in making your car more secure. Of course, people shouldn’t just rely on these ones. They still have to install the car alarms and other safety measures inside to avoid worst scenarios. Btw, are there any failures with these immobilisers so far? Or has owners of such proven that it should be trend among car owners nowadays?

  8. Julian says:

    I believe the reliability of such systems is proven. All cars made after 1998 in Europe have them and I’m sure there would be some publicity if there were reliability issues.
    Rather then call it a trend I would say it should be a standard feature. It just illustrates how behind the times we are in NZ when in comes to vehicle security!

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