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Car Immobilizers: How Do They Work?

One of the most expensive things you interact with every day is your car. They are everywhere on the streets, and losing one will put a huge dent in anyone’s wallet.

Thefts of cars happen all the time. It’s imperative that you remain vigilant: lock your car, keep your keys safe, park in a safe place, and check that everything in your car is working.

Most drivers have become accustomed to being vigilant. It is well known that there are dangers out there, and we are accustomed to being on alert at all times.

That’s why carjacking prevention technology is so important. The fastest and most readily available targets are likely to be chosen by thieves, because they are crafty and innovative. It is essential for car owners and manufacturers to keep their cars secure and impossible to steal.

In the beginning, cars were secured with locks and keys. Their ignitions also had similar mechanisms, so no one could turn on the engine without inserting the correct key.

Car manufacturers had to innovate when thieves learned how to hot-wire cars and mess with the ignition cylinder to start the engine without the right key. After all, their cars couldn’t be exposed to this vulnerable bypass.

Immobilizers can help with that. To prevent carjackings, how do immobilizers work? An immobilizer only allows the engine to run if the correct key is inserted into the ignition. Engine immobilizers cannot be bypassed by any of the typical bypass techniques. There is a lot more security in cars now.

When it comes to lock solutions, our Locksmith in Toronto is the first person you should contact. With our no-hassle service, they will help you get back on track quickly with emergency lockout assistance, automotive lockouts, residential lockouts, and commercial lockouts.

What is the mechanism of an immobilizer? Is that really how secure they are? In that case, why do carjackings still occur?

What you need to know about car immobilizers is:

Car Immobilizers

The Immobilizer's Working Principle

An immobilizer prevents your car’s engine from turning on unless your key fob is inside.

Your car’s immobilizer is what starts it if you have a keyless entry system or smart car key. The immobilizer still needs to detect your battery-powered key fob before allowing the engine to start if you have a key entry system.

In order to send this data, how does an immobilizer work?

Key fob data is read by a wireless transmitter and sent to the immobilizer. Encrypted data can only be accessed by computers with a unique encryption key. Your key fob can be unlocked by the immobilizer with the correct encryption key. Upon unencrypting the data, the immobilizer checks to see if it matches.

“Rolling codes” are used in some more advanced versions of the car, which change every time someone starts it. The code on these keys remains static and unchanging. Besides the static code, they also store a changing code that must be checked by the immobilizer after the first static code. By doing this, both devices must maintain two codes at the same time and be able to switch between them.

What is the role of an immobilizer in this situation? It can be determined whether the car was started with the correct key fob if the data matches the immobilizer’s system. The engine can then be started. Since key fobs cannot be replaced, they are effective theft prevention devices.

It wasn’t until the late 20th century that immobilizers became widely used. The European Union passed a law in 1998 requiring immobilizers to be fitted to all cars manufactured in Europe. There was a decline in the number of carjackings after that.

Seeing this decline, the United Kingdom, Australia, and later Canada followed suit with similar laws. After immobilizers became mandatory in these countries, carjacking rates decreased as well.

The rates have recently climbed back up again, unfortunately. The question is, how?

In order to understand immobilizers’ problems, we must first understand their strengths. What are the safety benefits of immobilizers?

The Safety of Immobilizers

What is the process of stealing a car? The phrase “hot-wiring” probably popped into your head even if you’ve never robbed a car.

Find the wires that connect the ignition to the engine under the steering wheel to hot-wire a car. This process is how a working ignition activates. Then, you need to cross two different wires: one that tells the car the ignition is in the “on” position and the car’s starter.

You need to know a bit about the inner workings of the car you’re stealing, so it’s not an incredibly easy process. Wires on different models are colored differently, and you need to know what they do. Don’t try this at home, as it’s very easy to electrocute yourself.

A carjacker begins by twisting the battery wires together. The ignition wire is then connected. The car is turned on, but the engine doesn’t start. It is necessary for the carjacker to briefly connect the starter wire in order to do this. As a result, the carjacker is able to drive.

In order to safely hot-wire a car, you need an understanding of the wires and the skill to avoid being electrocuted (which can easily happen by accident). In spite of this, car thieves became increasingly interested in it during the late 20th century. It was necessary to take action.

What is the process of immobilizing a vehicle to prevent this from happening? Despite crossing the correct wires, they won’t allow the engine to start and can’t be physically accessed like wires. Modern cars are generally not intended to be hot-wired. You may not be able to start the car, or you may be electrocuted at worst.

Immobilizers won’t release without the specific data transmitted inside the properly functioning key fob. When there is no key fob present, how does an immobilizer work? Their effectiveness in grounding and preventing movement of a vehicle is excellent. Your immobilizer prevents your car from starting even if your key fob does not work.


In the battle between thieves and manufacturers, the immobilizer is a significant invention.

A car’s security must be layered, just like any other kind of security. Experienced car thieves are more likely to have automotive lock pick sets, for instance. How likely is it that they have an automotive lock pick set and the knowledge and training to hot-wire? What about a set of automotive lock picks, knowledge of hot-wiring, and the ability to crack cryptographic sequencing to deactivate the immobilizer?

What are the mechanisms behind immobilizers that prevent bypasses? There isn’t always a need for it.

It is possible for a dedicated thief to bypass an immobilizer, but most thieves are not capable of doing so. It is especially important when there are still cars without immobilizers on the road. In addition to having poor security, classic cars are expensive collector’s items.

Once again, it depends on where you stand in an arms race. Knowing how to crack immobilizers has become increasingly important as they have become more common.

Because of this, anyone looking to steal cars (or anyone with a stuck key) is going to look into immobilizers as they begin to run out of “easier” options. When it comes to immobilizers, how do they work?

Immobilizers must be deployed and developed quickly by manufacturers. There is work being done on that by car manufacturers. People may have a harder to crack immobilizers in a few years.

Immobilizers are useful despite their flaws. They can be very effective if they are programmed correctly. The game has changed for the better since their invention, but they changed it forever. You’d still have to worry about regular hot-wiring if there were no immobilizers.

You should focus on cryptographic sequencing and wireless transmitters for now. What is the effect of an immobilizer on those types of devices? Nevertheless, they’re less accessible than screwdrivers and pliers for hotwiring. Immobilizers are a blessing in disguise when it comes down to it.

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These are just a few licenses and certifications and memberships Matrix Locksmith Toronto can show case the residence of Richmond Hill to ensure safety and peace of mind.

taol the association of Ontario locksmiths
ILOC institutional locksmiths organization of Canada
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matrix locksmith Richmond hill