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Car immobiliser repairs

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Immobiliser fault

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What is a car immobiliser?

A car immobiliser consists of three components: control unit, relay unit and key. An immobiliser is an electronic device that won’t allow a vehicle to start unless the correct key or key fob is used.

Since October 1998, a car immobiliser is a compulsory component that all new cars in England and Wales must have. The best type of car immobiliser is the factory-fitted immobiliser because they are guaranteed to fit properly and will be made for your car model specifications.

The way car immobilisers function is that when you start your car, the key or fob will send an electronic code to the ECU. This will allow the engine to start.

However, if the car is being stolen and the thief tries to use a different key or fob, the immobiliser would kick in and prevent the ECU from receiving that signal to start the engine. That is why it’s important that a faulty car immobiliser is repaired as soon as you notice the fault.

There are different types of immobilisers too, some of which require a manual PIN code, while others need a touch key. Most modern immobilisers can be operated with smartphone apps via Bluetooth.

Car immobiliser repair average costs

As you can see in the below table, the costs to get your car immobiliser fixed can vary depending on the make and model of your car. The average cost of car immobiliser repair quotes on WhoCanFixMyCar is around £100.

Car MakeAverage Price
Audi£110.32
Mercedes£118.67
BMW£109.94
Volkswagen£143.13
MINI£78.94
Ford£107.86
Vauxhall£106.03
Nissan£100.35
Volvo£74.92
Renault£103.65
Peugeot£90.14

  • Car immobiliser repair

    The average cost of an immobiliser repair is on average £97 on WhoCanFixMyCar.

    If your car immobiliser is faulty, or you're finding that your car won't start even though the correct key is being used, you may need to get the immobiliser system repaired. A mechanic will need to inspect if the car immobiliser is damaged or faulty first to make the right call if a repair is needed.

    Can include
    • Diagnostic
    • Car key battery replacement
    • Transponder chip replacement
    • Mobile car immobiliser repair
  • Car key programming and coding

    The average cost of car key programming booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £143.89.

    Electronic keys are highly convenient and secure, but like anything, they can become damaged and stop working. When your car begins to fail to recognise your key's unique code, it's time to get it reprogrammed. An auto locksmith can diagnose and recode your car keys to help you get back on the road.

    Can include
    • Key card reprogramming
    • Remote fob reprogramming
    • Flip key reprogramming
  • Mobile mechanic

    The average cost of a mobile mechanic booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £62.54.

    A mobile mechanic will visit you at your home or workplace and can carry out a wide range of different repairs. If the repair is more complex, the mechanic will collect your car, take it to a garage to be repaired, and drop it off when it's finished. The exact cost of a mobile mechanic will depend on the repair you need.

    Can include
    • Home visit
    • Servicing
    • Tyre change
    • Oil change
    • Recommended repairs

Common car immobiliser repairs

Car fob battery replacement

You may need a car key battery replacement if you attempt to unlock your car doors remotely, but they won’t unlock. Most modern-day vehicles don’t have the keyholes outside the doors, so they cannot be manually opened with a key. In the same way, if you fail to lock the car from the outside with the fob, then it might be a battery issue.

Transponder chip replacement

Like all electronics, transponder chips can stop working after some time of use. A transponder chip is basically a tiny motherboard which is inserted within the plastic top of the vehicle key.

When the key is inserted into the ignition, this chip transmits a signal to the car immobiliser to alert that the right key has been used.

A faulty transponder chip means that the engine might turn-over but the car will not go anywhere. If the transponder is damaged, you will still be able to open the locks on your car, but getting the car to start will be problematic.

Car immobiliser repair

There is a possibility that your actual car immobiliser needs repairing if the car is able to be unlocked, and the key is functioning well.

A garage technician will need to examine the car immobiliser if it is damaged or faulty. The technician might find that the wires are corroded or damaged, which is causing the car immobiliser to stop working well. Alternatively, there is a chance the ECU or sensors are faulty.

Top warning signs your car immobiliser needs attention

  • Central locking is not working at all or is touch-and-go

  • The car immobiliser light comes on the dashboard

  • Car key or fob stops working so no longer unlocks or locks the doors of the car

  • Ignition key does not turn

  • The vehicle starts but then stops suddenly

  • The car alarm will not work

Many of these common car immobiliser problems are caused by key fobs losing their coding. The reason for this can be down to corroded or defected wiring with the key, or an issue with the ECU.

Is a car immobiliser repair necessary?

A car immobiliser repair is needed if it is faulty or not working. When you notice the immobiliser problems in your car, you should contact a garage for a car immobiliser repair. There is a chance you may need to get your car towed to a garage if the car will not unlock at all, or the engine doesn’t start.

Find local car immobiliser repair specialists, mechanics, and garages

Looking for reputable car immobiliser repair garages near you? There are numerous car immobiliser repair specialists, mechanics and garages on our network. We make finding a car immobiliser repair garage easier for you.

  • Enter your car registration number

  • Give us a few details about your car and your requirements

  • We'll send you a great selection of quotes from mechanics and garages in your area.

Get your car immobiliser repaired at home

You can ask a mobile mechanic to check your car immobiliser from home. Many of us lead busy lifestyles and it may be inconvenient to take your vehicle to a garage. Some garages may offer a pick up and drop off service too. Simply enter your postcode and find mobile mechanics that can carry out a car immobiliser repair from the comfort of your home or workplace.

What does a car immobiliser do?

A car immobiliser is an electronic device that won’t allow a vehicle to start, unless the correct key or key fob is used. The way car immobilisers function is that when you start your car, the key or fob will send an electronic code to the ECU. This will allow the engine to start. However, if the car is being stolen and the thief tries to use a different key or fob, the immobiliser would kick in and prevent the ECU from receiving that signal to start the engine.

What’s the difference between an immobiliser and a car alarm?

A car’s alarm is there to alert the driver that someone is attempting to steal the car. Whereas the immobiliser prevents ignition spark and sometimes blocks the engine within a short period.

Can faulty car immobilisers be fixed?

Yes. A garage technician who specialises in electronics will be able to repair your car immobiliser should there be any damage or a fault.

Does a car immobiliser repair come under my insurance or warranty?

The car immobiliser repair is not covered by your insurance policy, but there is a chance it may be covered under the warranty if your car is less than three years old. It is best to get in touch with the dealership to find out more about whether the warranty will cover car immobiliser repairs.

Can I repair my own car immobiliser?

There are some steps you can take before calling in the specialist technicians to take a look. If you think your immobiliser is faulty, then you can try your spare key to see if the engine will start or doors will unlock. If you have a remote key fob, then you may try to change the batteries to see if this rectifies any issues. If there is a fault with the actual immobiliser unit or electronics then a garage technician will be able to diagnose and repair the problem for you.

How much does it cost to get an immobiliser fixed?

The cost of a car immobiliser repair can vary depending on the make and model of your car. The average cost quoted of car immobiliser repairs on WhoCanFixMyCar is around £100.

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