Immobilizer Faults – Can we help?

Yesterday was a particularly busy day, but a number of  enquiries were related to immobilizer or ECU faults rather that key related issues.
At Keyishoes, our main service is that of programming spare keys or new keys when the originals are lost.  But what if there is another vehicle problem which seems to point to immobiliser issues?  I’ll give you some examples from yesterday:
  1. Renault Clio 1  - Fault – Intermittent starting, immobilizer light flashing
  2. Kia Sedona – Cut out while driving – “IMMO” showing on the dashboard
  3. Skoda Fabia – Bought with a known electrical fault – Immobilizer light flashing
In 2 out of the 3 cases above the key was not the problem.  However, we were still able to assist in a small but valuable way.  Some vehicle problems are difficult to trace without expensive dealer diagnostics.  In such cases, sometimes a process of elimination is a cost effective option before approaching the dealer.  This is how we were able to help with the 3 vehicles above.
Renault Clio Key
  1. Renault Clio 1 – This early Clio has a common key fault.  They frequently begin working intermittently and eventually stop altogether.  If that happens then the replacement key is quite costly at around £130.  However, we were able to read the data from the key and “write” the data to a knew transponder.  This key now works fine.  The key we’ve supplied in this case is a non-remote one to keep costs to a minimum on an old car but the old key can still be used for the remote function alongside the new key to start the engine.  All of this was less than £50.
  2. Kia Sedona – I attended the car and realised that due to the manner in which the car had failed this was unlikely to have the immobilizer as the route cause.  This was confirmed by the fact that my equipment could not communicate with the engine management system.  All the fuses were checked and found to be fine.  In this case, we were able to confirm that the problem was more likely to be in the engine management system.
  3. Skoda Fabia – Some simple checks were made to ensure the key with the vehicle did in fact have an intact transponder fitted.  Then we tried to communicate with the vehicle using our diagnostic key programmer.
Immobilizer or Key Fault?
We could not!  We checked the fuses which were all intact.  I checked the function of the electrics and discovered that a number of the lights were not illuminating on the dashboard.  They weren’t which indicates that this is where the fault may lie.  Perhaps the dashboard clocks are faulty?  This is linked to the immobilizer on VAG based vehicles.  The customer has now eliminated the possibility of a key fault and can go with a certain amount of confidence to a specialist which we recommended to trace the original fault and effect a repair.
So no, we cannot repair immobilizer faults but can check whether the problem is a simple key programming issue and offer clues to the likely problems. This service is available at a modest £50 call out fee withing 3 miles of Carlisle City Center, deducted from the price of the key if that is found to be at fault. The service can be provided further afield with a £1 per mile mileage subsidy. 
Call Simon on 07808 793 418 or contact us direct via the website for more information to see if we can help you.
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