How easy is it for thieves to bypasss factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?




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  1. #1
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    Default How easy is it for thieves to bypasss factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?

    How easy is it really for thieves to bypass factory immobiliser systems on vehicles, I'm wondering especially about older less sophisticated vehicles but also modern current models.
    Apart from my vehicle being towed away I'd like to know how vulnerable my vehicle is with a factory immobiliser fitted, aftermarket systems are a different thing all together and that's not what I'm asking about. I want to know how secure a factory immobiliser is to opportunistic thieves, the guys that need to be in and out within minutes, lets say 15mins max.

    On my Honda CRV from what I understand the factory immobiliser is linked to the chipped key and it disables the fuel injectors and ignition system.
    I was discussing this the other day and the one guy said it's easy for thieves, they find the wiring diagram work out what the factory immobiliser is disabling and either jumper that cut-out circuit or bypass it by directly giving power to the part. That may be possible but does sound overly simplistic, especially considering the heartache many people go through when they lose all their coded keys or the immobiliser factory system conks out, if bypassing them was that simple why would people have such a hassle when they break.

    Is it that simple?

    Albeit it may involve destroying/ripping out half the dash around the ignition and ecu boxes for the thieves to gain quick access and I'm sure some vehicles may have more vulnerable immobiliser systems than others and be easier to bypass.

    On some vehicles like the current Ford Rangers it would seem that's not possible or feasible for a quick getaway and they need a donor ECU with the immobiliser disabled or somehow modified.

    I know there is a process in the car security industry called "immo off" if your ecu dies they unsolder the immobiliser chip/circuit off your dead ECU and move that to the replacement ecu(often 2hnd) to ensure your coded key/security system will function with the replacement ecu. With a similar process on some vehicles you can also remove the immobiliser circuit off of the ECU and completely disable the security, often that needs some kind of dummy chip to fool the ecu into thinking it's getting signals from a working immobiliser system.
    Last edited by Skylark; 2018/06/28 at 02:49 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How easy is it for thieves to bypasss factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?

    Am I the only one crazy enough to consider these things??!

    I've been wondering about this issue for quite some time, some vehicles the thieves seem to steal as if the factory immobiliser is barely a speed bump and that's them hoodwinking the system and driving off with the vehicle not towing it away, which means they must have a lot of confidence in what they are doing.

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    Default Re: How easy is it for thieves to bypasss factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?

    If they know what they are doing it's easy for any car.

    Either you bring your own ecu and keys or you jumper or whatever.

    The most difficult part is mostly actually getting past the driver's door. The rest is easy for a pro.

    If they want it, they'll take it. Simple. Either with or without you.


    Make sure you are insured, be vigilant and don't do silly things. That's all you can do.

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    Default Re: How easy is it for thieves to bypasss factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skylark View Post
    Am I the only one crazy enough to consider these things??!
    The question I ask myself whenever I start a thread

    To answer post 1, to us it may seem difficult but car thieves makes a living out of defeating these systems. So to them it's only becoming easier as they learn.

    If they want your car they will take it. No matter what theft deterrent is fitted.

    Something simple as a missing fuel pump relay (or rotor on something older) might still stump the thieves though!

    I'd prefer not getting my car back if it's been stolen...
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: How easy is it for thieves to bypasss factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohanSlabbert View Post
    The question I ask myself whenever I start a thread

    To answer post 1, to us it may seem difficult but car thieves makes a living out of defeating these systems. So to them it's only becoming easier as they learn.

    If they want your car they will take it. No matter what theft deterrent is fitted.

    Something simple as a missing fuel pump relay (or rotor on something older) might still stump the thieves though!

    I'd prefer not getting my car back if it's been stolen...
    Those are fair points but I would prefer that they try to steal my vehicle and then give up, insurance can repair any consequential damage, if it's stolen outright the payout won't nearly cover what I had, older vehicle low retail value, many on the forum suffer from this malady.

    Thats why I'd like to know what lengths I need to go over and above the factory security.
    Last edited by Skylark; 2018/06/30 at 12:12 AM.

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    Default Re: How easy is it for thieves to bypasss factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?

    My father always said "a lock is there to keep an honest man out". Well it still holds true, a thief will have the commercial system bypassed in under a minute ore often than not and just to make it easier for him the after market lot put up stickers in the window telling him what additional system to expect.

    Fir your home grown rudimentary system and you could delay him for much longer but in the end if they want the vehicle it's as good as gone
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    Default Re: How easy is it for thieves to bypasss factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?

    Just considering that the guys fitting the systems during the week are the guys stealing the cars on the weekend and then you'll understand how silly the original question is.
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    Default Re: How easy is it for thieves to bypasss factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    Just considering that the guys fitting the systems during the week are the guys stealing the cars on the weekend and then you'll understand how silly the original question is.
    Que?
    Which guys are these that fit factory immobilisers in Japan during the week and then fly to Sa to steal cars on the weekend??

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    Default Re: How easy is it for thieves to bypasss factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?

    In most modern cars it is literally almost impossible to bypass the immobilizer. Not even the factory can do it without replacing a whole bunch of stuff.
    Last edited by Fluffy; 2018/06/30 at 11:56 AM.
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    Default Re: How easy is it for thieves to bypasss factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?

    Good day.

    I live In Richardsbay, there have been a spate of vehicle thefts lately especially 4x4's during day and night.
    Apparently destined for Africa via Moz. How they cross the border is another question- bribery springs to mind, it is africa after all.

    Vehicles are mostly taken from the property where its parked at night, behind locked gates, within meters from the sleeping owner. It happens so quickly I don't believe its an oppertuinistic event.
    They stake the property out and learn your comings and goings, choose a time and off they go.

    Toyota's are high on the list. I know of a
    LC, D4D and a Lexus v8 conversion in the last 4 months. The LC was found.

    I don't trust factory systems 100% as the crims seem to bypass them very easily.
    I have installed some ''proprietary'' low tech solutions for my own peace of mind.
    I'm also prone to removing certain critical fuses/connections if I feel unsafe about my vehicle.

    I worked hard for what I have.
    If they want to take it I'm going to make it as difficult as possible for them.

  11. #11

    Default Re: How easy is it for thieves to bypasss factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bospatrollie2 View Post
    Apparently destined for Africa via Moz. How they cross the border is another question- bribery springs to mind, it is africa after all.
    They donít go through border posts as we would do. They just find a place to cross the Limpopo river.

    You can google images of some of the failed river attempts. Sad.

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    Default Re: How easy is it for thieves to bypasss factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Therackermann View Post
    They donít go through border posts as we would do. They just find a place to cross the Limpopo river.

    You can google images of some of the failed river attempts. Sad.
    So they take all that risk to steal a 1/2 to 3/4 Mil worth of 4x4, drive it all the way to the border
    And then lose it in a river crossing....

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    Default Re: How easy is it for thieves to bypasss factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bospatrollie2 View Post
    So they take all that risk to steal a 1/2 to 3/4 Mil worth of 4x4, drive it all the way to the border
    And then lose it in a river crossing....
    Being good at stealing does not mean you're clever
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    Default Re: How easy is it for thieves to bypasss factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skylark View Post
    Those are fair points but I would prefer that they try to steal my vehicle and then give up, insurance can repair any consequential damage, if it's stolen outright the payout won't nearly cover what I had, older vehicle low retail value, many on the forum suffer from this malady.

    Thats why I'd like to know what lengths I need to go over and above the factory security.
    In that context I can understand you'd want your vehicle back. I've had a company Avanza stolen recently and when it was eventually found it was in such a state that I was only too glad the insurance declared it a total loss. Engine missing, windows broken, blood and poo all over the interior, every body panel dented, dash ripped to pieces.

    As for immobilizing your vehicle, something as simple as a few pulled fuses can stymie a thief for long enough to give up. A hidden kill switch to the fuel pump relay is an elegant solution, even better if you can fit a timer to let them get about 2km away before it dies. Even a physical tap in the fuel line could do the same.
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  16. #15

    Default Re: How easy is it for thieves to bypasss factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bospatrollie2 View Post
    So they take all that risk to steal a 1/2 to 3/4 Mil worth of 4x4, drive it all the way to the border
    And then lose it in a river crossing....
    Not only 4x4. Normal cars too

  17. #16
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    Default Re: How easy is it for thieves to bypass factory immobiliser systems on vehicles?

    To answer the OP, there is an excellent two-page article in the June 2018 issue of Car magazine. It is based on how much time the thief / thieves have.10 seconds: Hijack and key is with the vehicle5 minutes: Relay theft of a keyless-entry-and-start system is where one thief moves close to where you have the key (bedroom while you are asleep or while you are in a restaurant). They carry a device that can copy and transmit the key's signal to a second thief next to your vehicle with the second device that fools the vehicle into thinking it is the key, preferably with key cloning. This is why I disabled this feature on one of my vehicles.10 minutes: Jamming the remote signal when the driver walks away allows access. Some jammers allow the lights to flash, but do not allow the doors to lock. This amount of time also allows the engine's ECU to be replaced paired to their key. Breaking the lock, even setting off the alarm, also falls into this time category.20 minutes: Specialised lock-picking tools to open the lock. The alarm sounds, but they quickly remove the battery terminal or cut the alarm speaker wires.So, DIY upgrades are best, if done without the assistance of anyone else.
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