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The Complete Guide to Ghost Immobilisers

The Complete Guide to Ghost Immobilisers

To help you understand the value and importance of using a ghost immobiliser for your car or vehicle security, we have compiled our expert advice into an easy-to-understand guide that covers everything you need to know and answers the most pressing FAQs.

What is a ghost immobiliser?

A ghost immobiliser is a model of vehicle immobiliser that offers additional features to support your vehicle's security, not just immobilisation. 

A standard vehicle immobiliser is an electronic security device that prevents a car, or other type of vehicle, from starting without the correct key or key fob present. A ghost immobiliser includes systems that prevent key cloning, signal jamming and device spoofing – all methods that thieves use to unlock cars with standard immobilisers. This means that even if a thief is able to somehow get into your car, they won't be able to drive it away.

Can ghost immobilisers be used in all types of cars?

Ghost immobilisers are compatible with a large range of cars. Immobilisers can be used in any vehicle with an engine, not just cars. Motorhomes, vans, bikes, plant machinery and even ride-on lawnmowers can be fitted with vehicle immobilisers. Technological advancements also mean that motors in electric cars can also be immobilised.

Can a ghost immobiliser be bypassed or hacked?

A vehicle with a ghost immobiliser is near impossible to bypass or hack. The wires are integrated to look like they came from the factory with a ghost immobiliser and there is no physical anti-theft equipment, such as steering wheel locks, that can be removed. The device is therefore much more difficult to get access to or disable. As long as your ghost immobiliser has been fitted correctly, your vehicle will be very secure. 

Why are vehicle immobilisers better than other anti-theft equipment?

Unlike physical deterrents such as steering wheel locks or wheel clamps, electronic immobilisers are covertly integrated within the vehicle. They are nearly impossible to locate and defeat. Even if the vehicle is stripped bare and the unit is found, it does not necessarily mean the engine can then be started.

How do ghost immobilisers work?

A standard factory fitted immobiliser uses an electronic chip built into the vehicle’s electronic control unit (ECU). When you try to start the vehicle, the key or fob sends a code to the ECU enabling it to start. If someone attempts to start the vehicle with a different key or fob, the code will be incorrect and it won’t start. Ghost immobilisers feature additional functions to protect your car's security, such as a PIN or code sequence, that are needed before you can start your vehicle.

How does an immobiliser affect my car?

As well as preventing the car from starting if the incorrect key or fob is used, an immobiliser will also shut down components such as the starter motor or fuel system, rendering the vehicle immobilised. When the wrong code is sent to the ECU, some immobilisers also activate the car alarm to draw attention. Immobilisers can also have additional functions, but that depends on the type of immobiliser.

How long does it take to deactivate a ghost immobiliser?

With the right codes, it should take less than a minute to deactivate your ghost immobiliser for use. 

The Autowatch Ghost II CAN Immobiliser has two deactivation modes: Valet/Service and Transport. With Valet Mode, your vehicle can be operated, with set parameters such as 30mph speed limit, without the access code. Once the vehicle is parked, the ghost immobiliser reactivates fully. This allows you to hand over your vehicle for valet parking or servicing without handing over your keys/fob. 

In Transport Mode, you can deactivate the limitations, and drive your vehicle as usual. You will then need to perform re-activation using your security card and PIN to enable your ghost immobiliser

Ghost immobiliser installation

Is it easy to install a ghost immobiliser in a car?

Self-install immobiliser systems can be plugged into the car’s OBD port, which is usually located within the dashboard by the steering wheel. The immobilisers supplied by ineedatracker.com, including the ghost immobiliser, are significantly more advanced than OBD port immobilisers and require a trained engineer to install them. We install these for free as TASSA-registered vehicle immobiliser installers.

Is it easy to remove a ghost immobiliser?

Ghost immobilisers, and other more advanced vehicle immobilisers, require the vehicle to be stripped in order to gain access and are therefore much more secure. This means that removal isn't easy if you are not a trained professional. 

How can I check if my car has a ghost immobiliser?

It has been compulsory for immobilisers to be installed in all new cars since 1998. If your car was manufactured after that date it will have a factory-fitted immobiliser installed as standard. Ghost immobilisers are more advanced so it is unlikely your vehicle will already be fitted with a ghost immobiliser.

Do all new models of car get fitted with an immobiliser?

While vehicle manufacturers have been installing immobilisers into new cars for decades, the problem is they are deactivated by the transponder built into the key. If a thief gets hold of the key or uses key relay technology to amplify the transponder signal, they will be able to start the car and drive it away. An aftermarket immobiliser provides a second independent layer of security.

If I buy a second-hand car is it easy to install a new immobiliser or replace the existing one?

Factory-fitted immobilisers do not need to be replaced if you purchase a new immobiliser as the new one won’t interfere with the functionality of the old one. In fact, more advanced immobilisers, such as ghost immobilisers, complement the functioning of factory-fitted immobilisers. Ordering your ideal immobiliser is easy on our website and for added convenience, our engineers will come to your location to carry out the installation.

Are ghost immobilisers safe?

Autowatch Ghost II Immobiliser and the other advanced immobilisers offered by ineedatracker.com have been developed by specialist vehicle security manufacturers. They use proprietary technology and have all undergone rigorous testing.

Can a ghost immobiliser malfunction?

ineedatracker.com only supplies immobilisers with a track record of solid reliability. Customer satisfaction is our priority so without hesitation we pull systems from our catalogue that have proven to be unreliable. As a backup, all the immobilisers we supply and install come with a manufacturer’s warranty and, in the event of any kind of issue, an engineer will attend to resolve it.

If my immobiliser fails, will I be able to start my car?

There are fail safes built in that allow vehicle owners to override the system if necessary.

What standard features should I look for in an immobiliser?

Convenience comes as standard when you purchase an immobiliser from ineedatracker.com. Upon purchase of your chosen system, our engineers will attend your home or place of work within a 4-hour window and integrate the unit within the vehicle wiring.

Can a tracker be added to an immobiliser?

Absolutely. The two systems complement each other, providing multi-layered security and peace of mind with their own set of differing features and benefits. 

Are there particular brands which offer greater levels of security?

There is no one brand that can be recommended as the best by all accounts. Different manufacturers offer immobilisers with their own unique benefits. This is why ineedatracker.com carries a broad selection covering the whole range of immobiliser technologies and our helpline is staffed by experts who will listen to your needs, wants and desires before recommending you your ideal immobiliser.


Will I get a discount on my car insurance if I get an immobiliser?

We carry Thatcham Category 2 immobilisers that have undergone testing by Thatcham Research. Systems that pass their stringent criteria are issued with a Certificate that is recognised by the insurance industry so it may be possible to get a discount on premiums.

What is a passive immobiliser?

Passive immobilisers are disarmed using tags that are carried on the driver’s person that will automatically send a deactivation signal to the immobiliser, requiring no input from the user.

What is an active immobiliser?

These immobilisers require some form of input from the driver such as tapping a receiver with a fob, inputting a pin number onto a keypad or pressing a sequence of buttons on the steering wheel to deactivate the system.

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