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Discussion Starter #1
In light of http://mazda3forums.com/viewtopic.php?t=1576 I think we should be discussing the Immobilizer, a feature that was/is hailed as making a car impossible to steal short of towing it.

To get this started, a few questions:

1. What exactly is it and how is it supposed to work?
2. Is Mazda's immobilizer different than what other carmakers offer?
3. How can one still steal a car equipped with one?
 

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From what I understand, cars with engine immobilizers have a chip built into the key which emits a code that the car's computer can read. If the computer in the car doesn't sense the correct code from the chip or even the lack of code, the engine won't start. That's why you simply can't go to a hardware store and have a new key cut. For this reason too if you're looking to get a remote starter for a car with an engine immobilizer you will have to buy what the installers call a trasponder that will fool the car's computer into thinking that the correct key is actually in the ignition.

That being said, if a car thief really wants to get into your car and steal it, they will. There was a docuementary I believe on W5 or CBC Newsworld (a Canadian news magazine) that followed an admitted car thief in Vancouver. The thief mentioned that most thieves are very knowledgeable when it comes to which cars have what security features and which cars are easier to break into than others. The news magazine gave him 6 cars to break into an steal, all but too he broke into and drove off in in less than 5 minutes. The two he couldn't steal had tough cylinders or steering columns, I don't think any had immobilizers let alone a car alarm. He mentioned that if you really want to deter a would be thief, get an immobilizer, an anti-thieft device (a Club or similar) or at the very least a flashing red LED, it doesn't even have to be hooked up to a real alarm!

I remember hearing a few years back, I believe it was Bentley who showed off a car that not only had an engine immobilizer but also one that locked the transmission! Well, no sooner had they debuted this car that a thief had actually stolen one of their cars equipped with this feature.

Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if theives nowadays had little handheld devices that could fool the computer into bypassing the immobilizer.

FWIW, according to the news magazine article, Transport Canada has forced the car companies to include an engine immobilizer on all 2005+ cars sold in Canada.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've seen that report on TV - great journalism!

So they must have a handheld device that sends codes to the immobilizer then...

I wonder if the one used in the 3 is also used in any Ford products.
 
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