How To Deactivate a Honda Immobilizer

How to Deactivate the Immobilizer on a Honda [EXPLAINED]

Immobilizers on Hondas make the huge difference between your car still sitting in your driveway the next morning and somebody else getting a free Honda at your expense.

But while immobilizers have been the absolute deterrents against those who can’t keep their hands off of somebody else’s piece of metal, they can also deter you from starting your own car when activated or even malfunctioning.

As a team that has worked on hundreds of immobilizers before, we’ve got you covered on how to deactivate your Honda immobilizer and get you back on the road!

How do you deactivate a Honda Immobilizer?

To deactivate or disable a Honda immobilizer, you need to reset it by inserting the key into the ignition and turning it to the “ON” position. Then switch it to the lock position and remove the key afterward.

Insert the key again and turn it to the “ON” position to finish the resetting process.

The simple procedure above is only a general guide that works on most Honda models fitted with immobilizers or anti-theft systems.

There may be slight differences between the deactivation procedures of some Hondas, which is why it’s worth discussing several different methods at a time as well.

But before we move on to more specific methods in deactivating an immobilizer on a Honda, let’s give you a bit of background on what an immobilizer exactly is and how it works to protect your car from prying eyes (and hands)!  

What is an immobilizer on a car?

An immobilizer is a type of anti-theft device that is part of the security system of a vehicle. It contains a specific passcode that matches the one in your key fob.

The immobilizer prevents theft through hot-wiring or similar methods by disabling engine ignition when the key fob isn’t detected.

What is an immobilizer on a car

To those who are unfamiliar with it, simply knowing the basics of what an immobilizer is makes it sound like a piece of more modern security equipment only found on high-end cars.

The truth is that the immobilizer has already been around for decades after it was first patented in 1919 when the pair of George Evans and Edward Birkenbuel made switches that either started the car or prevented it and sounded the horn instead.

One downside to immobilizers of that time was you had to activate it every single time you drove or left your car. Fast forward to immobilizers of more recent times, and it’s all automatically activated as part of a car’s security system.

The crucial connection that makes all the difference between starting your car normally or “immobilizing” it and sounding the alarm can be found in the passcode that’s shared between the immobilizer and your key fob or “smart key”.

How does an immobilizer work?

A car immobilizer works by using a passcode that matches the one in your key fob or smart key, and these two communicate with each other to start the engine.

If there is an attempt to start the engine without the key fob, the immobilizer will prevent the engine from starting and activate an alarm.

An immobilizer system makes use of a receiver located within the ignition lock cylinder and a transponder chip installed on your specific vehicle’s key fob or “smart key”.

How does an immobilizer work

Starting a car with an immobilizer system or anti-theft system is like a mix-and-match of the right immobilizers and key fobs, meaning that if the key fob you’re using isn’t the right one, then the car will refuse to start.

This is because every single immobilizer is programmed to use a dedicated passcode that should match the one assigned for your key fob or smart key. In a sense, it works similarly to codes for ATM cards and safety vaults.

However, an immobilizer utilizes RFID (radio frequency identification) technology to detect if the original key fob is nearby. Hence, the engine also wouldn’t start if the key fob cannot be detected.

Furthermore, in the incidence of an attempted vehicle theft such as “hot-wiring” the ignition, the immobilizer will also prevent the engine from starting. This is usually accompanied by the activating or sounding of the vehicle’s alarm as well.

In some vehicle models with more advanced systems, the alarm activation can even trigger a notification to be sent to a security company just in case it really is an attempted theft. 

What are the different methods of disabling a Honda immobilizer?

There are several different methods to disable a Honda immobilizer that involves using the anti-theft light as a reference, using the physical key, and pressing the buttons on the key fob in a specific order.

1st Method (Anti-Theft Light As Reference) 

1st Method (Anti-Theft Light As Reference) 

If your Honda comes with an anti-theft system or immobilizer, then it will most likely come with its own security light or anti-theft light, which is either yellow, red, or green in color depending on the exact vehicle model.

The light itself may also vary in appearance depending on which Honda you have. Some Hondas may simply have it as a small dot, while others may display a small key or padlock icon.

In the event that your vehicle’s immobilizer has been activated, which prevents the engine from starting, you will have to disable it to start the engine again. This is where the anti-theft light comes in handy.

To disable the immobilizer and regain access to your engine’s ignition system, follow the steps below:

1. While the ignition is in the “OFF” position, look for your red, yellow, or green anti-theft light located on the dashboard or gauge cluster.
2. Turn the key to the “ON” position and observe if the anti-theft light is illuminated and blinking.
3. Once the light stops blinking, turn the key to the “OFF” position again while still keeping it inserted in the ignition.
4. Wait for 5 minutes to finish the reset, then turn the key to the “ON” position and see if you can start the engine.

Just in case the immobilizer deactivation method above doesn’t work, then do not fret! We still have a few more methods for you to try on your specific Honda model.

2nd Method (Using Physical Key)

3rd Method (Using Key Fob Buttons)

This second method is another way of resetting your Honda’s immobilizer or anti-theft system by using the physical key itself on your driver’s side door handle keyhole.

To reset the anti-theft system or immobilizer on certain Honda models that still come with a door handle keyhole, follow the steps below.

1. While the car is locked, insert the physical key in the driver’s side door handle keyhole.
2. Turn the key to the unlock position and leave the key inserted for about 30 seconds.
3. After waiting for 30 seconds, insert the key in the ignition and try to start the engine.
4. If the engine still doesn’t start, try turning the key back and forth repeatedly so that the immobilizer can detect the key being used and get disabled.

3rd Method (Using Key Fob Buttons)

Another way to deactivate the anti-theft system or immobilizer on a Honda vehicle is by using the buttons on your key fob or smart key.

If just turning the key multiple times in the ignition doesn’t work or you don’t have a keyhole on your specific Honda’s door handle, then it’s worth trying to disable your immobilizer with the key fob by following the steps below.

1. Press the designated key fob for your Honda 5 times.
2. Press the key fob’s lock button once.
3. Wait for 1 minute and observe if the immobilizer will be reset.
4. Try starting the engine.

Are there any alternative methods to disabling a Honda immobilizer?

Alternative methods to disabling your Honda immobilizer include leaving the key in the “ON” position for 10 minutes or unlocking and locking your driver’s door with the key two times.

If the immobilizer doesn’t respond, its fuse may be blown. Replacing the fuse will allow you to disable it properly.

There are still several other “alternative” methods worth mentioning when your Honda’s immobilizer module or anti-theft system still refuses to deactivate and let you start the engine.

Since not all Hondas are made to have the exact universal security system, you’re going to have to do some trial and error with each of these alternative methods one by one.

Alternative Method 1 (Key in Ignition for 10 Minutes)

The first alternative method is by inserting the physical key in the ignition, turning it to the “ON” position, and leaving it there for about 10 minutes.

After waiting for 10 minutes, try and start the engine by turning the key all the way to test if the immobilizer has already been disabled.

Alternative Method 2 (Unlocking and Locking Door With Key)

This alternative method is similar to the first one, but the only difference is that this is applicable to Honda models that still have door keyholes.

Insert the physical key in the door keyhole or door lock of your Honda, then turn the key to unlock and lock your door. Do this two times in a row.

Wait for 10 minutes after doing the last “locking” step, then unlock your vehicle and insert your key into the ignition to test if the immobilizer has been disabled and the engine can now start.

Alternative Method 3 (Replacing a Blown Fuse)

In some instances, the immobilizer itself may not even be to blame for preventing your car from starting, but rather a blown fuse that actually controls the immobilizer light or anti-theft light on your gauge cluster or dashboard.

The immobilizer light on a Honda makes use of either a 10-amp, 15-amp, or 20-amp fuse, and if it becomes blown for any reason, the light will keep blinking on the dash. This means that the immobilizer is still activated and you will not be able to start the car.

Now, the location of the immobilizer fuse may vary depending on the specific Honda model you have, which is why we recommend checking the owner’s manual of your vehicle for the list of fuses.

In some Honda vehicles, like the 2008 to 2012 Accord, you may even have to check two different fuses for the immobilizer, which will be located in separate fuse boxes underneath the driver and passenger dashboard panels.

If you’ve confirmed that the fuse (or fuses) is blown, then replacing it will bring back the immobilizer’s ability to detect the exact key being inserted into the ignition.

Once the immobilizer has confirmed that the key has the same passcode it has been programmed with, it will shut off the immobilizer light and let you start the engine again.

Honda Immobilizer Code Location

Each Honda immobilizer has its own designated code, which can be found in each specific Honda vehicle’s service book, maintenance papers, or user’s manual.

Alternatively, you can also go to your local Honda dealership to get assistance in knowing your specific immobilizer’s code.

Car immobilizers come with passcodes or pin codes that are matched with the corresponding key fob or smart key of your vehicle. But what if you want to know what the code exactly is?

Since the code is electronic by nature, opening up your key fob or immobilizer control unit will do you no good, as it will not be printed anywhere there.

Hondas typically have their immobilizer codes indicated in a dedicated chapter or section for the immobilizer found in the user’s manual or service book.

Just in case your owner’s manual does not include the immobilizer code itself, you can ask for help at your local dealership where you bought the car from.

Honda Immobilizer Code Location

Of course, to prove that you are the actual owner of the vehicle, you will have to show them the necessary documents of the car purchased under your name.

The dealership will have every single sold car’s immobilizer code in its database, and it will use a software program to scan your vehicle’s immobilizer for the code.

However, if you bought your car secondhand at a used dealership and have no idea where the car was originally bought new, then you will have to find a technician who specializes in immobilizers and key fobs.

Software and tools used to pull out the code for your immobilizer can be pretty complicated to learn by yourself, but a technician who’s dedicated to such a task will most likely already have everything needed to help you out.

What are the common problems of a Honda immobilizer?

One of the most common problems of a Honda immobilizer is that the transmitter becomes faulty, which affects the immobilizer’s ability to function properly.

Another common Honda immobilizer problem is that the key or key fob’s transponder gets worn out, making it unable to send or receive signals.

Transmitter Issue

Car immobilizers make use of a transmitter, which is responsible for sending radio waves to the vehicle’s control module to verify if the key or key fob used is the correct one.

However, when the transmitter suddenly malfunctions, it will not be able to verify if the key fob’s code matches that of the immobilizer, even if it is correct.

Thus, you will not be able to start the vehicle with a faulty immobilizer transmitter. You will have to either replace the entire immobilizer or completely disable the system.

The downside to disabling the system completely is that you’ll be unprotected against an actual case of attempted vehicle theft. You will also not be covered by insurance anymore in the event that your vehicle gets stolen with the immobilizer disabled.

Worn-Out Transponder

Another common problem with Honda immobilizers doesn’t necessarily have to do with the immobilizer module itself, but rather the transponder inside your key fob that communicates with the immobilizer.

Other than the physical key, your Honda’s key or key fob has a built-in transponder chip equipped with RFID technology. Sometimes, the key fob or smart key is referred to as the “transponder” itself.

Worn-Out Transponder

The transponder communicates with the immobilizer via a specific radio frequency or signal to see if the electronic code it contains matches the one programmed in the immobilizer.

However, it’s a known issue that Honda transponders are prone to wear. Once the transponder chip gets worn out, it will not be able to send signals to the immobilizer to verify the code.

Thus, even if you have the physical key to crank the ignition, the engine will not respond if the transponder chip is broken and not communicating with it. 

Just like with the immobilizer, you will have to get the transponder replaced by the dealership or an authorized technician.

Bypassing a Honda Immobilizer

It is possible to bypass a Honda immobilizer by disabling the system, though doing so will leave your vehicle unprotected from potential theft and will not be covered by insurance if it does get stolen.

Unless you have a good enough reason to do so, it’s generally not recommended to bypass your Honda’s immobilizer since the equipment does add an extra layer of security for your vehicle.

However, if it comes to the point that you get locked out of your own vehicle or the engine refuses to start no matter what you do, then either replacing or disabling the immobilizer is your only choice.


Bypassing a Honda Immobilizer

When you run into a problem with your Honda’s immobilizer or maybe it was recently activated by an attempted vehicle theft, there are different ways to deactivate and reset it so you can start the engine again.

In this guide, we’ve learned that turning the ignition key into the ON and OFF/lock positions, removing it and inserting it again, then turning the key to the ON position once more is a common process to deactivate a Honda immobilizer.

But since there are many different Honda vehicles of different model years that came equipped with some form of immobilizer or anti-theft system, one method may not exactly work for all of them.

Some methods involve different patterns of turning the key in the ignition, while others even involve using the key on the door lock to reset the immobilizer.

Whatever method ends up working for you, it’s still important to mention that it should only serve as a way to restore your Honda’s normal functioning, or in other words, get the car out of its “immobilized” state.

Permanently disabling, bypassing, or even removing the immobilizer from your car puts you at a greater risk of vehicle theft, and if it ever does happen (knock on wood), you will be out of insurance coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)