Car with the lock symbol meaning explained
Understand the meaning behind the lock symbol on your car.
Modern cars come with an array of dashboard lights waiting to be triggered. You might find it a bit overwhelming to understand these features and their messages; however, you must get acquainted with them as some could imply serious implications. While most of these indicators may not shut down the car’s system, the anti-theft warning light would prevent the vehicle from powering.
Your car’s anti-theft system is triggered whenever the ‘car with lock’ symbol appears on your dashboard. This system is rampant in modern vehicles from car brands like Toyota, Ford, Chevy, and others. As you’ve rightly guessed, its primary purpose is to prevent car thieves from getting access to your vehicle.
The anti-theft system is activated once a wrong key is slotted into the keyhole of the vehicle, although other things like a faulty battery can cause its activation. It hinders power flow, causing your car to stall or shut down immediately. On the other hand, if you see a service theft deterrent system warning on the board, it’s a sign that the anti-theft system isn’t operating as it should.
This article provides detailed information about the car with the lock symbol and answers related questions.
What does the car with the lock symbol mean?
When you see the lock symbol on your vehicle’s dashboard, it signals that the anti-theft system has been triggered. This might not mean someone tried to break into your car, and it could be that you’ve been trapped outside your car and unable to do anything about it.
If you look from the manufacturer’s point of view, this system is set up to prevent unauthorized access to your vehicle.
This is an outstanding feature in your car, and you should feel happy about it. However, this feature soon becomes frustrating if it gets activated for the wrong reason.
What is an immobilizer?
Before diving into the anti-theft concept, let’s get familiar with a key component. Here, we look at the immobilizer.
The immobilizer is an electronic device that prevents a car’s engine from running if it detects a wrong key. It works through a group of signal that communicates with the anti-theft system and your vehicle’s computer.
Once a key is inserted, the immobilizer checks and sends a signal to the anti-theft to verify if it’s the right key or not. If the immobilizer confirms an incorrect key, it immediately triggers the car and lock symbol, causing the engine to become irresponsive.
Do all cars have an immobilizer?
Over time, car manufacturers have continued improving the anti-theft system. If you own a vehicle built after 1998, you should be sure it has anti-theft security installed.
However, if your vehicle is an older model, you can still install the immobilizer as an add-on feature.
Can thieves bypass the immobilizer?
Sadly, thieves can deactivate your immobilizer. With sophisticated technologies, thieves can now disrupt the communication between the immobilizer and the anti-theft system, and they can figure out and interrupt the signals between these components.
They achieve this by utilizing scanning tools, which enable them to corrupt the car’s security system, thus disabling the immobilizer and the anti-theft system. For this reason, you should install additional security features to prevent these thieves from gaining access to your car. This is important, considering the significant increase in the number of stolen vehicles in 2022.
How do I deactivate the anti-theft system?
Sometimes your vehicle would send a false alert, thus triggering the anti-theft and restricting your access. This could be frustrating, so having an idea of how to disable this system would come in handy. If the car alarm keeps going off, try the following approaches;
Unlock your vehicle
To get rid of the anti-theft mode on your vehicle, first, unlock your vehicle. You can use the key fob or put the key in the car door. Once you have access to your car, proceed to the next steps.
Remove the alarm fuse
Demounting the alarm fuse is the fastest way to disable the anti-theft system, as this causes a reboot to the immobilizer. You can find the exact position of the alarm fuse using your vehicle’s manufacturer’s guide.
Switch on the ignition
Another way to deactivate the anti-theft system is by turning on your car’s ignition. This activates some of your vehicle’s accessories, although it may take a while before the system resets itself. After the reset, the anti-theft indicator light should go off. However, be careful not to drain your car battery.
Disconnect the battery
If disconnecting the alarm fuse didn’t solve the problem, disconnecting the battery might be your last resort. Disconnecting the battery is one of the quickest ways to solve most issues caused by the electronic system.
To achieve this, pop your vehicle’s hood and disconnect the battery, starting with the negative terminal. Give it thirty seconds, then reconnect the terminals in the reverse order, beginning with the positive terminal.
Each of the steps above should work pretty well; however, suppose you can’t get your car’s system to reset. In that case, you should put a call through to a professional mechanic.
Why does my anti-theft light turn on when there is no threat?
Your vehicle’s anti-theft light could stay turned on even when the car isn’t under attack. This could result from an internal defect with one of the components of your vehicle.
We’ve put together some possible culprits that could activate your anti-lock system. These includes:
A low or faulty battery
A common cause that could provoke the anti-theft system is when you have a faulty or low battery. When the battery becomes very low, it affects how your vehicle stores data and its overall memory.
Once your vehicle cannot capture all the information, it feels concerned and immediately triggers the anti-theft lock, which appears like a ‘car with lock’ symbol on the dashboard.
Faulty key fob
If you do not have a faulty car battery, the next possible cause could be a faulty key fob. You need a working key fob always. Still, eventually, your key fob might malfunction, requiring repairs or replacement.
If you suspect the key fob to be the problem, you could try using a spare key or a matching key fob from the manufacturer to see if the issue is gone. You can also inspect the key fob battery to verify it works properly.
If you confirm the key fob to be the problem, you should replace it as soon as possible because it might cause other issues in future.
A simple fault with the immobilizer or the entire security system could send a false alert to the anti-theft system, thus triggering it.
It would be best if you got a professional to fix the problem and get the immobilizer to work correctly. Also, you could consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual to see if you can find information on when to replace your immobilizer.
Malfunctioning car lock
Lastly, you might have a defective car lock. Simply put, your car door might have an issue due to contaminants or damage in the keyhole. In that case, your vehicle assumes that someone is trying to get access to your car and immediately triggers the anti-theft system.
While the immobilizer is outstanding technology, it is not a full-fledged AI system. Therefore, the system might be unable to differentiate an attempted robbery from a defective car door lock, thus triggering the ‘car with lock’ symbol.
Therefore, you should assess your car lock to see if you can find any defects that could prompt the anti-theft system.
How much does it cost to repair the anti-theft system?
Generally, it costs about $44 to $56 for an anti-theft system diagnosis and testing. However, this price range does not include taxes.
Additionally, the price might differ depending on your car’s make and model and your state.
The anti-theft system is essential in your vehicle because it provides safety and lets you take your mind off car theft. However, this system could quickly become a source of frustration due to one malfunction.
This causes the anti-theft system to send false alarms to the vehicle’s computer system, thus triggering the ‘car with lock’ symbol.
These malfunctions could result from a minor part, like the vehicle’s door lock, to something more complex, like the immobilizer. If you encounter this problem, try a quick solution by taking off the battery. However, if this doesn’t work, you should seek professional assistance.
Also, consider taking additional preventive measures as car thieves are familiar with bypassing the anti-theft system.
What does the car and lock symbol mean?
The ‘car and lock’ symbol indicates the activation of the car’s anti-theft system. Car manufacturers take this precautionary step to safeguard your vehicle from external attacks by thieves.
How do I get my car out of anti-theft mode?
You can get your car out of the anti-theft mode by disconnecting the battery. To achieve this, disconnect the negative terminal first, followed by the positive terminal. Wait for thirty seconds, then reconnect them in the reverse order.