Driver And Driving

How to Disable Anti-theft System In Your Car In The Right Way

Mike Cross
Updated Oct 31, 2021
How to Disable Anti-theft System in your Car

A car has all kinds of systems from the engine, to the transmission, and many others. Some of the systems you don’t even think about on a normal basis unless something goes wrong with it. One of the common ones that most people don’t think about is the anti-theft system. A lot of cars have this system, but unless it stops working you forget about it.

In this article, we will cover how to disable the anti-theft system when it stops working properly and starts causing you trouble. Read on to learn everything you need to know about your vehicles anti-theft system.

How to Disable Anti-theft System in your Car
How to Disable Anti-theft System in your Car

What does Anti-theft System do?

Before getting into how to disable your anti-theft system when it is not working right, we will get into what it actually does. Your anti-theft system, like the name implies, is to prevent your car from being able to be stolen. It does this by causing the car not to be able to start when it thinks it is being tampered with or if it senses something is wrong. A lot of times this system works fine and only activates when you need it too, but sometimes it starts activating when you don’t want it too. This means that the car alarm will start to go off and you won’t be able to start your car. This will throw a major problem at you if you can’t get it to shut off. Luckily, there are a few ways you can generally get it to turn off if it is a false alarm.

Use the Fob

The first way and most common way to get the anti-theft system to turn off is by using your key fob. You can press the alarm button, and this should get the system to turn off if you are close enough to the vehicle. Sometimes a little bump on your vehicle can make it think that someone is trying to break into it, but really it was just an accident. If that is the case pressing the alarm button on your key remote will reset it. Sometimes though the anti-theft system is malfunctioning and being triggered for a different reason. If it wasn’t from a bump and using the alarm button on your key fob to disengage it doesn’t work, then you will have to try some of the other steps.

Check key and cylinder

Sometimes your alarm will start to go off if the battery in your key fob is getting low. This is to warn you that it is getting low so you don’t have to deal with being locked out of your car or having to use the key to get in the car. If the alarm starts going off randomly, then the first thing you should do is switch the battery in your remote. You will then have to wait a few days and see if that fixes the problem. If it does, then you are good to go, but if it doesn’t, then you will have to investigate farther.

The next thing you should check is making sure that the door lock cylinder isn’t damaged. The door lock cylinder is on the inside of the door where it latches to the body of the car. If it looks damaged or seems like that it isn’t making a good latch, then that might be the cause of the alarm going off. This is because the car might think someone is trying to pry the door open. Also, you should check under the door handle where someone would try to punch a screwdriver thru to open the locked door. If this area is damaged, then it could be triggering the alarm. If the door lock cylinder looks damaged, then try replacing it and seeing if that fixes the issue.

The last thing you need to check is back to the key, and that is making sure you are using the right one. Some cars have valet keys that are only designed to do certain things, and if you are using the wrong key, then it can set the car off. This is because the car will think you are trying to use a fake key. Also, some cars have chips in one key but not another, so make sure you are using the one with the chip. When you get in a hurry, it is easier than you might think to try to use the wrong key and that will trigger our anti-theft system.

Turn Ignition On

Anti theft system problem concept. Burglar thief man wearing black clothes breaking into car and stealing smartphone
Anti theft system problem concept. Burglar thief man wearing black clothes breaking into car and stealing smartphone

The next tip to fix the anti-theft system is to turn the ignition on. You might be thinking how can you do that, didn’t you say that the car won’t start when the anti-theft system is engaged? Yes, that is true, it won’t start, but trying to start the car is how you can reset the computer.

The way you do this is first to look at the dash to see if the anti-theft light is on. If it is, then put the key in the ignition and turn it to the on position. This is the position that activates the accessories such as your lights and radio. After doing this, you have to wait ten to fifteen minutes. It can vary by car, but the first time I would wait for ten minutes.

Once ten minutes has passed come back and check the anti-theft light. If it has gone off, then turn the key back to the off position and remove the key. Wait for a couple of minutes to make sure that the system reset is finished. Then put the key back in and try to start the car. It should start, but if it doesn’t, then make sure your battery hasn’t been drained from the accessories being on. A dead battery click is pretty easy to identify, so if that is the problem, you should know it. If it still doesn’t start or the alarm starts again you can try again to reset the computer this way. After a couple tries though of resetting the computer this way if it doesn’t work, then you can move on to trying something else, or your problem might be something different.

Use Key in Door

Another tip you can use to try to disable your anti-theft system is to use the key in the door. You want to make sure to use the driver side door and the physical key to having a chance of this working. Insert the key in the door lock all the way and then turn the key to unlock your car door, but don’t release it. You want to hold the key in the unlock position for twenty to thirty seconds. This lets the car recognize that you have the right key and will disengage and reset the system. If this doesn’t work, then you can try to turn the key back and forth in the lock a few times. Some cars will recognize the key this way if the key is being turned in the door lock cylinder. If using this method shuts the alarm off and disengages the anti-theft system, then you can try to start the car.

Disconnect the Battery

Disconnect the Battery
Disconnect the Battery

One last thing you can try if your car alarm is going off and you can’t get it to stop, but you can get under the hood is to disconnect the battery. By unplugging the battery for a few minutes, it will also reset the computer. All you have to do is disconnect the positive or negative terminal and wait. After waiting a few minutes, you can reconnect it and see if that has solved your problem.

Wheel Locked

Sometimes though your anti-theft system will engage, the alarm won’t be going off, but you still won’t be able to start your vehicle, and that is because your wheel is locked. This can happen if the steering wheel got bumped too much after turning the car off. When the steering wheel is locked, you also won’t be able to turn the key. This problem happens on some cars more than others, but it is normally pretty easy to fix. All you have to do is nudge the steering wheel some. Eventually, the lock will disengage, and then you can turn the key and start your car like normal again.


Your anti-theft system can malfunction for a number of reasons, and sometimes you need to be able to disable it. Luckily for you after reading this, you now know a few ways to disable your anti-theft system. You can use the key fob button to turn it off, or you might have a battery going weak in your key fob. If it isn’t those things, then you need to make sure you are using the right key and that the door lock cylinder isn’t damaged. After checking these two things, you can move on to trying to use the key in the door lock to reset the system or use the key in the ignition to reset the system. If both of those fail, then the last thing you can do to reset the system disconnects the battery. Hopefully, that solves the problem, and it doesn’t happen again, but if your anti-theft system keeps malfunction, then you should have it checked out because it can be really annoying when it isn’t working right.

Mike Cross
Life is too short to drive with stock audio

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68 comments on “How to Disable Anti-theft System In Your Car In The Right Way”

  1. My door locks are not hooked up I just got a 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse theft light not on but car won't. Start like I said no door locks what do I do

  2. My battery will go dead after one week of not driving.I have a good battery and new alternator. Recently, when the Honda dies and I charge it, I don't have to enter the code for the anti-theft system. The radio comes right on. I'm thinking I should disable the anti-theft system. Does this seem logical?

  3. Read this carefully folks. This is essential information if you are attempting to bypass your Nissan anti-theft/immobilizer system: YOU CANNOT BYPASS THE NISSAN ANTI-THEFT/IMMOBILIZER SYSTEM. Unless you are willing to essentially replace your wiring harness with one that is custom made and use a generic aftermarket ECM, (which constitutes more than what most would consider a bypass), you can only hope to determine the problem and perform the necessary steps to make the system work properly. These things need to happen: 1) You must turn the ignition so a key that can do that is necessary. Any qualified locksmith can make a key that will do this but, it needs to be a transponder key. You can buy blank transponder keys online for $7.95 and locksmith can cut it so it turns the ignition. 2) You need to have a scanner capable of programming the system to accept the signal sent by the transponder in the new key. (i.e. Launch X431) The procedure for doing this is readily available, for free, online. That's all there is to it. The NATS, (Nissan Anti Theft System), is reliable as sunrise and will not arbitrarily cause problems. If the battery in your transponder key goes dead or the transponder is damaged you won't be able to start your car with that key until it's fixed. That doesn't mean the NATS is problematic, it means your key is bad. PERIOD. I have physically removed the dashboard on a maxima and manually traced the wiring in order to draw my own schematic of the electrical wiring. The technique Nissan employs to crisscross relay circuits with operating circuits is absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately, it makes it impractical to succeed at simply employing Old School fixes like running your own hot wire to a specific component. If you're not prepared to accept this reality, you are better off buying another make of vehicle and joining the group which holds the opinion that Nissans are junk. Those of us who know better will appreciate you when you sell your Nissan "junk" for next to nothing rather than admit that the NATS is too effective to simply bypass.

  4. Rosa is correct but her statement is misleading. If your working transponder key is stolen, the perpetrator can start your car and drive it away. The Nissan Anti Theft System, (NATS), will need to be reinitialized. This will erase all transponder codes from the NATS and prevent the person in possession of your stolen key from stealing your car. (Of course, the codes from your spare keys will need to be re-entered into the NATS before they will work again.) Bottom line: keys are important. Keep them secure. Can an individual, equipped with a modern diagnostic scanner/programmer steal your car? Yes, but, they will need to have a transponder key that will open the door and turn the ignition cylinder. So, now they must have the necessary tools and know-how to make a key for your car. Busting out a window and forcing the ignition cylinder to turn doesn't work. If a fully equipped qualified locksmith, in possession of a $2000 scanner, who has the expertise to use the scanner and also has a blank transponder key specific to the make/model of your car, wants to steal your car, he/she can do it. (This assumes they are not confronted during the time it takes to make the key and initialize/reprogram your vehicles anti theft system.) Typically, a person with these skills and resources will simply choose to earn an honest living and avoid the risk of incarceration. The same goes for anyone in possession of a flatbed tow vehicle and the skills to operate it. They already have a license to kidnap vehicles illegally parked on private property so they can (legally) demand an unreasonable ransom for their return. Why bother stealing cars? The days of busting a window and touching a couple of wires together under the dashboard are long gone. That doesn't make it safe to leave your brand new car parked in the middle of nowhere and expect it to be there when you return. Unless it's The Batmobile.

  5. will the the anti theft keep the suv from cranking? it cranks but will not fire i have changed out several parts that have to do with fireing but still no go.

  6. Problem started change oil not reset properly, disconnecting battery not shut down anti theft, lost automatic key. Been acting stupid on dash lights

  7. Thank you, very helpful and informative. Probably the best answer on line. We were dealing with two issues: the inertia switch and the anti-thief on a newly bought 95 Lincoln town car. this is why they got rid of it very cheap, but with us fixing these, we're super happy. upset for a few days though. We fixed the inertia and then wouldn't start for the anti-thief, but figured out on our own but wanted to look at your expertise. Only question: once started, the anti-thief shouldn't just pop on and shut the engine down while it is running. I don't want to have to get the tow strap out again! LOL!

  8. My Chrysler T & C 2008 Locks me in alarm sounding, I can open door manually alarm continued. It locks me out... It turns off all electrical as if the Battery has been disconnected, sometimes at 70 MPH on the freeway. The gauges give me warning but its a different warning most every time.etc...

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