[Fixed] Service Theft Deterrent System Car Won’t Start

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A theft deterrent system, as the name suggests, is an anti-theft feature in cars that prevent them from being hijacked. Whenever it detects any such signs of danger, it disables your vehicle’s starter, ignition system, and fuel, to protect it.

While this technology has proven to be really helpful for improving your vehicle’s safety and does a great job in alerting the users about any break-in attempts, it also has its own faults that can be encountered over time with your vehicle.

In the event of any issue with the theft deterrent system, the check engine light tends to light up too. However, that’s certainly not something you need to worry about as of now. You should be more worried about getting your engine immobilized due to false threats instead.

If that’s something you’re struggling with, keep reading to find out how to fix this issue.


Service Theft Deterrent System Message – What Does It Mean?

The service theft deterrent system message notifies you that your vehicle’s anti-theft system is facing an issue, especially if you have a Chevrolet, Opel, or GM. This will prevent you from starting the engine until you get rid of the issue and don’t see the message anymore.

All of the GM vehicles have this theft deterrent system that keeps your car safe from breaking in. When someone attempts to steal or vandalize your vehicle, the feature triggers a loud alarm to scare away the thief, but also draw attention to it.

It will only go off when you deactivate it manually. However, even though the system is quite sophisticated, there are still chances that it may malfunction, and when it does, you’ll see the message “service theft deterrent system” on your dashboard.

While this happens, the vehicle will not start or move anywhere, until you solve the issue.


What Causes The Service Theft Deterrent System Issue?

There can be various reasons why you’re seeing the service theft deterrent system message on your vehicle’s dashboard. Here’s a comprehensive list of all such causes:

Defective Theft Deterrent System

The security system itself is made up of a large number of sensors and electronic components, which means there may be a likelihood that some of them have failed. While diagnosing such issues isn’t easy, we recommend getting your car checked through an expert.

Faulty Key Fob Transponder

There’s a small transponder chip located inside the key fob that’s responsible for communicating with the immobilizer when you attempt to start the engine. If this component is problematic or has lost its data, the immobilizer may not recognize it anymore and prevent the vehicle from starting.

Dead Key Fob Battery

The key fob is usually used to disable the theft deterrent system when it has been activated. You can also stick the key in the ignition to turn it off, alternatively. However, if the key fob’s battery is dead, you may not be able to use it to deactivate the system.

Low Battery Charge

As the theft deterrent system itself is an electronic component, it also require the power to operate optimally. If the system’s battery isn’t working properly, then it can trigger a false error in the system, which will make your vehicle immobilized.


How Can You Fix the Service Theft Deterrent System Message?

Depending on the cause of the issue, there can be several ways you can fix it, such as:

Check for Trouble Codes

To determine what’s exactly causing the issue with your anti-theft system, you can use an OBDII scanner to read the trouble codes associated with the module. This will help you identify the root cause of the issue, and determine whether it can be fixed by you or not.

Replace/Recharge Your Car’s Battery

In case you don’t find any stored trouble codes associated with the component, you should consider checking the charge of your vehicle’s battery. If there’s a problem doing so, you may remove it and get it inspected through an auto parts store.

Alternatively, you can also do it yourself by using a multimeter through the steps given below:

  • Turn on the headlights for a couple of minutes to remove any surface charge that could give you a false reading.
  • If the headlights don’t turn on, the battery is likely dead and needs to be charged.
  • After a few minutes, turn off the headlights.
  • Set your multimeter to read between 5 and 20 volts.
  • Connect the positive terminal of the multimeter to the positive side of the battery and the negative terminal to the negative side.
  • Check the reading on the multimeter. If it is less than 12.6 volts, the battery may be dead.

Replace Key Fob Battery

If the battery of your key fob dies, then the security system won’t be able to pair the appropriate key to your vehicle, which may prevent you from disabling the system after it has been enabled. It’s easy to determine if the key fob battery is discharged as it will also disable other functions like locking and unlocking the doors.

Visit a Repair Shop

If none of the aforementioned fixes seem to be working for you, then you may have to deal with some bigger issues. The best thing, in this case, is to take your vehicle to a professional and get it serviced by an expert.


What’s Likely to Trigger the Service Theft Deterrent System?

Modern automobiles are equipped with state-of-the-art sensors that facilitate the seamless operation of features such as park assist and theft deterrent systems.

These sensors are designed to detect any physical intrusion, be it through touch, impact, or force, and emit an auditory warning to the vehicle’s owner, thereby providing an early indication of potential danger.

However, in some instances, the system may malfunction and emit warning sounds without any discernible cause. In such cases, it is advisable to conduct a thorough examination of the car battery, key fob batteries, immobilizer, and car doors to ensure that they are in optimal working condition.


Final Words

While a service theft deterrent system is a crucial feature in modern cars, it may be malfunctioning and preventing your car from starting. To resolve these issues, the aforementioned information should work like a charm for you.


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