How To Remove Dealership Kill Switch

By ROYAL FURY

If you’ve purchased a used car from a dealership, you may have discovered that the previous owner had a kill switch installed. A kill switch is an anti-theft device that prevents the car from starting unless a certain sequence of actions is taken.

While this can be useful for protecting your vehicle, it can also be an annoyance if the dealership doesn’t remove it before selling you the car. Fortunately, removing a dealership kill switch is usually a straightforward process.

What is a Dealership Kill Switch?

A dealership kill switch, also sometimes called a starter interrupt device, is an electronic anti-theft device that dealerships install in the cars on their lot. It works by interrupting the power between the ignition and the starter motor, preventing the engine from turning over and starting when the key is turned.

The device has a wireless remote control fob that dealership staff use to activate and deactivate the kill switch. When active, the device makes it impossible to start the car without the remote, even if you have the proper keys. This prevents potential thieves from driving off the lot with a stolen vehicle.

Kill switches are most commonly installed in high-end, luxury, or sports vehicles that are more likely to be targeted by criminals. They provide an extra layer of security while the cars sit unattended on the dealer’s lot. However, the devices must be removed prior to sale, or else the new owner will be unable to start their own vehicle.

What Is A Dealership Kill Switch?
What is a Dealership Kill Switch?

Why Would a Kill Switch be Left Installed?

There are a few reasons why a dealership might accidentally leave a dealership kill switch installed on a used car:

  • Forgetfulness: In their haste to complete a sale, dealership staff may simply forget to remove and deactivate the device.
  • Improper training: If new sales staff are not properly trained on how to spot and remove kill switches, they may miss seeing them installed on inventory vehicles.
  • rushed sales: High-volume dealers that sell many used cars daily may accidentally overlook removing kill switches in their rush to complete transactions.
  • Multiple devices: Some vehicles may have more than one kill switch device installed. If staff only remove one, they may leave another activated.
MethodDescription
Professional HelpRecommended: Consult a professional automotive technician for safe removal.
Disable LegallyEnsure you’re in compliance with local laws and dealership agreements when removing it.
Locate Kill SwitchIdentify the exact location of the kill switch within your vehicle.
Disconnect WiringCarefully disconnect the wiring connected to the kill switch.
Remove SwitchUnmount or remove the physical kill switch from your car’s system.
Removing Dealership Kill Switch

Warning Signs a Kill Switch is Installed

If you find yourself unable to start your used car’s engine despite turning the key, it may indicate that a dealership kill switch was left installed. Here are some other signs that point to a kill switch problem:

The starter clicks but does not turn over the engine when you attempt to start the car. The lights and electronics turn on, but the engine does not crank and start up. There is no noise at all when the key is turned – not even a click. It’s as if power is being disrupted between the ignition switch and starter.

You’ve checked the battery, connections, and starter motor and confirmed they are good. The only explanation left is an anti-theft kill switch interrupting the process. There is an unexplained button or toggle switch installed under the dash that doesn’t seem to do anything.

What Is A Dealership Kill Switch?
What is a Dealership Kill Switch?

How to Bypass and Remove a Dealership Kill Switch

Here is the process for locating and disabling a dealership kill switch so you can start your car:

Locate the Kill Switch Device

The first step is finding where the physical dealership kill switch device is installed. Check these common locations:

  • Zip-tied under the dashboard or steering column shrouds
  • Mounted near the OBDII port under the dash
  • Along the starter motor wires in the engine bay
  • Mounted atop the transmission or nearby
  • Underneath the center console storage bin
  • Behind panels in the trunk or cargo area

Look for a small black or gray box with wires leading from it. It may have a button or switch on it or a place to plug in a remote fob.

Bypass the Device

Once you locate the device, determine the best way to bypass it:

  • Unplug it if it’s connected via an electrical harness. This instantly disables it.
  • Cut the wires leading from it to disable the interrupter switch. Make sure to electrical tape bare ends.
  • If wired directly into the starter circuit, carefully identify the wires that run through it and bypass it by jumping them together.

The key is interrupting the dealership kill switch’s ability to break the circuit between ignition and starter. Carefully identify the correct wires and bypass the connections around the device.

Bypass The Device
Bypass the Device

Deactivate the Remote Fob

If the device has a wireless remote fob, make sure you locate and deactivate it as well or the kill switch could still be triggered:

  • Look in the glovebox, center console, or trunk/cargo areas for the fob.
  • Remove the battery from the remote fob. This disables its ability to send signals.
  • Try pressing buttons on the fob in different sequences which may disable it – though there’s no guarantee with aftermarket devices.
  • Keep the remote fob well hidden in case the dealership asks for its return later.

With both the dealership kill switch bypass and remote deactivated, your car’s ignition and starter should function normally again.

Replace Ignition Lock Cylinder

On some vehicles, the kill switch may be wired into the ignition lock cylinder instead of the starter circuit. In these cases, you may need to replace the ignition cylinder completely to remove the kill switch.

This involves disassembling the steering column covers and shrouds to access the cylinder. Replace it with a new one from an auto parts store that does not have the integrated kill switch. Make sure to get one that matches your specific make and model.

Carnexus
Replace Ignition Lock Cylinder

Program New Keys

Once you replace the ignition cylinder, the old keys likely won’t work anymore. You’ll need to have new keys cut and programmed by a professional locksmith or dealership service tech to match the new cylinder.

This adds time and expense to the process but is necessary or you won’t be able to turn the ignition with your existing keys. Fortunately, the locksmith or dealer can provide new transponder chipped keys and program them on-site.

Clear Any Error Codes

Finally, once the kill switch is fully removed, turn the key and start the engine. If it stalls out, use an OBD-II scanner tool to check for any codes in the PCM. The kill switch may have triggered anti-theft codes that now need clearing.

A scanner can reset the PCM and clear any erroneous codes so it stops detecting an immobilizer issue. The engine should then start and run cleanly going forward.

Clear Any Error Codes
Clear Any Error Codes

Preventing Dealership Kill Switch Issues

To avoid running into issues with dealership kill switches when buying used:

  • Ask sales staff if the vehicle has an anti-theft device before finalizing a purchase. Don’t take possession until it’s removed.
  • Review paperwork for any mentions of a kill switch or immobilizer system on the car.
  • Ask to see simple proof like the staff starting the car with their keys prior to final sale.
  • Inspect under the dash and hood for signs of an installed kill switch yourself. Look for a toggle button or extra wiring leading to the starter.

Dealing with Pushback from the Dealership

Most reputable dealers will understand if they accidentally left a dealership kill switch activated on your newly purchased car. However, some may resist reimbursing you for the cost of parts and labor for removing it yourself. Here are some tips on dealing with pushback:

Politely but firmly request compensation for your expense and time in correcting their oversight. Don’t get angry or threatening. Have documentation like repair invoices detailing the bypass work completed.

Remain calm and reiterate how the device prevented normal use of the vehicle you bought in good faith. Dealers have a responsibility to provide operational vehicles. State how you could have been stranded or late for work had you not remedied the issue quickly yourself. Inconvenience matters.

If the dealer installed the kill switch, point out how they also assumed responsibility for proper removal before selling. Offer to mail back any kill switch parts or fobs to show you fully removed but did not steal it.

a dealership if they resist for removing a kill switch:

To get a dealership to remove an unwanted add-on, stay calm but firm in the request. Review your sales contract for support and escalate to managers if needed. Document all interactions and file complaints with consumer agencies or corporate offices.

If unsuccessful, consult a lemon law attorney or threaten returning the car. You can also report issues to the Better Business Bureau or consider legal routes like small claims court. Check for arbitration clauses in your contract to utilize.

Keep pressing professionally through their dispute resolution process until the unwanted add-on is removed.

A Dealership If They Resist  For Removing A Kill Switch:
a dealership if they resist for removing a kill switch:

is using kill switch good?

The Good:

  • Added security – A dealership kill switch interrupts the ignition or fuel pump, making it harder for thieves to steal the vehicle. It’s an extra anti-theft layer.
  • Remote control – dealership Kill switches can be activated remotely with a wireless key fob. This allows you to disable the vehicle from a distance if it’s stolen.
  • Insurance discounts – Some insurance companies offer lower rates for cars with anti-theft add-ons like kill switches.
  • Quick to install – Basic kill switches DIY install under the dash in under 30 mins. More complex versions take professional installation.
  • Low cost – You can buy basic kill switches for as little as $50. Even higher-end versions are under $300 in most cases.

The Bad:

  • Can strand you – If the dealership kill switch fails, it could leave you stranded with a car that won’t start suddenly.
  • Maintenance – You have to make sure the switch and remote fob batteries don’t die or the device becomes useless.
  • Extra step to start car – Having to push a button or sequence before starting the car each time can be a hassle.
  • Potential theft deterrent only – Smart thieves can still bypass many kill switch systems if determined enough.
  • No guarantee – Having a dealership kill switch doesn’t guarantee a thief won’t still target and be able to steal your car. It just presents an extra obstacle.

How to Check Your Car’s Kill Switch for Issues

Your car won’t start or turn over when you try to start it. The starter won’t engage at all or only clicks once. This could point to the kill switch interrupting the circuit.
The kill switch seems to be activating randomly or for no reason, suddenly preventing your car from starting.

Your car starts sometimes but not others. An intermittent starting issue that doesn’t correspond to anything else is a clue of a potential dealership kill switch problem. You have to wiggle, tap, or jiggle the kill switch to get your car to start. If mechanical impact seems to affect switch function, it likely has a loose connection.

  • Your remote key fob has reduced range or doesn’t deactivate the kill switch reliably. Signal issues usually stem from a bad fob battery or defective switch antenna.
  • Your kill switch doesn’t visually indicate activation status properly. Good switches have an LED light display or audible confirmation.
  • The kill switch mounting or wiring shows corrosion, damage, or loose fit. This can cause faulty electrical connections and switch failure.

FAQs

Can a dealership install a kill switch?

Yes, many dealerships will install a starter interrupt device or payment assurance device when financing vehicles. These kill switches allow the dealer to remotely disable the starter system if loan payments are missed. The kill switch provides the dealer some insurance on collecting payment. This type of device is usually noted in the financing contract.

How do you bypass the starter interrupt device?

The only safe, legal way to bypass the starter interrupt is to fulfill the terms and regain permission from the lender. Tampering with or disabling the device without authorization could violate your contract. Get written approval of a repayment plan before attempting any bypass.

Can you remove kill switch?

You should not attempt to remove or tamper with the kill switch without lender approval, as doing so could violate your financing terms. Some devices also have tamper safeguards. To get the kill switch uninstalled, you must refinance through another lender who will handle removal professionally.

Can you start a car with a kill switch?

It depends on the type, but most starter interrupt kill switches are designed to completely prevent ignition when activated, stalling the engine if running and not allowing it to turn over. The only way to legally start the car is to fulfill payment terms so the lender will deactivate the kill switch and allow starting again.

How do I find the kill switch?

Check under the dashboard, in the glovebox, under seats, and look for any aftermarket wiring. Kill switches can be hidden anywhere, so be thorough when searching.

Can you remove kill switch?

You can attempt to remove a kill switch installed by a dealership, but it’s typically illegal and very challenging. Kill switches are wired into critical systems so improperly removing them can cause electrical issues or leave the car unable to start. Get the dealership’s consent first or you may void warranties.

Can a dealership put a kill switch on your car?

Yes, some dealerships will install GPS trackers and kill switches on cars they finance, especially for buyers with poor credit. This gives the dealer remote repossession capabilities if payments are missed. Review the contract carefully, as you may have agreed to the device by accepting the terms.

Is it illegal to remove GPS tracker from a financed car?

Generally yes, it’s illegal to remove a GPS tracker installed on a financed vehicle as a condition of the loan. Your finance contract likely authorizes the tracker, so removing it could qualify as obstruction of repossession or theft. The lender could take legal action if you disable the device.

How to tell if your car has a kill switch from the dealership?

Warning signs of a kill switch include wires leading from the starter or ignition that weren’t there before, a small black box tucked under the dash or seat, antenna wires going to the trunk, or plastic panels removed under the steering column. The dealer may have also mentioned the device during purchase discussions.

Conclusion

Dealerships often install starter interrupt devices on financed vehicles, allowing them to remotely disable cars for nonpayment. While frustrating, it’s risky and likely illegal to attempt bypassing or removing a kill switch yourself without lender consent.

The safest approach is to work with the dealer by getting a formal repayment plan approved in writing. This contractually binds them to remove the kill switch upon satisfying terms. If the relationship with your dealer has soured, consider refinancing

the car through another lender who will handle switch removal professionally. With some diligence and communication, you can get a dealership’s kill switch taken out through proper legal procedures and regain full use of your vehicle. Just don’t attempt risky workarounds that could backfire and cause legal trouble.

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