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Old 7th March 2014, 10:07   #1
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Default 3 cars with Maruti's security system refuse to unlock. Signal jammers at work?

Car in question: Dec-2013 Swift Dzire Vxi

Yesterday a funny (although serious) thing happened which I thought of sharing and getting advice on for the future. My car was parked outside Lilavati Hospital (in Mumbai) and when I tried to unlock the car using the remote, the car refused to unlock. As I had a heavy bag, I unlocked the car with the key thinking of keeping the bag inside and then figuring it out.

Once the security breach noise started, a random person walked up to me and said that he is facing the same issue! His car (Maruti ERTIGA) wouldn't unlock using the remote! He had called Maruti on road assistance and they guaranteed a 1 hour service so even I called them up and logged in the complaint.

In the meanwhile, I called up my service station and they were clueless and suggested I call Nippon. Similarly when I called Nippon they were clueless and said that they would send their service adviser the next day! The Maruti on road assistance folks were equally clueless.

Now, we heard another Maruti security breach noise. That car was a SX4 and the owner faced the exact same issue! Now, there were 3 cars with the same issue. Okay, lightning doesn't strike twice, but surely doesn't strike thrice!

In this pandemonium, almost as I was randomly playing with buttons on the remote, my car unlocked! And when the other 2 guys tried it, their cars also unlocked!!! WOW, I mean really, WOW! We all decided to sit in the car, start immediately and just rush home without even bothering to switch the car off at traffic signals.

Once I reached home yesterday, and this morning again, everything seems to be back to normal as if nothing ever happened! Thankfully it was my last meeting for the day and I was in Mumbai (not on the highway!) and so I didn't have any issues as such.

NOW, wanted some inputs from fellow BHP-ians:
1. Why did such a problem happen? Has anyone experienced this before?
2. In an emergency situation, how to deal with the remote malfunctioning? I mean, the battery could die when I am on the highway or something. Would the immobilizer kick in if I drive the car with the breach in security system?
3. Any other advise / comments...

Thanks!
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Old 7th March 2014, 11:29   #2
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Default re: 3 cars with Maruti's security system refuse to unlock. Signal jammers at work?

If the location was same for all vehicles, affected vehicles had the Maruti Nippon system - maybe some other electronic device was operating in the same frequency band used by the Nippon system and jamming the remote signals.

If the same thing stopped, the remotes started working!

Purely my guesswork, the above...
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Old 7th March 2014, 11:35   #3
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I agree with mmxylorider! It has to do with some kind of signal jammer
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Old 7th March 2014, 11:49   #4
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Default re: 3 cars with Maruti's security system refuse to unlock. Signal jammers at work?

I second mmxylorider!

At first, I thought it was a weak remote battery. It's possible that the second guy too could have had the same issue, though the coincidence is suspicious.

But then a third guy with the same issue at the same place and same time can only mean one thing. And that is, there was some electronic interference in the frequency band used by the OEM remote locking system (Nippon, I guess) of Maruti Suzuki.

Since you mentioned a hospital, the source is obvious. A hospital would usually have several electronic (medical) equipment that emit strong waves with various kinds of frequencies. Somehow, at that time, some piece of hospital equipment was emitting waves in the frequency that messed with the remote locking system of the Maruti Suzukis. Once that equipment was switched off, or you moved out of range, everything became normal. Nothing to worry about!

In case your remote battery dies when you need it, one is left with no choice other than to use the keys. This will trigger the alarm obviously. Or you can try removing the battery of the remote and putting it back in again, and then using it very close to the car. This may work once or twice, I guess - if the issue is a weak remote battery.

There are two kinds of engine immobilisers. One is the remote central locking based engine immobilisers. This can cause a problem when the remote battery goes dead.

The other, and the much better type, is the ECU controlled, key-based engine immobilisers - the iCATS system on Maruti Suzukis is an example. Your car will only start when the correct key is inserted into the ignition slot, and by no other means. This is NOT linked to the remote locking system at all. And this system does not have a battery* on the key to authenticate itself to the ECU. So no worries about a dead battery!

* - the iCATS immobiliser does not require a battery at all. However, your key may have a battery - this battery belongs to the remote locking system, which is independent of the iCATS immobiliser.

Last edited by RSR : 7th March 2014 at 12:05.
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Old 7th March 2014, 11:53   #5
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Default re: 3 cars with Maruti's security system refuse to unlock. Signal jammers at work?

I agree with MMXYLORIDER. You even mentioned you were outside a hospital so there could have been some systems/machinery/scanners which were interfering with security system of the cars mentioned.

Nippon should take it up and do a research based on this to ensure it doesnt happen in the future. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 7th March 2014, 11:53   #6
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Default re: 3 cars with Maruti's security system refuse to unlock. Signal jammers at work?

At my hospital, there are cell phone jammers near the Radio diagnosis, Nuclear testing and Radiosurgery departments but they usually do just that, block CDMA and GSM frequencies.

But yes, what you're saying is funny, to me, because our new car park is almost directly behind the new Radiosurgery department and there, my friend's Ertiga's keys sporadically stop working although my Polo's don't. This happens about once in a week or so.

Keys usally are on 418Mhz or 433.92Mhz from what I know and these are extensively used by radio tinkerers and maybe some equipment inside of the hospital is emitting this frequency for communication like Automation systems or security system sensors for communicating or some smoke alarms, just maybe.

What I take from your situation is that the frequency might have stopped for those few minutes when you were able to unlock.

Also, this happening only with Suzukis probably has to do with some old ass algorithm or frequency shift key modulation Nippon uses and provides OEM for installation in Suzukis of India.
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Old 7th March 2014, 11:57   #7
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Default re: 3 cars with Maruti's security system refuse to unlock. Signal jammers at work?

My brother's car would not lock/unlock using remote whenever he would visit the supermarket he usually goes to. And the same problem was reported by few of his friends also. we concluded that it may be because of the Mobile tower that was positioned in that particular parking lot.

Regards,
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Old 7th March 2014, 12:13   #8
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Default re: 3 cars with Maruti's security system refuse to unlock. Signal jammers at work?

This can happen and had seen once. Something to do with signals getting zonked with electrical interference and weak battery combo? Just pushed the car few meters away and it started working fine :P Till date unexplained.
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Old 7th March 2014, 12:42   #9
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Default re: 3 cars with Maruti's security system refuse to unlock. Signal jammers at work?

Remotes work with radio signals, and today's wireless world has an abundance of interference possibilities. Can't help with that, but there's a possible workaround.

Disclaimer: I had a Nippon system in my old jelly bean shaped Zen in the early 2000s (installed through MGA at the dealer), so this info may no longer be applicable. Please check with Nippon/consult the system's user manual for details.


The Nippon systems have an override click-type switch (mine was installed under the steering column). You could program a 4-digit pass-code (default was 1111 if I remember right), that would override the alarm and immobilizer when unlocking with a key due to a dead remote.

The process was a bit elaborate and needed a couple of mins to get right. You needed to turn your key in the ignition in a set pattern, while alternately clicking the switch for your set code, which would ultimately disable the alarm and immobilizer and let you start your car.

Happened to me a couple of times once the Nippon system aged a few years, and the override came to the rescue.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 7th March 2014 at 12:45.
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Old 7th March 2014, 12:52   #10
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Default re: 3 cars with Maruti's security system refuse to unlock. Signal jammers at work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by avdhesh15 View Post
2. In an emergency situation, how to deal with the remote malfunctioning? I mean, the battery could die when I am on the highway or something. Would the immobilizer kick in if I drive the car with the breach in security system?
In theory, one can use override switch and "disarm" Nippon system. But in practice, it is too difficult to use and key-in the security code.

What I did in similar situation is, I just cut the wire that was connected to Alarm's siren/speaker and drove off. That speaker is different from Horn. Lights stopped blinking after 15 - 20 minutes.

Immobilizer is managed by a different system that is not impacted by remote.
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Old 7th March 2014, 13:51   #11
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Default re: 3 cars with Maruti's security system refuse to unlock. Signal jammers at work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NetfreakBombay View Post
In theory, one can use override switch and "disarm" Nippon system. But in practice, it is too difficult to use and key-in the security code.

What I did in similar situation is, I just cut the wire that was connected to Alarm's siren/speaker and drove off. That speaker is different from Horn. Lights stopped blinking after 15 - 20 minutes.

Immobilizer is managed by a different system that is not impacted by remote.
If I unlock a remote-locked car with a key, not only does the alarm go off, but the immobilizer gets activated too. Observed same behavior with my Zen's Nippon system and the Autocop system in my Accent.

The first time I was fumbling with the override, I did disconnect the hooter because it was late at night in a public area, but I still had to go through the override process before I could crank the engine.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 7th March 2014 at 13:54.
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Old 7th March 2014, 13:58   #12
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Default re: 3 cars with Maruti's security system refuse to unlock. Signal jammers at work?

Did Mumbai Mirror reported sighting of any aliens or Jadoo over Mumbai skyline yesterday?
Jokes apart, I can confirm radiology departments using signal jammers. If some procedure is in progress, it would have blocked the security system signals too.
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Old 7th March 2014, 18:48   #13
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Default Re: 3 cars with Maruti's security system refuse to unlock. Signal jammers at work?

Please read your owners manual. All of these systems have an emergency override feature with a pass code. You have to press lock/unlock button on the dashboard in a certain manner way to unlock it. It is often used to program the system besides adjusting the impact sensitivity of the sensors etc.
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Old 7th March 2014, 19:25   #14
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Default Re: 3 cars with Maruti's security system refuse to unlock. Signal jammers at work?

This same problem occurs in a particular region of my office, where if you park most of the time Toyota cars get affected.

The ones that come inbuilt with the security lock on the keys.
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Old 7th March 2014, 20:03   #15
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Default Re: 3 cars with Maruti's security system refuse to unlock. Signal jammers at work?

Be thankful that it happened to you when you tried to unlock the car. Imagine you were in a hurry, just got off the car and pressed the lock button while rushing into the building and interfering signals jammed it open!

I always make it a point to pull my car door handle to check if the remote has "really" locked the car.

Remember watching a *Just for Laughs* episode where they played a prank by installing car remote signal jammers in the parking lot. Since then I started following the "pull" technique religiously :P

Last edited by Warwithwheels : 7th March 2014 at 20:04.
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