Automakers have made drastic improvements to their security and alarm systems to combat vehicle theft. However, with rising material costs, some manufacturers have chosen not to add immobilizers, making vehicle theft much easier. The implementation of immobilizers makes it more difficult to steal a vehicle using the vehicle’s specific keys, but not impossible.
Unfortunately, some vehicles are more susceptible to theft due to how easy it is. Fortunately, there are preventative steps you can take to prevent your car from being stolen. One of them installing a kill switch, and this is how he does it.
What is a kill switch?
A kill switch in an automotive context is when an additional switch is installed in your vehicle for security and theft deterrence. This switch can take the form of many shapes and sizes where imagination is your only limiting factor.
There are mainly two types: battery and fuel cut-off switches. Both types of circuit breakers will require minor modifications to your vehicle. While each type targets different vehicle parameters, they both serve the same purpose: to prevent the vehicle from starting. Without full continuity in power or fuel supply, stealing your vehicle will be much more difficult.
Parts Needed for a Kill Switch
For a successful installation of the kill switch, you will need some parts and tools to do it. Most of these are basic tools that may already exist in your home.
- toggle switch
- various wires
- wire stripper
- Insulating tape or heat shrink tubing
- cable ties
- Assortment of plugs
- Security bits (optional)
These tools will apply to most apps, though some may need extra security bits to gain access to the things you need.
Emergency switch installation process
The process of installing a kill switch in a car will be different for each car manufacturer. Therefore, there may be slight differences depending on the type of car, although the process remains similar for most.
Start by locating where your relays are, specifically your fuel pump relay. Some will need to be disassembled to gain access to their relays. It’s located under the steering column in our test vehicle, although yours may be in a different location. Also, some vehicles house their relays under the hood, so it’s best to check your owner’s manual or try to find your owner’s manual for free online.
Once you have located the fuel pump relay, pull the relay and determine which harness pin receives the signal when the key is turned to the “ON” position using your multimeter. Then ground the negative end of the multimeter to a piece of metal and the positive end to the pins where you removed the fuel relay from. Only one of these pins will send a power signal, which is the pin you want to tap into, altering the signal going down the cable.
You can install the kill switch by cutting the wire on the harness and connecting the two exposed ends of the wires to the two terminals on your switch. You will need to run the wires to the desired location of your kill switch, although the orientation of the wires does not matter. You can use heat shrink tubing or electrical tape to clean your connections and prevent electrical shorts. At this point in the installation, the kill switch you installed should be fully functional and alter the ability to start the car.
Before you put your vehicle back together, test your kill switch, as it’s much better to find a problem now than when it’s all back together. Test the power switch by placing it in the “ON” position. Your vehicle should start and act like nothing has been tampered with. Alternatively, placing it in the “OFF” position should prevent you from starting the car, giving you the added measure of security you want.
For the kill switch to be fully effective, it must remain hidden and limited to your knowledge only. If you put it under the dash it would be pretty easy to find, so this is where you can get creative when placing the switch. From the glove box to your trunk, your imagination is your only limitation!
3 easy ways to protect your car
Installing a kill switch is more of a permanent modification. If this car is your daily driver, a kill switch could become a nuisance. And, if wiring isn’t your cup of tea, luckily there are other methods of securing your vehicle with products on the market. Acting as two-factor authentication methods, here are three more ways to secure your vehicle.
steering wheel lock
A steering wheel lock is a security measure you can add to your vehicle. This will lock the steering wheel so that it cannot be steered without removing the steering lock. While this is not the most effective security measure, it will surely slow down the process for any potential thieves.
Locking of the brake or clutch pedal
Like the steering wheel lock, pedal locks achieve another level of security. Most designs tend to clamp the pedal to the steering wheel to prevent the pedals from being operated. Alternatively, for those with manual transmissions, a pedal lock is placed over the clutch to prevent someone from rolling the car.
Pulling the fuel pump fuse
The last easy way to secure your vehicle is by pulling the fuel pump fuse. Combustion engines need a spark, fuel, and air to run, and by limiting one of the needs, it will never run.
Most fuse boxes have diagrams behind the cover indicating the responsibilities of the fuse, although some may need to obtain this information from the owner’s manual. However, the downside to this method is that it is just as easy to replace the fuel pump fuse as it was to remove it. However, even this will slow the path of any potential thief.
Keep your car protected!
Despite the high number of vehicle thefts, there are many preventive measures that can be taken to further protect your vehicle from the factory alarm. Most of these additional safety features are relatively inexpensive and valuable for the sake of your vehicle and your peace of mind. From physical kill switches to steering wheel locks, an added measure of security is always available!