Over the past few years, Manitoba Public Insurance has been able to reverse the rising auto theft rate by protecting Most-at-Risk vehicles with approved immobilizers.
What’s the difference between approved immobilizers and others?
Many newer vehicles are equipped with immobilizers at the factory. Several kinds of aftermarket immobilizers are also available.
But not all immobilizers meet the high standards of Manitoba’s immobilizer program.
Approved immobilizers meet the requirements of the National Standard of Canada (ULCS338/98).
Immobilizers of this standard meet a number of requirements for immobilizer technology. Transponder-based technology is key.
The transponder is a radio frequency chip located in the key or key fob. When the chip is near the ignition, it sends a signal that deactivates the immobilizer, allowing the vehicle to start. The vehicle will not start without that signal. That means that when you walk away from your vehicle with the key or key fob, the immobilizer is armed and your vehicle cannot be started.
By contrast, some non-approved immobilizers house the de-activation system in the steering wheel column. In addition, many non-approved immobilizers only disable two systems in a vehicle, while approved immobilizers must disable three.
Thieves have become skilled at defeating these less effective systems. As a result, thefts of these vehicles were on the rise.
When installed according to Manitoba’s high standards, approved immobilizers have not been defeated by auto thieves.
What is the law?
Approved immobilizers are required by provincial law in Most-at–Risk vehicles that:
- Are used in Winnipeg or to commute to Winnipeg.
- Have been stolen or that someone has attempted to steal.
- Are being imported into Manitoba from another jurisdiction.
If the vehicle is used in Winnipeg or to commute to Winnipeg
If you own a Most-at-Risk vehicle and you live in Winnipeg or commute there, it must be equipped with an approved immobilizer for you to renew your registration and on-road coverage. Check here to see whether this requirement applies to your vehicle.
If the vehicle has been stolen or someone has attempted to steal it
You must have an approved immobilizer installed as part of your claim to keep your vehicle registered. This applies anywhere in Manitoba. With your permission, we'll arrange installation along with the other repairs needed from your theft claim. After the installation, you'll receive an Immobilizer Installation Certificate. Keep this form. You must provide it as proof that you've equipped your vehicle with an approved immobilizer. You must have an immobilizer installed by a specified date or your registration will be suspended. If you don't want to keep your vehicle registered, please turn in your registration and licence plates immediately at any Autopac agent.
If you are importing the vehicle
Most-at-Risk vehicles being imported into Manitoba must be equipped with approved immobilizers to be registered here. This applies whether you're a dealer or a private buyer. To register a Most-at-Risk vehicle you've imported, you'll need a valid passed Certificate of Inspection (COI). If your vehicle has not been immobilized at the time of registration, you will receive a grace period to allow time for the installation and proof that you've installed an approved immobilizer.
The grace period is 30 days for vehicles that are either registered in Winnipeg or used to commute to Winnipeg, and 90 days for vehicles registered outside of Winnipeg.
Check here to see whether this requirement applies to a vehicle you want to import.
If you’re a dealer
You can sell an imported Most-at-Risk vehicle with or without an immobilizer installed. But if you’re selling it without an immobilizer, you must tell the buyer both of the following:
- It is on the Government of Manitoba Approved Theft Deterrent Immobilizer Regulation list and is required to be equipped with an approved immobilizer.
- It doesn’t have an approved immobilizer.
When the customer registers the vehicle he or she will have a grace period to have the immobilizer installed – as with vehicles imported into Manitoba, there is a 30-day grace period for vehicles that are either registered in Winnipeg or used to commute to Winnipeg, and a 90-day grace period for vehicles registered outside of Winnipeg. The law applies to Most-at-Risk vehicles listed in Schedule A of the amendment to the Approved Theft Deterrent Immobilizer Regulation.
Approved aftermarket immobilizers must meet the Canadian Standard for Automobile Theft Deterrent Equipment and Systems - ULC S338.
The Most-at-Risk vehicle list was expanded, effective October 1, 2008. You can find out whether your vehicle needs an immobilizer by entering your vehicle information. For more information, see the government news release.
If you have an existing policy on a Most-at-Risk vehicle, you will be notified by Manitoba Public Insurance if an immobilizer is now required in your vehicle. You can also check here to see whether your vehicle is affected.
Under Transport Canada regulations, immobilizers are required as standard equipment in all new vehicles manufactured for sale in Canada after September 1, 2007.
An immobilizer is only effective if the vehicle is secured
Despite the success we’ve seen with the immobilizer program, thieves are still finding ways to steal vehicles by using keys owners have left in easy to find places, like the vehicle’s ignition or elsewhere inside the vehicle. An immobilizer can’t protect a vehicle if the thief has the vehicle’s key or key fob.
Don’t help thieves steal your vehicle – it is inconvenient and can be costly. You’ll be stranded and will lose any personal items you had in the vehicle. Plus, you’ll have to find alternate transportation and might have to pay your deductible.
Keep these tips in mind to safeguard your vehicle:
- Always keep your vehicle locked.
- Don’t leave your vehicle running unattended.
- Don’t keep your keys anywhere inside your vehicle.
- Be careful with your keys to avoid losing them or having them stolen.
- Don’t leave any packages, coins or other valuables in plain view. If they have to stay in your vehicle, lock all items in the trunk.
A few simple measures can go a long way to protect your vehicle.