Do Ignition Interlock Devices Malfunction?

Ignition interlock devices from ALCOLOCK are precise, high tech pieces of equipment. In this article, we only address ALCOLOCK devices. We can’t speak for the other companies out there. Since all of our devices meet or exceed the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) model specifications for ignition interlock devices, a true malfunction is unlikely.

Our IIDs undergo strenuous conformance testing to ensure they are reliable, accurate, and precise.  They are built for stability and can withstand temperature extremes. In addition, ALCOLOCK is ISO 9001 Certified, meaning we our actual manufacturing processes and the ignition interlock devices themselves meet or exceed industry standards for quality. We consistently provide quality products that meet customer,  regulatory, and statutory requirements.

No Such Thing as a False Positive Breath Test Result

The biggest myth about ignition interlock devices is that they can give you a false positive breath test result. Our IIDs are highly sensitive and highly accurate. They use alcohol-specific fuel cell sensors and can detect the tiniest amount of alcohol on your breath. In most states, the blood alcohol content (BAC) level at which you would fail the test is .02. The device will record breath samples with a lower BAC than that.

If you haven’t been drinking, and your ignition interlock device says you failed the test and won’t let you start your car, it may be because of something else you ate or drank. This is why we recommend rinsing your mouth out with water after you eat or drink, and waiting a few minutes before giving a breath sample.

There are a number of things that contain alcohol that could cause the IID to lock you out, even if you haven’t been drinking. These include:

  • Energy drinks
  • Non-alcoholic beer and wine
  • Cough syrup and cold medications
  • Mouthwash
  • Breath spray
  • Rum cake
  • Pasta with vodka sauce
  • Vanilla extract
  • Bread, pizza, and pastries that contain yeast
  • Red wine vinegar

You may want to avoid eating or drinking these items before you plan to drive.

Troubleshooting Your Ignition Interlock Device

All of that being said, sometimes your ignition interlock device may not start or may send you messages that you’re confused by. So we’ve compiled some troubleshooting tips to help you figure out what’s happening. And remember, you can call ALCOLOCK 24/7 if you are having trouble.

The Ignition Interlock Device Won’t Turn On

If your device won’t turn on at all, the most common problem is that your car battery is low or has died completely. Check your vehicle battery to make sure that it’s working. You may need to change out your battery. If the problem persists after you change your battery, contact your local service provider for more information and to find a solution.

The IID Displays an Error Code

All of our ignition interlock devices come with a Compliance Guide. You should refer to the “Handset Message” list in your Compliance Guide to see what the code means and what you need to do about it.

The Device Displays an Early Recall or Immediate Recall

You may get this message because you failed a certain number of tests, or you tried to tamper with the device. The only way to resolve this issue is to schedule a service appointment. Call (866) 700-9300 to schedule an appointment to resolve the issue.

The Device Aborts a Breath Test

You can retry the breath test to see if it will take. If your ignition interlock device aborts the test again, check if it’s displaying an error code. If it is, refer to the Handset Message list in your Compliance Guide to see what you should do.

The Device is in Permanent Lockout

This can happen if you fail a certain number of tests, or if you tried to tamper with or remove the device. The only way to resolve this issue is to schedule a service appointment. Call

(866) 700-9300 to schedule an appointment.

The Device Indicates That It Requires Service

Your ignition interlock device is set up to send you reminders that you are due for a service appointment. These are generally every 30 days. The device may also indicate it requires service if it has self-diagnosed an issue that needs to be resolved. You must bring your vehicle in for the scheduled maintenance visit or face a lockout. Call (866) 700-9300 to schedule an appointment to resolve the issue.

If you have an issue that you can’t resolve by checking your Compliance Guide, you can always call us and troubleshoot the issue over the phone.

Schedule Your Ignition Interlock Installation

Do you need to get an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle? Do you want to save money? ALCOLOCK can help. We have installation locations across the country, and we provide fast and affordable ignition interlock device installation. Call the service center nearest you to schedule an installation appointment, or call ALCOLOCK at (866) 700-9300.

Be sure to have your DMV/DOT paperwork with you when you call, to help us confirm your eligibility for your state’s restricted driving program. We can generally get you scheduled within 48 hours of your call.

At ALCOLOCK, our goal is to get you back on the road quickly. We look forward to working with you!

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