What Does Invalid Sample Mean On My Ignition Interlock Device?

Your ignition interlock device (IID) is a sensitive piece of technology. As you know, you must submit a breath sample into the handheld device each time you wish to start your car. Sometimes, the device, instead of telling you that you passed or failed the test, will display an error code. There are several error codes, but today we will discuss “What Does Invalid Sample” mean on my ignition interlock device?

If you already have an ignition interlock device installed, you should already have an Owner’s Manual, as well as a Compliance Guide. The Owner’s Manual tells you all about your device, and the Compliance Guide tells you the specific rules and regulations regarding your state’s ignition interlock program. All 50 states have ignition interlock laws, but program requirements vary from state to state.

You may want to refer to the Owner’s Manual as you read this. If you have lost your manual, call your service center to get a new one.

Invalid Sample Error Code and What to Do

First off, to avoid error codes, make sure that the handset is connected properly, that your car battery is in good condition, and that you are not using your mobile phone at the time of the breath test.

You may also wish to use a new mouthpiece. Try not to leave the mouthpiece in your vehicle during cold weather, as you may get condensation inside the mouthpiece, which can cause issues with the breath sample. You may also want to avoid exposing the device to prolonged high temperatures (as in the summer). If the handset is detachable, take it with you when you park the car for the day.

If when you blow into the device you get an Invalid Sample error, don’t panic. This happens most often in the first few weeks after you have an ignition interlock device installed, and you’re still getting used to it. If you get an Invalid Sample error, the device screen may also display Try Again, or Blow Test Error. This simply means there was a problem with the test. Perhaps you didn’t blow into the device correctly. No worries. There are no penalties for this error code.

Try, Try Again

Depending on the device you have, it may even give you a display Message of Blow Longer and Harder or Blow Softer. Follow any directions on the display. You can try the test again immediately. Just make sure you are blowing into the mouthpiece as instructed. (Blow moderately and consistently into the mouthpiece and hum simultaneously.) The device will make a tone to indicate proper airflow and hum. Stop blowing when the handset clicks and the tone stops. The device will then display Wait as it analyzes the breath sample.

If you get the same Invalid Sample or Try Again error code repeatedly, call your service center for help.

If the breath test is done correctly, one of three things will happen. You will:

  1. Be allowed to start your vehicle (no alcohol detected)
  2. Get a BAC Warning (alcohol detected but below the allowable limit)
  3. Get a Lockout display (detected BAC above the allowable limit) and the device will lock you out.

Based on the test results, you can start your car because you passed the test. If you got a Warning, you can still start the car, but the device will record that you had alcohol on your breath. If you are locked out, you can wait a prescribed time before trying again. The device will go into Countdown mode. When Countdown mode is complete, you are allowed to give a new breath sample. Make sure you don’t have any alcohol in your system because two lockouts in a row can be enough to get you in trouble with your state’s program requirements.

Schedule Your Ignition Interlock Device Installation

If you need to get an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, ALCOLOCK can help. We offer fast and affordable ignition interlock device installation at service locations across the country.  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. And remember, you need to have someone drive you and your vehicle to the installation appointment. You can drive once the IID is installed.

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

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