Will an Ignition Interlock Device Damage My Vehicle?

A lot of people think nothing of putting a new stereo system or in-dash GPS into their car, but we get a lot of people asking “Will an ignition interlock device damage my vehicle?” The short and to the point answer is no, it won’t. If you have your ignition interlock device installed by a trained and state-certified technician, you can rest easy that no damage will be done to your vehicle.

Over the years, ALCOLOCK has perfected the installation process, making it quick and easy, and safe for any vehicle. All of our technicians are highly trained, to ensure that every installation goes to plan and is a success

NHTSA Model Specifications for Ignition Interlock Devices

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a set of Model Specifications for Ignition Interlock Devices, that among many other things lists general provisions that IIDs must meet in order to conform to the Model Specifications. All 50 states follow the NHTSA guidelines, and some add even more stringent requirements for their ignition interlock programs.

Among the provisions regarding installation is that the devices must:

  • Not compromise normal functions of the vehicle — such as anti-theft systems, stereo system, GPS, electrical system, etc.
  • Be able to bypass remote starters or push button starts
  • Have tamper-proof seals to indicate if the IID has been disconnected from the ignition
  • Have a power save mode so as not to drain the battery while the vehicle is parked

If your vehicle is going to be parked for an extended amount of time (such as a vacation) you should let your service center know, as they may have some suggestions for you.

How Is an Ignition Interlock Device Installed on My Vehicle?

In a nutshell, the technician hooks the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) inyo your vehicle’s starter system. This is a minimally invasive installation, and our technicians are careful not to scratch, dent, or otherwise damage any part of your vehicle. And of course once installed, the IID is just like any other electronic accessory in your car.

The second part of the installation is calibrating the device specifically to you and training you in how to use the device properly. Your technician will give you a user’s manual, and go over the program rules and program violations with you, so you know exactly what is expected of you.

The handheld device and the ECU communicate with each other. When you blow into the handheld device and pass the breath test, the device communicates to the ECU that it is OK to let you start the car. If however, you blow into the device and fail the test, that is communicated to the ECU and it prevents you from starting your vehicle. (Locks you out.)

Monthly Service Visits

Most states require monthly service visits, but your program may be different, depending on your individual circumstances. At each service visit, the technician will upload the data the device recorded to your monitoring agency. This includes every single test you took and whether you passed or failed. It also includes if you skipped a rolling retest. The technician will also re-calibrate the device as necessary.

You may be called in for an early service visit if you tried to tamper with the device, or failed a certain number of breath tests in a specified amount of time. An early recall means the device has locked you out permanently. The only way to unlock the device is for you to have the vehicle towed into the service center.

You can save yourself time and headaches by simply abiding by the program rules. Violating the program rules can result in the extension of your restricted driving period, or you being kicked out ot the ignition interlock program altogether, and having to serve out your suspension period.

Schedule Your Ignition Interlock Device Installation

If you need to get an ignition interlock device installed in your car, simply call your nearest ignition interlock device installation location, or call ALCOLOCK directly at 866-700-9300 to schedule your IID installation. You will need to have paperwork from the state showing you are eligible for the restricted driving program. You should also plan on having someone drive you and your vehicle to your installation appointment, and plan to be at the service center for about an hour. That includes the actual device installation, as well as the time it takes to calibrate the IID specifically to you, and train you in how to use the device.

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