Home | Auto Detailing | How to Fix Service Theft Deterrent System

How to Fix Service Theft Deterrent System

February 23, 2024 | Victor Lukasso

As the name implies, a theft Deterrent System helps prevent being hijacked by car thefts. It disables the vehicle starter, fuel, or ignition system.

Modern-day cars come with advanced technologies that improve a car’s usability and safety by notifying the owner of an attempted break-in on their vehicle.

These technologies are prone to encounter faults over time which will result in the check engine light turning on. Still, luckily it’s a minor issue that comes up occasionally and will be fixed if you know how to navigate your car.

Although I’d recommend you turn on the feature if it’s available for your car to prevent hijacking and car theft, be prepared to face unsolicited alerts, especially when the theft deterrent system becomes faulty.


In this article, I’ll show you common causes why the service theft deterrent system light will come on your dashboard and how to reset and clear it.

Continue reading…

What Does Service Theft Deterrent System Mean?

The primary function of the theft deterrent system is to prevent criminals and car stealers from successfully stealing your car by giving out a loud alert; This is possible because this system works hand in hand with the internal and external sensors.

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Furthermore, it’ll turn off your car’s engine so it won’t start even if the break-in was successful, and most times, the alarm won’t stop until you use the original key to switch it off.

Also, In most cases, the system may malfunction and refuse to stop despite possessing the keyfob, leaving an error message on your dashboard.

Causes of Service Theft Deterrent System

As stated earlier, once the service theft deterrent system is triggered, it’ll put your car into a protective mode that’ll block out certain functions from working on your vehicle, and the service theft deterrence system warning light will come on. Although the alert could turn off after getting access to the car, the engine might decide not to start up.

Car experts have related this issue to being often caused by a dead key fob battery; without further assumptions, here are some reasons why your vehicle will display the service theft deterrence system on your Chevy Malibu, Impala, Cruze, Silverado, or any car models.

  1. A dead key fob battery
  2. Key fob replacement
  3. A Problematic car door lock
  4. Faulty immobilizer chip in your key fob
  5. A dead car battery
  6. A faulty key fob
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How to Repair Service Theft Deterrent System

Since the cause of the error could either be from your key fob, door, or car battery. Here are some fixes you can implement to fix the service theft deterrent system

1. Check the Key Fob

You must confirm that the battery in your key fob isn’t dead or you aren’t trying the wrong fob on your car.

A battery replacement is necessary if the former battery is dead. You can also cross-check and make sure you’re using the correct one.

2. Turn on the Ignition

In most cases, when the theft deterrent system turns the engine check light on, the only remedy is to insert your key into the Ignition and switch it to the ON status without cranking the engine.

You can leave the key in the ON position for 10 minutes to help the system detect the key before turning it to the OFF position and give it time to reset the service theft deterrent issues.

You can retry the above step if it doesn’t clear before you can proceed to start the car.

3. Use a Physical Key on the Car door

If the key fob doesn’t help reset the service theft deterrent issue, you can unlock the door using a car. Inserting the appropriate key through the passenger seat will reset the system and grant you access to the vehicle.

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You can now turn on your vehicle and see if it responds.

4. Disconnect your Car battery

5. Remove the Alarm Fuse

6. Check your Manufacturer’s Manual

7. Reach out to a mechanic

If the above DIY guides don’t resolve the service theft deterrent system error, you should probably seek the help of an auto engineer.

They’ll find the root cause of the issue and get it fixed for a small price.

What triggers a theft deterrent system?

Modern-day cars come equipped with sensors that aid features such as the park assist and theft deterrent systems work perfectly. When the sensor notices touch, impact, or a force trying to get into the car, it’ll produce a sound alerting the car owner of possible danger.

Likewise, the system is susceptible to malfunctioning and might start screaming out loud without any cause; in this case, you’ve to check if your car battery, key fob batteries, immobilizer, and car doors are still in good condition.


Can anti-theft stop cars from starting?

Yes, anti-theft restricts the engine, making it unable to start until you verify ownership using an original key or key fob on the car.


The service theft deterrent system is vital because it blocks potential break-in attempts, but what happens when the system starts malfunctioning and denies you access to this car? This is a straightforward tutorial to fix the service theft deterrent system problem.

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Meet Victor Lukasso, the owner of V. Auto Basics. Through this blog, Victor Provides Insights on the latest tips, maintenance, repair, and techniques in the automotive world.