What Does a Car With a Lock Symbol Mean?

November 11, 2023

If you see a car with a lock symbol on your dashboard it means that the vehicle security system is activated and it will prevent the engine from starting. Depending on the specific make and model of your vehicle there are several procedures for disabling the anti-theft system, so be sure to consult your owner’s manual for more information. In most cases this will require you to disconnect the battery and wait for a couple of hours before reconnecting it.

The first thing you will want to do if you see this message on the dashboard is check the key fob battery. The reason for this is that if the key fob battery dies your car will not be able to send the proper disable code to the immobilizer. This could also be caused by getting the key fob wet or dropping it, and the internal chip will likely need to be replaced.

Next you will want to try using your spare key fob if possible to see if the message goes away. This will help to determine if the problem is related to the original key fob or the key itself. If the key fob itself is causing the issue it will likely be best to replace it at a dealership or locksmith. Another thing that can cause this message to appear is if your vehicle’s security system detects a different key in the ignition than it usually does. This is why it is important to only use the keys that you own when driving your car, as this will keep it from activating if it thinks someone is trying to steal it.


Traffic Dave is on a mission to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram