Volvo Immobilizer See Manual

Volvo vehicles may refuse to start. Error message such as "Immobilizer See Manual" or "Immobilizer Try Start Again" displays on the instrument cluster.

If your Volvo won't start, don't panic. Take a look at several tips that will help you start your Volvo again or help you narrow down the problem.

This problem affects many models including XC70, V70, S60, S40, V40, V50, XC60, XC90, S60, S70, S80, C30. 


What does Volvo Immobilizer See Manual mean? 

volvo immobilizer see manual

Immobilizer See manual error message on the dashboard means your Volvo is not recognizing the key and therefore it will not allow you to start the engine. The problem could be caused by a number of issues, including a bad key, defective ignition or faulty CEM Module.


 Quick Tips

If you are stranded in a parking lot, try these tips as in most cases one of them will help you start your Volvo.

  1. While sitting in the car press the keyfob lock and unlock buttons five times. Now try to start your Volvo. 

  2. If the first tip didn't work, get out of the car. Lock the car. Press the Panic button on the key fob and alarm will go off. Press the unlock button. Enter the car and start the engine. 

  3. Turn the key to position II then off five times. On the sixth try, try to start the engine.  

If none of these tips work, follow the troubleshooting steps below. 


Common Causes

Let's take a look at some of the most common problems that prevent a Volvo from starting and trigger Immobilizer error messages. 

Central Electronic Module 

If your Volvo won't start, and you are getting Immobilizer message plus your Volvo is acting strangely and is displaying several random messages such as ABS, Airbag, Steering failure chances are that the Central Electronic Module (CEM) module is the culprit. These units are known to fail. Another possibility is that one of the wire harnesses to the CEM module is loose. You can verify this by making sure that the wire harnesses to the CEM under the dashboard are not loose. 

Unrecognized Key

Your Volvo key is not being recognized. This could be due to an issue with the immobilizer, or a key that is damaged. 

Ignition Antenna Ring

The slot where you insert your Volvo key has a ring. Inside that, there is wire loop that serves as the antenna. When the antenna fails, your Volvo key will no longer be recognized when inserted into the ignition. 

Low Battery Voltage

The car battery is partially discharged in which case there is not enough charge to power up all the modules. This if often the case when the dashboard lights turn on but you can't start the engine. You can use a Battery Charger to charge your Volvo battery or to get back on the road jump-start your Volvo. 


Troubleshooting a Volvo that won't start 

  1. Try starting the car with the shifter in Neutral position. If that doesn't work, move the shifter back in Park and try again. If the car does start with the shifter in Neutral the shifter module or Park Neutral switch could be the culprit. start volvo in netural


  2. Disconnect the negative battery terminal for at least 5 minutes. Reconnect the battery. Press unlock on your Volvo remote. Insert key in the ignition and try to start the engine. reset volvo computer by disconnecting the battery


  3. Cycle the key to Position II (don't start the engine) five times. On the sixth time, try starting the engine. Volvo key position two


  4. Remove Engine Control Module fuse. If the immobilizer is activated, but it shouldn't you can reset it by disconnecting power to the Engine Control Module. Look at the fuse box in the engine bay or side of the dashboard. Find the fuse that says Engine Control Module (ECM) and unplug it for at least 5 min. Reconnect it and try to start the ecu reset fuse box


  5. Under the dashboard on the driver's or passenger side, you have what is called the Control Electronic Module (CEM). Check the CEM terminals for corrosionvolvo cem moduleThe wire harnesses to the CEM can get loose especially if you hit a pothole or drive on bumpy city roads. Check the wire harnesses and ensure none of them are loose. 
  6. The problem may be the key itself. If you recently dropped your key or got it wet, your Volvo may no longer recognize it. What you can do to rule out a bad key is to try the spare key and see if that starts the car.bad volvo key immobilz see manual


  7. Check the car battery voltage with a digital multimeter. Just because the dash lights turn on, it doesn't not team the battery is ruled out. The battery could be partially discharged. The remaining charge on the battery could be enough to power up the dashboard lights which are LED and don't require much power.  Battery charge may not be sufficent to power up all the modules. To rule out a bad battery try jump starting your Volvo with a jump box. Or follow these instructions to fully charge Volvo battery using a battery chargerjump start volvo


  8. The alarm siren is known to fail as well. The easy way to test this is to roll down the driver’s window, close the door, lock the car with the keyfob. This will arm the car.

    While the doors are locked, open the driver's door by pulling the handle inside the car through the open window. This should trigger the alarm to go off. Your lights should flash as well. If none of that happened then the chances are that alarm system is bad. When your Volvo alarm fails, it sets fault codes related to the immobilizer which can disable engine start.
  9. Now we are starting to run out of options. The next logical step is to diagnose your car with a scanner that can read Volvo specific fault diagnose volvo won't start problemOne option is to tow your Volvo to a good mechanic or the dealer which in most cases can be quite expensive.
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    You may want to consider getting a Volvo specific scanner and read the fault codes yourself. These scanners allow you to perform a full system scan which means they can read and clear codes from all the modules.  In most cases, a fault code will be stored in the ignition module, which in most cases is enough information to figure out why your Volvo won't start. 

If none of these tips worked, check out this article on Troubleshooting a Volvo that won't start. 


Common Symptoms

  • Volvo won't start
  • Immobilizer See Manual Error
  • Brake failure Stop Safely
  • Cranks but wouldn’t start
  • Check engine light on P1670 P1671 P1672
  • Alarm system service required
  • Start disabled Try again

Frequently Asked Questions

My Volvo immobilizer if faulty. How much does it cost to repair?

To replace the immobilizer on a Volvo, it costs over $700. The part is expensive and it also needs to be programmed by the dealer.