Volvo vehicles may refuse to start. An error message such as “Immobilizer See Manual” or “Immobilizer Try Start Again” displays on the instrument cluster. If your Volvo doesn’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.
- Volvo won’t start
- Immobilizer See Manual Error
- Brake failure Stop Safely
- It cranks but wouldn’t start
- Check engine light on P1670 P1671 P1672
- Alarm system service required
- Start disabled. Try again
What does Volvo Immobilizer See Manual mean?
Immobilizer See manual error message on the dashboard means your Volvo does not recognize the key and will not allow you to start the engine. Many issues, including a bad key, defective ignition, or faulty CEM Module, could cause the problem.
If you are stranded in a parking lot, try these tips as, in most cases, one of them will help you start your Volvo. While sitting in the car, press the keyfob lock and unlock buttons five times. Now try to start your Volvo. If the first tip didn’t work, get out of the car. Lock the car. Press the Panic button on the key fob, and the alarm will go off. Press the unlock button. Enter the car and start the engine. 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.
Let’s look at some of the most common problems preventing a Volvo from starting and triggering Immobilizer error messages.
Central Electronic Module
Suppose your Volvo won’t start, and you are getting an Immobilizer message; plus, your Volvo is acting strangely and is displaying several random messages such as ABS, Airbag, and Steering failure. In that case, the 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 ensuring that the wire harnesses to the CEM under the dashboard are not loose.
Your Volvo key is not being recognized. This could be due to an issue with the immobilizer or a damaged key.
Ignition Antenna Ring
The slot where you insert your Volvo key has a ring. Inside that, there is a 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, so there is not enough charge to power up all the modules. This is often 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 get back on the road to jump-start your Volvo.
Troubleshooting a Volvo that won’t start
- Try starting the car with the shifter in a 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.
- Disconnect the negative battery terminal for at least 5 minutes. Reconnect the battery. Press unlock on your Volvo remote. Insert the key in the ignition and try to start the engine.
- Cycle the key to Position II (don’t start the engine) five times. On the sixth time, try starting the engine.
- Remove Engine Control Module fuse. If the immobilizer is activated but shouldn’t, you can reset it by disconnecting power to the Engine Control Module. Look at the fuse box in the engine bay or the 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 engine.
- Under the dashboard on the driver’s or passenger’s side, you have the Control Electronic Module (CEM). Check the CEM terminals for corrosion. The CEM wire harnesses 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.
- 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.
- Check the car battery voltage with a digital multimeter. Just because the dash lights turn on, it doesn’t 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. The battery charge may not be sufficient to power up all the modules. Try jump-starting your Volvo with a jump box to rule out a bad battery. Or follow these instructions to charge a Volvo battery using a car charger.
- 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, and 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 happens, then the chances are that the alarm system is faulty. When your Volvo alarm fails, it sets fault codes related to the immobilizer, which can disable the engine start.
- 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 codes.
In such cases, you should refer to the owner’s manual for your specific Volvo model to troubleshoot and resolve the issue. If you cannot resolve the issue on your own, it’s best to contact a Volvo dealership or an authorized Volvo service center for assistance. They will have the necessary tools and expertise to diagnose and repair the problem with the immobilizer system.
Another option is to tow your Volvo to a good mechanic or dealer, which can be quite expensive in most cases. You may consider getting a Volvo scanner and reading 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.
What does immobilizer mean on a Volvo?
An immobilizer is a security feature found in many modern vehicles, including Volvos, that prevents the unauthorized starting of the engine. The immobilizer uses a unique electronic key (transponder) that communicates with the car’s computer system. The immobilizer allows the engine to start when the correct key is used. If an incorrect or no key is used, the immobilizer will prevent the engine from starting, thereby deterring theft.
In short, the immobilizer system on a Volvo is designed to enhance the vehicle’s security by ensuring that only authorized keys can start the engine. This problem affects many models, including XC70, V70, S60, S40, V40, V50, XC60, XC90, S60, S70, S80, and C30.
Frequently Asked Questions
My Volvo immobilizer is faulty. How much does it cost to repair?
Replace the immobilizer on a Volvo costs over $700. The part is expensive and needs to be programmed by the dealer.
What does immobilizer mean on a Volvo?
It detects the key, and it is a theft protection system. If the key is not detected, it won’t allow the vehicle to start.
What scanner can read Volvo Immobilizer Malfunction?
The YOUCANIC Full System Scanner can read and clear fault codes through every vehicle’s control module.
I’m confused about my 2012 Volvo S60 I drove it to church afterwards when got ready to leave my car wouldn’t crank battery is good new alternator don’t know what to do
need of some help
Step #2 worked for me!! Thank goodness! 2009 Volvo C70 that I just got back from the dealership after they had to install a bypass for the Sirius satellite radio to stop the parasitic drain from it constantly pinging for a signal. My car wouldn’t start using either key fob, very fortunate for this article so I could troubleshoot myself vs spending more at the dealership when they knew about the problem and let the battery die whilst there! Thanks!!!
Many thanks for the article but I am seeing message car key not found error when trying to start the engine on 2014 S60.
Keyless entry on 4 doors will not be possible as well prior to that.
Need to keep pressing start button numerous times or up to 5 mins before able to start the engine. Definitely not problem with key battery or car battery as both are changed new as well.
Any idea what could cause this?
As mentioned in the article, the immobilizer can be triggered by many reasons as I found another one. I had an issue with the drivers seat controls in my XC70 and took the seat out for a repair. I tested the seat controls while the seat was positioned backwards laying on the rear seat. I shouldn’t have done that as it triggered the SRS Airbag fault which is pretty hard and needs Volvo computer reset. While I wasn’t in a rush getting the SRS reset done, the Immobilizer started annoying me by refusing to start on the first attempt (not cranking), this was getting worse and worse, after a few weeks it took 5 attempt to start, then after another week or so, no more cranking at all!!! I had to disconnect the battery for just 5 seconds to reset the system and allow me to start. But the next start the immobilizer remembered its duty and blocked the starting again…… Hence, I had to visit a Volvo dealer to get the ECM reset to resolve this issue. I guess there might be several more similar conditions causing the immobilizer to start policing. Be aware!
I’m having an issue getting my 2004xc70 to crank the key turns lights come on but it does nothing. no clicking not crank just the lights and radio. I replaced a faulty cem thru xemodex I’ve tried about everything after replacement only options I haven’t tried is fully removing the ECM or scanning with a proper diagnostic scanner. Now the car started before I replaced the cem no problem it had some major issues but never with cranking over. After replacing the cem all the lights work the issue is gone but now my key will not crank my car over. The cem sent has to be faulty right because I am baffled.
Okay, so this is a strange problem but I will start by asking a basic question. Were you able to check the Fault Codes?? I am not an expert but I know that the fault codes are probably the best way to approach a problem with a car
My Volvo V50 displayed a “Immobilize see manual, Anti-Skid service required” at times it would start and go and the all needle would just ddrops engine will come into a halt, at time it would make a humming noise and doesnt start. I got the CEM checked as to be OK and ABS pump module to faulty I replaced and car wont start “Immobilizer see manual, Brake sfety stop failure” please help I’m going out of my mind trying to figure it out