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, which means 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 battery 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 happened, then the chances are that the alarm system is bad. 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 special 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.