What is The Ghost Immobiliser?
Car theft is always a worry if you have an expensive car. Cars are easy to steal and easy to sell. If your car is stolen, insurance will only cover a part of the loss. A reliable anti-theft security system, which makes it really hard for thieves, is necessary for peace of mind. That said, expert car thieves know how to get past most of these systems. The Ghost immobiliser is one of the latest vehicle security systems to hit the market, but how is it any different from what is available already?
The Difficulties Of Securing A Vehicle
Although vehicle security improvements over the years have made it harder for car thieves, there are several loopholes. Most systems depend on a device like a remote control or a key fob to arm and disarm the system. This device is a weak link and can be stolen or cloned. Many security systems operate using radio signals. With the right equipment, this signal can be intercepted during use or copied and reproduced to unlock the vehicle.
Most security systems have LED indicators that give away their presence. Knowing the type of security system installed in the vehicle makes the job easier for professional thieves. They can easily find and disable the system.
The Ghost Immobiliser
The Ghost immobiliser (Autowatch Ghost 2) is one of the latest among the long list of vehicle-security devices introduced in the market. It’s a product of Autowatch and it’s different from the majority of the systems currently on the market.
The Ghost is a small device that can be installed in a concealed fashion within the car’s electrical wiring. It integrates with the CAN (Controller Area Network) of the vehicle. The CAN network allows seamless communication between various electronic modules of the vehicle without the use of additional wiring.
The Ghost system communicates with the car’s ECU (Engine Control Unit) over the CAN bus. With a proper installation, it leaves no signs of its presence. Even a mechanic is unlikely to find it in a quick inspection. The system has no relays, operates noiselessly and cannot be detected using diagnostics.
Once armed, the system will not allow the engine to start unless a special sequence of key presses (called the disarm sequence or PIN) is manually entered. The PIN is entered using the car’s existing buttons like the steering-wheel buttons, door-panel buttons or buttons on the centre console. It does not use any special keypads and there are no LED indicators or additions to give away its presence.
The PIN sequence can be between 4 and 20 key presses long. It is set and can be changed at any time by the owner. No one other than the owner will know the PIN unless he or she decides to share it. A sealed and unique emergency code also comes with the system. This can be used to reset the PIN in case it is forgotten.
The system quietly rearms itself once the engine is switched off and the driver leaves the car. For those who do not wish to enter the PIN, Autowatch has a smartphone app that can be set to disarm the system when the phone is within 10 m from the car. It works using Bluetooth and up to two smartphones can be paired with it.
Features at a glance:
- Immobilisation by communicating with the ECU
- Disarm sequence via buttons on steering wheel / dash
- Uses the on-board CAN data network
- User changeable disarm sequence
- No transmitted radio frequency signals
- Service / Valet mode means the disarm sequence is never compromised
- Secure, unique emergency code should the disarm sequence be forgotten
- Mobile application can connect to 2 phones to allow quick disarm
The Difference Between Ghost And Other Security Systems
One feature of the Ghost system is the absence of any device like a key fob or remote for disarming it. This takes away the loophole that the unlock device can be stolen or cloned. The system does not generate or transmit any radio signals. So, a man in the middle type of attack is not possible. It is also not possible to hack the device.
Most security systems are easier to disable if thieves know about its presence. In the case of the Ghost immobiliser, there are no visible signs of installation. If properly installed and hidden within the car’s wiring, it will not be possible to find it and disable it in a hurry. It’s a stealth feature that makes it harder for thieves to disable the system. It cannot be disabled by replacing the ECU of the car either.
There is a service mode to partially disarm the system if the car has to go for service. This eliminates the need to disclose the PIN to the garage. As the PIN can be changed by the owner, a secure PIN can always be set if there is any doubt that it has been compromised.
Service And Transport Modes
The PIN is a critical part of the Ghost immobiliser and should not be disclosed to others. This can make things a little difficult when you get the car serviced at a garage. The system comes with a service mode for this purpose.
In service mode, the system is disarmed and the vehicle can be started and safely driven at a speed not exceeding 50 kmph (about 31 mph). If this limit is breached for a short period of time (can range from 3 to 15 mins), the system will automatically get armed. If this happens, the PIN will be needed to start the vehicle once it comes to a stop.
The Ghost system also has a transport mode, which allows you to disable the system completely until you enable it again. It can be used if a repair or service makes it necessary for the car to be road tested at higher speeds for longer duration.
Compatibility And Installation
The Ghost immobiliser can be installed without cutting any wires and there’s no risk of damage or malfunction in the vehicle. It is compatible with recent models of most vehicle brands and will not void your warranty if installed at an approved garage.
It can take up to two hours to install the system depending on the vehicle model. The system comes with a warranty of three years. It can be removed and installed on another vehicle should you decide to change cars.
The Ghost system appears to plug some of the loopholes used by car thieves to steal vehicles. Most security devices, including the Ghost immobiliser, can be disabled once found. So, a lot depends on a good installation that makes the device hard to find. The system is also TASSA verified and ISO9001 Certified. So, you may get a discount on your insurance premium if you install it.
Volksmaster are authorised installers of the Ghost Immobiliser. If you are interested in securing your vehicle by utilising this latest innovative technology then please get in touch with one of our branches by calling Bury on 0161 761 3030 or Oldham on 0161 624 5060. Or complete the short form below. We cover the North and East of Manchester and Manchester City Centre.
The equipment, installation and set up is available for the standard set fee of just £450.
Arranging Your Tyre Replacement or Repair
Drop your car off
Simply drop your car off with us between 8am and 10am and in most cases your vehicle will be ready for collection the same day between 3.30 and 5.30. Outside these hours you are welcome to park.
Wait with your car
Most servicing and repair work can be done while you wait. If this is your preference we have a superb waiting area equipped with free hot and cold drinks and a interesting viewing area where you can watch our trained technicians working on your vehicle.
If your vehicle needs to stay with us for 1 day or longer then you are able to pre-book one of our courtesy vehicles to keep you mobile.
Pick up / drop off
The ultimate hassle free solution; one of our drivers will arrange to collect your vehicle from your home or place of work at a pre-arranged time and then return your vehicle when the work is complete. Our service advisors will contact you when the vehicle arrives on site during the day to discuss the progress of the work and then advise you of the time you can expect your vehicle back. Contact our service advisors for more details.