Maruti cars are equipped with iCAT – Intelligent Computerized Anti-theft System – essentially a device which communicates with the ECU (electronic Control Unit) of the car to disable the ignition and render the car immobilized if you fail to use the factory supplied keys. Your car keys use a RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) which transmits a unique factory assigned code to the key fob of the car which in turn, enables the ECU. Any other key or locally made key will not have the RFID and the unique code which will disable the ECU.
This security feature will be standard for all Maruti cars. And it is learnt that this addition will make the cars slightly expensive by about Rs.1000/ to about Rs.4500/- depending on the model. As a corollary, you may get an insurance rebate of Rs.500 on the premium if your car is fitted with iCAT.
As the security device is built right into the ECU and not as an after thought as in other cars, the degree of security is enhanced. You can’t hot wire the car and by its integrated nature, it is a major deterrent to any car thief. But if you lose your car keys, you will have to get it only from the manufacturer.
Most of the other cars have to be retro fitted with third party electronic immobilizers which also double up as central door locking and help keyless entry. Many of them work with wireless handheld remote transmitters operating around 400 – 500 MHz frequency. They use an unique code system embedded into the transmitter and the receiver located inside the car. Almost all of them offer basic security features as listed below:
- Automatic locking of all doors after a few seconds of starting the engine
- When any door is opened, it blinks all the indicators for a few seconds to alert other road users
- When any door is opened even with the regular key without disabling the device through the remote, it sounds an alarm.
- You can enable a generic reverse horn in some models with no additional device.
- You can locate your car by pressing a key in the remote and the car will beep and blink.
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