Engine Immobilizer Rule

November 17th, 2007 by Potato

Well, with the Canadian dollar being high there is a lot of talk in the media about buying a car in the states and importing it. There are a lot of cases where that can save you a lot of money, sometimes as much as a quarter of the cost of the car. There are all kinds of artificial trade barriers put up (so much for NAFTA) to try to prevent people from doing this. Some manufacturer’s won’t honour the warranty if a car is bought across the border. Toyota for one does honour the warranty, but makes it difficult by threatening to close down any dealers that sell to Canadians, so finding one is difficult (often, I’ve heard that finding one in a border state is nearly impossible, but if you’re willing to drive a few states further south, that there is a chance of finding a dealer who will take the chance, or not even know about the prohibition). The government also puts up a few barriers, such as making sure that the car is suitable for use in Canada, with daytime running lights, an metric instrumentation (or a sticker indicating to the driver and potential future buyers that the instruments are not metric).

Now another barrier has been put up with a recent rule about engine immobilizers. When I first heard about this, I actually thought it was a decent rule, since my car had been stolen twice. However, after seeing what thieves will do to get at cars with immobilizers I have second thoughts. Doubly so after seeing that the RIV is using the “lack” of immobilizers as a reason to prevent cars bought in the States from crossing the border. Note that these cars don’t actually lack immobilizers — the Prius system, for instance, is supposed to be nigh-impossible to start without the key or a sophisticated RF-cryptographic system. It’s just that it doesn’t have exactly the right type of immobilizer, so it can’t enter the country.

And it boggles my mind why the government would force auto makers to produce unique models for the Canadian market for things like engine immobilizers, but be unwilling to do so for emissions control (and even then it wouldn’t be different than California and the other CARB states, just the dirty states!).

Update: Another story about this in the Globe: drivers can bring their cars across the border to park them at home until this is worked out, but they can’t get them plated.

Comments are closed.