Car Service Theft Deterrent System [Reasons & Solutions]

In every way, the anti-theft system and the latest technology in that regard enhances the car security and the reliability for the owners. However, many car owners still don’t know much about it, especially the ones who use to drive older cars.

In latest cars, the theft deterrent system is a technology that is used to keep off the thief who breaks into your car and notify you in case of the break-in attempt. Therefore, you instantly get aware of such incidents making your car security even more optimal and practice when you’re away.

The theft deterrent system leans on internal and external car sensors to detect and e sensors instantly notify you in any such case.

In this article, I will talk more about the service theft deterrent system in your car and what it does.

What is Service Theft Deterrent System Message?

When you see the Service Theft Deterrent System Message in the car, it means that there is some trouble with the Anti-theft system in your Chevrolet, Opel, or GM vehicle. Therefore, you cannot start your car while this message is appearing.

The GM cars and vehicles come featured with the theft deterrent system that helps enhance the security of the vehicles by preventing the break-in attempts. So when someone’s trying to steal or even vandalize the car, the alarm (audible enough) instantly alerts you and the thief will mostly like to leave.

What’s more is the Theft Deterrent System also immobilizes the car engine and the car will not start in case of the theft to start the engine. You have to deactivate the alarm to stop ringing.

Read Also: Car with Key Symbol on Dashboard Nissan

4 Reasons for Service Theft Deterrent Message 

There are usually reasons that cause the service theft deterrent message. Sometimes, the battery of the key fob is running low or when the transponder chip has some fault, you will see the message. Let’s find out more details.

  • Dead Key Fob Battery: When the battery is low it causes the service theft deterrent message to appear. This time the key fob battery matters, the key fob is used to deactivate the alarm or the deterrent system. When its battery is dead or it’s having some malfunction, you cannot deactivate the system and all you see is the message.
  • Faulty Key Fob Transponder: The transponder chip (inside the fob key) has to work with an immobilizer for instant deactivation. When the chip gets a fault or some problem for some reason the information/communion causes the interruption because the immobilizer cannot identify the chip. Hence the car won’t start.
  • Low Battery Charge:  When the battery is low, there can be a halt of the ongoing smooth system due to the very reason. The reasons are theft deterrent works on electronic background. In case of a low power battery, the low charge can cause an error with the system. This causes trouble in starting the engine and the light may not run on.
  • Defective Theft Deterrent System: Defective Theft Deterrent System: sometimes, the problem is nothing but in the system itself. If the electronic system of theft deterrent has some problem you will see it is odd behavior. Since there are sensors and electronic circuits involved, the chances of some weird failure make logical sense.

How to Fix Theft Deterrent Message

There are few ways to fix the theft deterrent message

How to Fix Theft Deterrent Message

1. Charge/replace car battery

The car battery must be fully charged and in working state, if not you need to replace it. You can take the battery out and take it to the local auto part store for checking its charge, otherwise you’ll need a multimeter to check on your own.

  • Turn on the headlights for a few minutes to remove the surface charge that can give false readings. But if the headlights aren’t turning on it means the battery is totally dead.
  • After turning off the headlight, set the multimeter to 5 to 20 volts and connect the positive terminal to the multimeter to the positive side of the battery and vice versa.
  • The volt should read at least 12.6 volts, if not, the battery is dead for sure.

If the battery is poor and doesn’t keep up with holding the charge, replace it.

2. Check the trouble codes

Use an OBD2 scanner to figure out the problem with the anti-theft system. It reads the trouble codes from the control module. Make sure to use the compatible OBD2 scanner with your car or take your car to the mechanic.

3. Replace key fob/battery 

If the key fob is defective and there is no battery within, the problem certainly arises. In that case, you should replace the older key fob or its battery.

When the car security system fails to identify and pair it with the key, the security system remains enabled. If it’s no longer locking and unlocking the door, it means it’s dead. Sometimes the key fob needs repair, so get it checked for repair otherwise get it replaced.

4. Take your car to local repair shop

Taking your car to the local car service and repair center solves the problem for sure. So if none of the solutions are working out, you should take your vehicle to the professional service center to solve the issue.

However, you might be wondering about how to move the car when it’s not functioning in the first palace. For that you can contact the vehicle towed to the service center by paying extra!

How to Reset GM Theft Deterrent System

  • Use the key fob button to unlock the doors.
  • Now, turn on the ignition, disable the alarm system. Insert the key and turn the system to the appropriate setting, and if you use the keyless system, just push the start button.
  • After that, lock all the doors once again and check for the security system activation. The security system light should flash by now; it may take 10 sec in some car models. Once everything is settled, lock the doors and let the system take time to be operational.


Car theft deterrent system is all about the safety and security of your vehicle. But if you don’t know how to enable /disable or reset it, it can be problematic. While each car has its own models and specification so it’s important to check out the user’s manual for the most precise helping guide.

However, if you don’t know anything about the service theft deterrent system, we recommend you take your vehicle to the local service station for pro help.


Why do I see the service theft deterrent system message?

Certainly, the theft deterrent message is about security and anti-theft approach for your car. So when there is some theft attempt with your car or when the anti-theft system doesn’t identify the transponder signal from your car’s key fob you see the theft deterrent message.

Is fixing the service theft deterrent system message costly?

The cost of anything depends on many things, it means the models of your car etc. usually the cost to fix the service theft deterrent system message is about $0 to $2,000!  The fixing from dead batteries is free but it can be too expensive if the reason is the problematic anti-theft system.

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