I had my 2001 XC70 parked in the hospital’s garage while my son was being born. On one of my many trips to the car over those 3 days I found a set of keys I had lost and replaced long ago. Since it cost me $300 to replace them, I was happy to have a spare. I wondered if the remote would still work and tried it out. Doors locked just fine!

The day we were sent home I went to the car so I could pull up front and load my wife and son. Car would not start. “Immobilizer. See Manual,” read the message board. I didn’t have a manual with me. I jumped to the conclusion that I had triggered some sort of anti-theft device by using the long lost, disabled remote, so I called my dealer.

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“Have it towed to us. We’ll have you back up and running in a couple of days.” This was not an option, so I searched the internet. Lots of questions about this, but no answers and I needed to get my family home. So I’m posting my answer here in hopes that it will get good Google placement and inform the next poor guy who doesn’t have time to have his car towed to the dealership.

I ended up calling a friend for a ride and had the car towed. At the dealership the guy took my keys and locked/unlocked the door 5 times in a row with the remote. This reset the immobilizer and I was on my way. Obviously they couldn’t just tell me that over the phone, but good god. I hope this info can help someone else.

40 Thoughts on “Volvo – Immobilizer. See Manual.

  1. Capt_Plutonium on December 6, 2007 at 6:18 pm said:

    Same problem. I didn’t get the “Immobilizer. See Manual” message though, so when I brought it to the dealership (Capital Volvo in Albany, NY), they said it was the batter (even though I told them I was pretty sure it wasn’t). They replaced the battery and it worked for a few days, then the same problem. I brought it back and they said it was the antenna ring. They replaced it and it worked for a few days, then the same problem but this time the “Immobilizer. See Manual” message displayed. Unfortunately, locking and unlocking the car via the remote didn’t work. Now I’m waiting for a tow truck for the third time.

    Capital Volvo sucks at repairing cars.

  2. Capt_Plutonium on May 12, 2008 at 9:58 am said:

    Just a follow up – after bringing it in for the third time, they finally determined it was the starter (“hey, this car won’t start – maybe it’s a problem with the STARTER”), so they replaced that and now it starts fine. I do have to add that Capital Volvo of Albany didn’t charge me any of the service time for the 2nd and 3rd trips back, but I still ended up buying a new battery and a new antennae ring, of which I didn’t need either one. The most frustrating thing was that when I brought it in the first time, they replaced the battery and then gave me a list of 4 other things that ‘should be done soon’. The price of those 4 other things was around $2,900. I feel like they spent more time trying to find additional work for them than they did trying to fix the original problem! Needless to say, after using up 3 of my 4 yearly calls to AAA for towing, and spending money on parts I didn’t need, not to mention the wasted time…I won’t be going back to them for a while…

  3. jp ploetz on September 24, 2009 at 5:03 am said:

    THANK YOU I can’t believe it could be that simple. It worked for me. I had called dealer and they said sounds like a battery. We tested battery and it was fine, then tried jumping and it wouldn’t start. Dealer said bring it in. We live 150 miles from dealer and didn’t want to pay that towing charge. So would you believe you were the first site I looked at and bingo. I went out, did what you said and it worked!! THANK YOU, I’m so proud that a woman fixed her own car!!!

  4. @jp ploetz

    That is great! I’m so glad my post helped. So, what was it that set off the immobilizer in the first place?

  5. I have the same problem with my XC70, 2002. However I do not have the remote so I cannot try this 5 times. At some other place I found the information that immobilizer resets after 5 hours. This is why I know that it starts overnight after problems in the evening. I am considering switching immobilizer off completely.

  6. monique on May 14, 2010 at 1:51 pm said:

    How do you switch the immobilizer off?

  7. lindsay on April 18, 2011 at 9:17 am said:

    This post helped for me too! I am so thankful you posted it or I would have been sweet’en it! Love it when things are that simple!

  8. this did not work for me we are still trying to reset it or turn it off and the imobalizer dos not turn plaese help!!!!!!

  9. Thanks this saved my day.

  10. paul mcdonald on February 2, 2012 at 6:39 am said:

    Went out to my volvo xc70 2001 – for a lunchtime errand yesterday – and got the immobolizer error. Its been 24 hours and still wont start. 6 months ago – i had the “Start prevented try again” error a few times – and had the antenna ring replaced…so that was already taken care of. I even unhooked the battery and replaced – no go. The Volvo of Cincinnati dealer wont talk to me over the phone – they prefer to NOT answer calls over the phone…and prefer that i tow the car in (about 40 minute tow ride). ANy other thoughts?

  11. Sorry, without the remote I have no idea. Maybe try turning the lock 5 times with the key? This forum suggests that it might: http://www.volvo-forums.com/t8802-immobilizer.htm

  12. Jarrito13 on March 18, 2012 at 10:09 am said:

    I had the same immobilizer issue, xc2001. Though I didn’t have the remote, locking and unlocking the door five times with my key, reset the immobilizer, I haven’t had the problem since.

  13. macewan on May 12, 2012 at 11:50 am said:

    This 5 (un)lock worked for about six months. Now it seems that if the air conditioner setting are moved it causes problems. Beginning to think it’s a short.

  14. I have a 2006 XC90 and the immobilizer shut down the car. I tired various “fixes” w/o success but then I found something that mentioned excessive positive resistance can cause the immobilizer, brake failure and low beam bulb failure indicators to appear. I opened the hood and checked the + battery connection. It was loose so I put some lubricant on the terminal nut and tightened it. Problem solved. You might want to check your battery connection if you have this problem.

  15. i started my car and the message light came on immobilizer check man came on, so i will try this and see if it works car is steal starting and running.

  16. Same thing. Just got a used 2007 XC70. It feels similar. All lights are fine, nothing else. We have tried the remote on / off option with either master key. Still no go. So do we need to separate the keys? Everything else on the car is working well.

  17. Rey D. on March 21, 2013 at 8:13 am said:

    Thanks!!!! That happened to me yesterday

  18. Folks, close all windows and sunroof before locking the car to prevents the sensitive immobilizer kick in. If the car wont start, leave it for sometime…..it rests itself back to normal.

  19. Joseph on July 14, 2013 at 11:13 am said:

    It’s works !!!
    Thank you very much

  20. yvette on July 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm said:

    darn! i just took my car in this morning, wish i had read your suggestions before then…i’m going to pay for a new battery, which is what they say i need!

  21. THANK U! We were at grocery store and our car disabled and we had 3 kids in car. Called Volvo and they wanted to tow our car but we were far from home. I googled your disabled note and it worked like magic! (After we bought a self jump system at the Walmart!) thanks!!!!!!!!

  22. This is the single most popular post on our blog. I am happy it has helped so many people out.

  23. CHUGGSPAW on December 13, 2013 at 6:18 am said:

    I just orderd a key to get reprogrammed due to a meaasge “start disabled Try again”. the Key cost $200. if I were home I would try the suggestion (lock/unlock)…I’m still going to try once I get home. THANK YOU!

  24. These types of things are why although there are things I really like about our 2001 V70 I’ll never own another Volvo. It’s just not worth the hassle and the expense with the “Volvo exclusive” repairs or workarounds.

  25. mike zawartka on March 5, 2014 at 5:12 am said:

    I have a 2002 xc and had to dissconnectbthe battery now the key will not turn in the drivers side door

  26. I really hope this works. Thanks so much

  27. Lea Ann Rodgers on May 28, 2014 at 4:55 pm said:

    After being stranded the first time, I had the battery replaced. The second time stranded, the antenna ring was replaced. (Towed into dealer both times.) Now they want to replace my key ($250+). I haven’t tried to lock/unlock sequence since I just read this….so my question is, should I have the key replaced, ask them to replace the starter, or just wait until I get stranded again and try the lock/unlock sequence. All of this has happened within a 3 week time span. Help! I’m so very frustrated!.

  28. Had this same issue. Went on a forum and the guy said to turn my key to the second position 5 times, that did the trick for me! Both of my keys fobs so not work, so I just unlock the car manually with the key.

  29. Lolz, was your key new key and you did this relearn and it was able to start the car but remote fob wont work?

    Or was the key old key to the car and lost it synchro and you have do 5 times turn to position two to reset, please be a little bit clear

  30. Robinson on July 19, 2014 at 3:59 pm said:

    I have tried your method by turning the 5 times to II position, but yet car did not start, any hidden tips there dat you did not post here?

  31. samson ofori-gyamfi on August 9, 2014 at 1:52 pm said:

    My car can start but when I switch the ignition on then Immobilzer comes on then it can’t start until along time close one hour before it can start what is the problem

  32. I ended up having to get a brand new battery. Go get the battery tested.

  33. Robinson on August 10, 2014 at 1:57 am said:

    it could be that your key chip signal is getting weak, or your antenna ring, or even your cem, but all this can be SURE of when SCAN tool is placed on it… from your middle and last name i can conclude where you re writing from, i am also base there

  34. have Volvo v50 2008 have the immobilizer message. tried the lock/unlock 5 times nothing, tried the position II nothing. can it be a fuse? so far I have been looking for help in all the wrong places.

  35. I too had this problem. Initially the lock/unlock suggestion worked, then the second time that failed. After a 5 day wait it had all reset and ran fine, this morning it refused again. The only common theme seems to be a drop in the temperature on the days it failed.

    Does anyone have a definitive answer of what causes the problem?
    Advice from this and other forums seems to be:
    Lock/unlock 5/10 times
    Move key to position “2” 5 times
    Consider battery change
    Consider starter motor change.

  36. Lea Ann Rodgers on October 11, 2014 at 7:30 am said:

    In my 2007 XC70, it turned out to be the starter sensor. (After multiple things had been replaced…battery, anti-lock ring, etc.)

  37. Thanks so much for this suggestion. This saved my husband and I from having to tow our car to the mechanic and then having to pay for repairs. We get a message on the board saying something about the immovilizer. Such an aweful feeling to be ready to go out in your car (sometimes in a hurry) and it not turning on. It has happened to us a few times and each time, this has worked. The first time that happened we were in the way to the hospital bc our daughter in law was having her baby. We didnt know about this, so we ended getting a rental. Thanks again!

  38. Thank you so much, it worked!!! 5x on/off with the remote made my car start again. You are a genius and thank you for sharing it with us. Volvo told us to get a towing truck and it would take them 3 days to re-program it. You have saved us hundreds of dollars. Thank you!!!

  39. i have c70, the wires come loose on the system, if you replace the inmobilizer the volvo tech tip recommends replacing the wire connecting wires, also check the wires on the computer and electrical tape them tight. I had noticed mine would act up when i hit a pot hole, it gets jarred and the columns are a little loose. You can go to an after market company that installs after market remotes. they can install a bypass that puts the transponder directly on the the main computer, by a box and new program and it will not act up and then you can have a remote start and use any generic non programmed key to start the car which is about ten dollars per key not 200

  40. These comments are so great. I’m perfectly pleased with myself for helping people with this issue when it saves them the aggravation of needing their car to start as they’ve always assumed it would, only to get the message “Immobilzer, See Manual” and the dealer will only say, “have it towed to us and we’ll fix it.” The costs involved are ridiculous, but even worse is the way it stops you in your tracks while going about dealing with life, assuming your car is there for you when you most need it.

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