How Does a Ghost Immobiliser Work – A Complete Guide

How Does a Ghost Immobiliser Work – A Complete Guide

Ghost immobilisers are the latest development in car theft prevention and can stop thieves from driving your car even if they can enter it.

While ghosts are a revolutionary advance in vehicle security technology, many people don’t understand how they work or even what they are.

This article will explain what a ghost immobiliser is, how it works, and the many benefits it can offer you.

What Is A Ghost Immobiliser?

The Ghost immobiliser, produced by Autowatch UK Ltd, is the first aftermarket CAN bus immobiliser and the next level of vehicle security. The Ghost is a small electronic device installed in your car and connected to your onboard Controller Area Network (CAN) to prevent theft.

This small device can protect you from car theft via key theft and key cloning, as it makes it impossible to start your car without inputting a customisable password – immobilising it, in other words. Because Autowatch Ghost Immobilisers are connected to your CAN, they can disable your car until you put in a custom ‘password’, making it nearly impossible to steal them.

What Does A Ghost Immobiliser Do?

As the name implies, a Ghost immobilises your car by preventing your car’s electronic systems from going through the usual startup routine until you put in a custom passcode. This means that even if a would-be thief gained entry to your car and had keys to the car, it would not start until the custom passcode was input.

How Does It Work?

The Autowatch Ghost immobiliser connects to your Controller Area Network (CAN) bus, which controls mechanical functions like your engine startup routine by communicating with your Engine Control Unit (ECU). The immobiliser then intercepts electronic signals to disable your car’s engine system until it is deactivated with a special passcode which is input using controls in your car, such as buttons on the steering wheel.

Furthermore, this passcode can include obscure buttons (like turning on the rear demister) and contain up to 20 inputs, making it much more secure than a PIN or physical key. The Ghost immobiliser is also easy to install and almost undetectable with monitoring equipment as it is installed directly on your car’s onboard computer system, making it much less intrusive than physical anti-theft devices like steering wheel locks.

Benefits of the Autowatch Ghost Immobiliser

Easy to Install

Ghost immobilisers are small and easy to install, as they are fitted inside your vehicle, often near the Engine Control Unit (ECU) in your engine bay.

Custom PIN

Using the inputs in your car (such as the indicator stalk and buttons on your dashboard), you can create a unique passcode of up to 20 inputs that is almost impossible for thieves to crack.


Because Ghost immobilisers are wired into your car’s onboard electronics, they are undetectable to conventional diagnostics and cannot be cloned or hacked.

Linked smartphone app

The 2nd generation Autowatch Ghost has a companion app for your smartphone that lets you easily disarm the immobiliser using a paired device.

Silent operation

Like its namesake, the Ghost immobiliser is completely silent and invisible from the car’s interior and exterior, so thieves will be unable to locate or disable it.

Service/Valet mode

If you need to let someone else use your car, you can temporarily disable the Ghost, so you don’t reveal the passcode to anyone else.

Emergency code

If you forget your passcode, you can input an emergency code to deactivate the Ghost immobiliser or use the companion app to disable it and reset the passcode.

The Ghost Can Be Reinstalled

Because installation is so simple, you can easily remove the Ghost immobiliser and transfer it to your new car, so you should think of it as an investment in your security.

Cost of Ghost Immobilizer Installation

The Autowatch Ghost immobiliser may not be the cheapest aftermarket security device, but it is much more effective than a steering wheel lock, and you can carry it over to future automobiles. As of writing, you can find technicians that will provide, install and program a Ghost immobiliser for as little as £475, though the average cost is around £499.

The Ghost immobiliser provides unmatched theft protection by making it impossible to drive your car without your consent. It offers unique protection for your vehicle, is easy to install, and can be transferred over multiple vehicles, so this is more of an investment than a mod.

Does My Car Need A Tracker?

Another way to prevent theft is to install a GPS tracker, which allows you to monitor the location of your vehicle and makes it incredibly easy to locate in case of theft. However, these devices have multiple drawbacks compared with the Autowatch Ghost, as they do nothing to prevent the theft of your vehicle and are easier to detect and remove or disable.

We do not recommend using a tracker as your main anti-theft measure, as they only help recover your vehicle after it has been stolen. Still, trackers are a great addition to immobilisers, as these devices allow you to have almost complete control over your vehicle’s movements when used together.


Vehicle theft is a growing concern for car owners across the country, as thieves are using more sophisticated methods (like cloning wireless keys) to bypass many existing security systems. Fortunately, the Autowatch Ghost immobiliser is a simple and effective way to prevent all unauthorised access to your car.