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What Toyota Imports Are Being Targeted By Thieves ?



  • Registered Users Posts: 315 ✭✭ walshtipp

    An immobiliser is not a standard piece of equipment on cars in Japan. This is because there is very little car crime there. Without an immobiliser a car can be hot wired. If your Prius has an immobiliser you will usually see a red flashing light somewhere in the car when the immobiliser is active.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,675 ✭✭✭ ozmo

    >However, they advised anyone who owns a Japanese import to consider fitting old-style steering wheel locks to secure their vehicles. 

    very bad advice - I had a steering lock on my old car and it was removed - steering lock also broken - it just takes a heavy hand to break them...

    Only thing that saved my car from being taken was the old school Two immobilisers that were on it - (one rfid built into the key - and one from the ancient alarm being on)

    “Roll it back”

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,609 ✭✭✭ User1998

    Prius is fine

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  • Registered Users Posts: 75,908 ✭✭✭✭ Atlantic Dawn

    They are not being stolen for commercial gain, just for joyriding because the level of knowledge and tools required would fit inside your jeans pocket. Even if you fit an immobiliser the fact that it has the square rear plate and other differences identifying it a mile off as an import will make it a constant target for being robbed. If I had one myself I would fit a full wheel lock and good alarm as a deterrent.

    To rid the country of the problem the NCT should be changed so that all these vehicles require an immobiliser to be fitted before they can be given the first NCT, that would kill off the problem over a short span of time. That or insurance companies not offer cover unless an immobiliser installed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,612 ✭✭✭ monkeybutter

    how is anyone getting insurance on one of these in the first place

  • Registered Users Posts: 75,908 ✭✭✭✭ Atlantic Dawn

    No insurance company with any sense of responsibility to their shareholders or the safety of other motorists on the road should be.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,929 ✭✭✭✭ elperello

    Anyone with an interest in cars would know but lot's of car buyers wouldn't put it at the top of the priorities list.

    They would be more interested in the colour, the sound system etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 438 ✭✭ Girl Geraldine

    If the nct required import vehicles to be modified to have immobilisers, the whole jap import market would collapse overnight.

    The other thing is that retrofitting an immobiliser is not like it used to be. It used to be just some intercept on an ignition or starter circuit. Integrating an immobiliser into a modern software driven car with multiple networked controller modules is likely to be either a) impossible outright, b) practically impossible to achieve for the average mechanic or auto electrician or main dealer c) prohibitively expensive if the particular expertise can be found, or c) if it were achieved, it could lead to all sorts of bizzare corruptions and ongoing bugs with the electronics of the car, which often are intractable or very difficult to impossible to fix.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 976 ✭✭✭ eirman

    So, harking back to my original question ... What are these vulnerable jap makes / models ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 75,908 ✭✭✭✭ Atlantic Dawn

    All that were imported and identifiable as such is the simple answer. If the 4th generation Prius (what you have) came with an immoboliser as standard and thieves know this it may not be a target, if some of them did and some didn't it will be a target. Generally the thieves see the square plate on the back and assume no immobiliser and will try. The usual method to gain access is to either bend back the top of the drivers door to open it or to put a screwdriver in to the lock and disable it. A good visible steering lock/chain and alarm might deter best.

    Here's a prime example of what's going on, a Vitz (Jap Yaris) attempted to be stolen multiple times...

  • Registered Users Posts: 976 ✭✭✭ eirman

    I presume the Square Plate on you are referring is the number plate. I didn't know that!

    (My Prius has a regular rectangular, one-line plate).

  • Registered Users Posts: 73,044 ✭✭✭✭ colm_mcm

    The ones they’re after is the Aqua and Vitz, specifically the ones that don’t have keyless entry/keyless start.

    it’s as simple as grabbing the lock with a vise-grip and breaking it off. Then manually turning the ignition switch.

    I think some Mazda Demios (Mazda2 JDM model) are similarly easy to steal too.

    These shouldn’t really be sold here without this basic piece of equipment. You’ll often know from looking at the keys that they don’t have an immobiliser chip.

    Far as I know all Prius models have keyless start (?) so probably wouldn’t be targeted

    I think everything sold new here since 1996 has an immobiliser.

  • Registered Users Posts: 50,447 ✭✭✭✭ bazz26

    Japanese cars intended to be sold in Europe will have a factory fitted immobilizer to prevent them being stolen without the key. However the ones that are easy for thieves to take are those that were originally sold on the Japanese domestic market that don't have an immoblizer fitted (car thieft is very low in Japan), and then imported to Ireland years later as used cars. Lots of European makes originally sold in Japan are now being imported from Japan too, the likes of BMWs, Audis and VWs. Not sure if they have a factory immoblizer fitted either. The shape of the rear number plate surround really isn't an indication anymore either as many now come with the same shape as original European models.

    Toyota Aqua/Vitz, Honda Fit/Grace or Nissan Kube would be the ones I'd most wary of. They were never originally sold here so tend to be on the radar of thieves.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,669 ✭✭✭ Old diesel

    I was wondering when this resurrection of larger scale 2nd hand Japanese imports would start going pete tong.

    Its a perfect storm of....

    1) Brexit reducing the amount of Uk imports.

    2) supply issues on new cars reducing the amount of trade ins that would normally go to the used car market.

    The problem also is that sellers are just getting into them as a source of supply for today.

    Rather then actually specialising in JDM imports for the long haul and getting the back up correct.

  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 10,175 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Hellrazer

    Exactly and they dont care what shite they put into the market as long as its another sale and theres a few quid to be made!!!

  • Registered Users Posts: 73,044 ✭✭✭✭ colm_mcm

    Big name dealers at it too

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,526 ✭✭✭ goochy

    i cant see how insurance companies are insuring these odd ball models ? its a minefield

    regarding main dealers , a large ford dealer in Limerick and a VW dealer in Laois ( they seem to still be main dealer ? ) are selling jap imports .

  • Registered Users Posts: 242 ✭✭ Pythagorean

    I have a '92 corolla, import, should I be worried ? 🤔

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 59,836 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Wibbs

    Not really. Plenty of car alarm brands produce Canbus compatible alarm/immobiliser systems. If anything they're often easier to fit compared to old style setups as they're more "plug and play". I know a chap with a fancy BMW(2020 model IIRC), who concerned about the ease they can be sometimes stolen by hijacking the fob remotely got a third party system fitted. I think it's a Clifford, though maybe a Viper.

    On so many levels. 😜 Nah, fair play. My 90's Corolla won't start. Said no one, ever. 😁👍️

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 59,836 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Wibbs

    This. Those steering locks can even be an advantage for the thieves, because they can use them as a lever to break the built in steering lock. Plus they're daftly easy to bypass anyway. The best of the designs covers the entire wheel, but they're at best awkward to deal with.

    If you have one of these more targeted cars the best solution is properly fitting a third party alarm/immobiliser. By properly I mean well hidden by the installer, not behind an easily accessible panel under the steering wheel and put the siren somewhere other than under the bonnet in the engine bay where 90% are placed and far too accessible. Get them to add a relay which also triggers the car's horn. A siren and a car horn going at the same time will get attention. A clearly visible alarm LED well away from where the alarm brain is located so thieves can see it another. Stickers advertising the car is alarmed adds another layer.

    Now some might contend advertising what alarm is fitted helps the thieves figure ways around it, but let's face it this isn't Hollywood and in the vast majority of cases these thieves aren't rocket surgeons. One of the main reasons certain cars become "fashionable" to steal is that one or two bright sparks figure out(or read it on the interwebs) simple steps to steal a particular model of car and these simple steps get passed along to the rest. Block or interrupt even one of these simple steps will slow them right down, block two and you'll almost certainly stop them in their tracks. They're also opportunists. If you protect your car when the majority on your road/area don't, they'll just move to easier prey.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,034 ✭✭✭ monseiur

    Would an isolation switch on the battery help, or better still bring a fused cable direct from battery and fit an isolation key switch in a consealed area in cab.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,657 ✭✭✭ zg3409

    Some cars give errors if battery has been disconnected for a while. Things like ABS lights may stay on and only go off after the second time starting with the battery reconnected. For the first trip the abs may be disabled.

    A simple isolation switch with a plastic key removed from the vehicle may add a simple extra step from a common thief. I would not rely on it alone.

  • Registered Users Posts: 73,044 ✭✭✭✭ colm_mcm

  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 10,175 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Hellrazer

    When I drove JDMs without immobilisers I used to wire a kill switch to the ignition live coming from the ignition switch off the back of the ignition barrell or from the starter solenoid or in one case I had 2 switches fitted.

    The switch was hidden (usually in the glove box or even in the boot ) and to start the car the switch (or switches) had to be in the right position. Unless you knew where the switch was there was no way that car was starting.

    Costs less than a tenner and will secure any jap import against theft.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,812 ✭✭✭ mikeecho

    All cars sold in the EU since 1996 are required to have an immobilizer.

    No such regulations in Japan.

    Any Japanese second hand import is unlikely to have an immobilizer.