The original factory installed anti theft system used on GM passenger cars beginning in 1986 is known as VATS (Vehicle Anti Theft System), also got a new name, Passkey (Personalized Automobile Security System). Both names refer to the same system. The name change was made strictly for marking reasons.
This revolutionary system was the first factory standard electronic anti theft system ever offered on production vehicles. The system was so successful that when it was first installed on the 1986 Chevrolet Corvette, withing 3 years, Corvette thefts had dropped by over 50%. With results like that, it is not surprising that in 1989 General Motors began expanding VATS to other vehicles. By 1993 model year, over 50% of the cars produced by General Motors were equipped with VATS.
VATS / PASSKEY SYSTEM
The heart of the VATS system is a resistor pellet embedded in the shank of the ignition key. Each VATS key will have one of fifteen different resistor values. When the VATS key is inserted into the ignition switch, the resistor pellet is positioned between a pair of contacts located inside the ignition lock. Each time the lock is turned to the ON position, the VATS control module routes an electric current through the resistor pellet and determines the value of the resistor.If the value of the resistor pellet in the key matches the value stored in the computer’s memory, the computer allows the car to start.
If the value on the resistor pellet does not match the value stored in memory, the car will not start, and a timer will prevent the car from starting, even with the correct key, until a predetermined penalty period has elapsed.
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