Error Code P0513 is defined as Incorrect Immobilizer Key, which means the engine’s computer has found a problem with the immobilizer ID. This code is a generic trouble code, meaning it applies to all vehicles equipped with OBD-II system, especially those made since 1996 up to present. It is more commonly found in Chrysler, Dodge, Hyundai, Jeep, and Mazda, though it can appear in other vehicle makes as well. Specifications on the definition, troubleshooting, and repairs, of course, vary from one make and model to another.

Error Code P0513 means the PCM (powertrain control module, also known as ECM or engine control module in other vehicle makes) has detected the presence of the immobilizer key (better known as ignition key) but fails to recognize it. If the ignition cylinder is turned on, the engine is cranked (but not yet started). If the PCM fails to detect the key, then the Error Code P0513 will be set.

Three elements work together to authenticate and detect the vehicle’s immobilizer key. The first one is the PIM (powertrain interface module), the BCM (body control module), and the PCM. If the identity of the key is different from what is programmed, then the code will also be stored, and the Check Engine light will also be triggered.

Common Symptoms

As with other error codes, this code activates the Check Engine light and registers the code to the vehicle’s memory system. Aside from which, the engine may be difficult to start, and in severe cases, the vehicle may not start at all.

Possible Causes

There are many possible causes for this code, such as:

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  • Defective immobilizer key
  • Poor electrical connection or defective immobilizer circuit components
  • Defective immobilizer key antenna
  • Defective immobilizer control unit

How to Check

As with most error codes, diagnosis for this code starts with the use of a scanning device hooked into the vehicle’s onboard computer to scan the stored trouble codes and then reset the present code. After resetting the code, the vehicle will be taken for a test drive to see if it returns. If it does return, then the problem has been verified.

Note:

Before clearing the codes, it helps to consult the vehicle’s diagnostic source for the right security reset, and key/fob relearn procedures

Then mechanics conduct a visual inspection of all related connectors and wirings and check the key/fob in question. If the housing of the key/fob has been damaged in any form, then it may be causing a problem with the circuit board. Sometimes, weak battery issue can also be the cause of this code.

From there, technicians will proceed on checking the immobilizer key antenna or the immobilizer key if they’re defective.

How to Fix

Depending on the diagnosis, common repairs for this code include:

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  • Replacement of the immobilizer key
  • If the immobilizer key is not the problem, then the ignition cylinder must be checked
  • Replacement of the ignition cylinder (if needed)

Most often than not, this code is caused by a defective key/fob. If the key/fob requires battery power, then there’s a good chance the battery has failed.

For vehicles involved in an attempted theft, you can simply reset the security system and reset the codes to solve this problem.