Troubleshooting Ignition Interlock Devices and Systems

Now that you are ordered to have an ignition interlocksystem installed in your car, you have the option of selecting the ignition interlock device you wish from the providers in your area. Although this is initially an added burden to you, the good news is that the impact to your time and schedule will be minimal. You can also rest assured of the reliability of the ignition interlock device you choose. Ignition interlock technology and the systems that bring the technology to us have very little trouble. In fact, this article focuses on the common issues that come up when using the ignition interlock device that require user awareness and understanding.

Today’s ignition interlock systems include devices that are designed to give you the most benefits and the least problems. For example, the device itself has a very small footprint and the breath sampling part of the ignition interlock system is conveniently placed within the comfort of your driving area.

Understand that you might have been told half-truths and misinformation from others around you that perhaps used an ignition interlock system many years ago. Rest assured that we have the most up-to-date factual information to set you straight about today’s ignition interlock systems and devices.

Let’s talk a look at some commonly perceived troubleshooting issues that are really user issues. Reviewing this information will put you ahead of the curve to knowing what to expect and what not to do to keep your ignition interlock device running flawlessly.

Many of us consume foods that contain alcohol, even if in small doses. Some of the foods we eat contain sugar that is converted to alcohol quickly when ingested. Surely you can cause the ignition interlock system to send a fail signal to the ignition interlock device. Therefore, when it comes to the following foods, use the best practices tip below to avoid false positives that cause you to fail a breath test:

  • Chocolates
  • Mints
  • Altoids
  • Dentyne or other spicy gums
  • Cinnamon rolls or donuts

Best practices: 1. Avoid these 2. Rinse mouth with water 3. Wait 3 to 5 minutes before attempting an engine start or rolling retest

High concentrations of alcohol also exist in conventional mouthwash or mouth spray. Without taking any precautions, you will fail a breath test. As a reminder to the instruction you have or will likely receive upon signing on to ignition interlock program, remember to rinse your mouth with water prior to taking a breath test to minimize your chance of failing the test. Additional best practices are:

  1. Switch to low or non-alcoholic oral hygiene rinse liquids and sprays 2. Wait 15 minutes after mouth washing to allow the alcohol content to subside

Another form of ignition interlock device troubleshooting can arise when your breathing pattern is different from what the ignition interlock system and device expect. A different breathing pattern will cause a failed breath test. To avoid this use the following best practices.

Best practices:

1. Avoid attempts to start your car immediately after exercising

2. Remember to breath normally in the way you were instructed and ‘trained’ the ignition interlock device to recognize your exhale pattern

3. Respond to any voice tones in the way you were instructed by your system technician at installation of your ignition interlock device

4. Remember to exhale to the breath sampler component face on and not from any angle.

Your use of the ignition interlock device includes required monthly appointments to visit your service provider for data extraction and calibration. These visits are paramount to further reduce any troubleshooting potential with the ignition interlock system or device. Should you feel you have followed all of the best practices while still receiving breath test failures, contact your ignition interlock device service provider. Sometimes, you may have to make an appointment outside of regularly scheduled visits to take a look at the ignition interlock system and device to definitively rule out any trouble.

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