by Dave Ashton
Keyless entry should deter most car thieves, but hacking these wireless key fobs has now become a thing. This situation has pushed Dodge to implement 2-factor authentication on Challenger and Charger models that house either a 392c.i. V8 or Hellcat-derived engines. Older models can also receive the security features via a free software update on 2015-2021 models.
The new software security will limit the engine output to 675 rpm, 2.8 horsepower, and 22lb. ft. of torque. The low output will allow the car to be driven, but only at a sedate walking pace. To gain the full power of the car, a four-digit security code needs to be entered into the infotainment system.
Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis announced in a press release, ‘Though statistically rare, car thieves have targeted the high-horsepower Dodge muscle cars, and we want the Dodge ‘Brotherhood’ to know we’re taking quick action and covering their backs.’
A needed feature or just a hassle?
Obviously, nobody wants their prized muscle car going places without their consent, but how will this new feature go down with users? For some, the new feature will be a necessary addition to provide peace of mind. For others, it could be a severe hindrance, especially if they can’t access the code, like when their phone or computer dies at a moment’s notice. Others have questioned why not completely immobilize the vehicle, rather than limiting the power?
It seems that the general aim here is to add an extra level of security, which can’t be a bad thing. The new limiting feature is essentially an extension of the valet mode. The valet mode is there to limit the power output of a vehicle when it is handed over to a less experienced driver. As valet mode already exists in the Dodge lineup, the security update can be offered to far more users and for free via a software update.
If a full immobilizer was implemented, there could have been a cost to existing users. Therefore, the extra power limitations added to the valet mode made more sense all around. Plus, most car thefts require a quick getaway. Limiting the engine power to just under three horsepower should in theory be as good as a deterrent as a full immobilizer.
So, it seems that the power reduction feature was the most efficient and cost-effective way to roll out the benefits to all users.
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