P0513 Trouble Code: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Repairs

P0513 Trouble Code: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Repairs

The P0513 code stands for “Incorrect Immobilizer Key.” This code is triggered when your vehicle’s Powertrain Control Module (PCM) fails to recognize the immobilizer key or key fob used to start the car. Essentially, it’s a security feature designed to prevent theft, but when it malfunctions, it can prevent you from starting your own vehicle.

Top 20 Vehicles Commonly Affected by P0513

While this code can appear in many vehicles, here are some models that frequently experience this issue:

  1. Chrysler 300
  2. Dodge Charger
  3. Jeep Grand Cherokee
  4. Hyundai Sonata
  5. Kia Optima
  6. Ford F-150
  7. Chevrolet Silverado
  8. Honda Civic
  9. Toyota Camry
  10. Nissan Altima
  11. Mazda3
  12. Volkswagen Jetta
  13. BMW 3 Series
  14. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  15. Audi A4
  16. Lexus RX
  17. Subaru Outback
  18. GMC Sierra
  19. Ram 1500
  20. Mitsubishi Outlander

Implications on Vehicle Performance and Emissions

The P0513 code primarily affects your vehicle’s starting system and security features. It doesn’t directly impact emissions or engine performance. However, if left unaddressed, it can lead to:

  • Inability to start the vehicle
  • Increased vulnerability to theft
  • Potential damage to the ignition system from repeated starting attempts

Diagnosing and Fixing P0513

Key Symptoms

  • Engine won’t start
  • Security light flashing on the dashboard
  • Key fob not recognized by the vehicle
  • Engine starts but immediately shuts off

Diagnostic Steps

  1. Check the key fob battery
  2. Inspect the key fob for physical damage
  3. Examine the ignition switch for wear or damage
  4. Use an OBD-II scanner to check for additional codes
  5. Verify the immobilizer antenna is functioning correctly

Potential Solutions

  • Replace the key fob battery
  • Reprogram the key fob
  • Replace a damaged key fob
  • Repair or replace the ignition switch
  • Update the vehicle’s security system software
  • Replace the immobilizer antenna
  • In some cases, the PCM may need reprogramming or replacement

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it safe to drive with the P0513 code?
A: If your vehicle starts, it’s generally safe to drive. However, you risk being stranded if the car fails to start again.

Q: How much does it cost to fix a P0513 code?
A: Costs can vary widely, from $50 for a simple key fob battery replacement to over $1000 for PCM replacement and reprogramming.

Q: Can I prevent the P0513 code from occurring?
A: Regular maintenance of your key fob (like battery replacement) and avoiding physical damage to your keys can help prevent this issue.

Q: How long does it take to fix this issue?
A: Depending on the underlying cause, repairs can take anywhere from 30 minutes for a simple fix to several hours for more complex issues.

Q: Will this code clear itself?
A: Generally, no. The P0513 code usually requires professional diagnosis and repair to be cleared.


The P0513 code, while not directly affecting your vehicle’s performance or emissions, can be a significant inconvenience and potential security risk. Addressing this issue promptly is crucial to ensure your vehicle remains secure and reliable. If you’re experiencing symptoms related to this code, it’s best to consult with a professional mechanic who can accurately diagnose and resolve the problem. Remember, maintaining your vehicle’s security systems is just as important as regular engine maintenance for the overall health and longevity of your car.

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