Dodge Avenger 2012
The car would crank up but then a red
light with start flashing and died and
now it won't start at all.
You may have a problem with your Sentry Key Immobilizer Module (also called SKIM) that is interrupting the starter. We've seen issues with SKIM locking up electronically on the 08 models and often a battery disconnect will reboot it and allow the engine to start. If you're seeing a small red dot (about 5mm in diameter) flashing in the instrument cluster when the key is on, it shows that the engine controller (PCM) isn't getting a valid OK-to-start signal from the SKIM module. SKIM reads the RFID chip in your ignition key and when matched to the programmed values, it will tell the PCM that it's OK to go for a ride. If the key is damaged, if the SKIM itself is bad or if no signal can be communicated to the PCM, the effect is the same... no bueno. If you have a key handy besides the one you've been using, by all means try this first. A bad key will not satisfy the SKIM system and engine start.. or cranking.. will not be allowed. The lockup effect I mentioned usually happens from electrostatic discharge (ESD), which is another way of saying a static charge created by sliding into the driver's seat found its way through the key and into the SKIM module. Battery disconnect will often recover a locked-up SKIM module, but this may be more serious than that. Try the battery disconnect maneuver again, leaving the battery disconnected for a full two minutes. If this recovers the SKIM module and allows engine start, it shows that the SKIM should be replaced at the first opportunity, which means a trip to the dealer will be needed. Round up all ignition keys for the trip because they will have to be programmed to the new SKIM module once it's replaced. This isn't something you can do unfortunately... it requires the use of specialized scan tool equipment because it involves work on the basic anti-theft system of the vehicle. It's made to be difficult to work on for that purpose.
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