Thursday, 17 February 2011

VX220 Turbo: Hax0ring my VX

One "design feature" of the VX is the doors lock as soon as you close them. So if you pop out of the car and leave the keys in the ignition you have the potential of locking them inside. No prizes for guessing how I know this.

This wouldn't be too much of an issue if I had a second key that worked but unfortunately the previous owner gave me a key that wasn't for my car. I didn't think to try it at the time as it had a tag with my license plate number on it. So I figured it must work, after all who would put a tag on a key for the wrong car!?!? Just another thing to look out for when buying second hand.

With the worry of locking my keys in the car and then having to rely on my German breakdown recovery ADAC to gain entry (what can I say, they were cheaper then the AA) I decided I had to get a second working key. Inspired by a forum post on I purchased a spare uncut key from ebay for £9 and an opcom cable which works on most Vauxhall's for another £35. Then a quick trip to Timpson to get the key cut for another £5 and I was ready to hack my car!! well program a key to the immobiliser at least :).

This involves hooking up the opcom cable to a laptop and then connecting it to the diagnostic port under the dash. Turning the ignition on with the new key without starting the car. Then using the opcom software supplied with the cable to program the new key to the immobiliser. After following the on screen prompts which require you to turn the car off and on a few times your new key is associated with the immobiliser and can now start the car, result!! The software even allows you to remove lost keys from the car for added security.

The opcom cable can also display engine and ABS faults. As well as output real time data from the cars sensors, such as air mass and throttle position. I must admit this really appeals to my inner geek and I'm sure it'll come in handy for diagnosing problems in the future.