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Drew, Super Mazda Tech.
Category: Mazda
Satisfied Customers: 2188
Experience:  19 yrs. experience. Mazda Senior Certified Tech, with Ford, Linc. & Merc. experience. ASE L1 Advanced Certified Master Tech.
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I have a 2003 Mazda Tribute and the security key light

Customer Question

Hi, I have a 2003 Mazda Tribute and the security key light flashes and it won't start.
JA: Just to clarify, can you tell me which light it is? And does it blink first, then stay on steady?
Customer: It is the red car icon with a key in it and it flashes quickly.
JA: Are you fixing your Tribute yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: I tried the original key and it's doing the same thing. I disconnected the battery for about 15 minutes.
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: The key I was using was a copy, but it worked fine. I drove the car around to warm it up before changing the oil, then when I went to restart it, the security light started flashing and it wouldn't engage the starter.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Mazda
Expert:  david craig replied 1 month ago.

Hi Im David, thanks for visiting the site, with the key to the on position, disconnect both battery cables. touch them together for 5 seconds, reconnect them. turn the key off. then try to start. if that doesnt work, under the dash on the passenger side there is a fuel shutoff switch, reset it and try to start.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
You are sure that's not going to do anything bad to the computer?
Expert:  david craig replied 1 month ago.

i am positive

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I tried the battery procedure and it's doing the same thing, the starter doesn't turn over, so is there any point to resetting the fuel shutoff switch?
Expert:  david craig replied 1 month ago.

its worth a shot because next is having it towed to the dealer so they can cut and reprogram a new key and the immobilizer

Expert:  david craig replied 1 month ago.

just checking in to see how its going

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I had the Mazda Tribute towed to a local Mazda dealer. They charged me $145 for diagnostics then $69 to reprogram the keys. After reprogramming the keys, it started fine. I'll probably need to replace the PCM/ECM/ECU since I don't know why it lost the key programming. I thought you meant the immobilizer was a separate thing. Had I known the computer was likely at fault, I could have avoided the tow, diagnostics and key programming fees and just got a new programmed one for what I have already spent. So, thanks for the tips concerning the battery and the fuel shutoff, but that didn't help. We can close this question now.
Expert:  david craig replied 1 month ago.

I told you the next step would be to have a new key coded to the immobilizer which communicates with the computer. you're not going to need a new computer. and after you had the keys reprogrammed it started so whats the problem? you dont sound satisfied.

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