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The Weird Way Dodge Is Stopping Charger and Challenger Thefts

Of the cars that thieves love to snag the Dodge Charger and Challenger are high on the list. Some feel it is because they are so easy to steal. There isn’t much in the way of theft deterrents to soften that trend. Until now. Stellantis is incorporating software that at first seems like a really strange way of stopping thefts. We’ll explain.

Dodge’s new security feature limits the car to using only three horsepower

An image of a Dodge Challenger and Charger out on an airfield.
Dodge Challenger and Charger | Stellantis

Dodge’s new security feature limits the car to using only three horsepower. Yeah, that sounds really weird at first. But the three-horsepower limit is a result of not providing the proper information before starting the car. The Challenger and Charger will require two-factor authentication before starting.

The driver will have to input a four-digit code before unlocking what’s needed to drive the car away. Without that code, you can’t get much other than idle out of the engine. It is very similar technology to how you start a Tesla. It has also been used on Peugeot and Citroen vehicles, which are not part of the Stellantis group. 

So that three hp equates to about 675 rpm. It is less than even limp mode. This should add another layer of security to defeat car key-relay thefts which are the reason thieves pick Dodge cars in the first place. The great thing is it is also available for free on 2015 and up Challengers and Chargers. 

Key-relay thefts happen because of the keyless entry feature

An orange Dodge Charger SXT on display at the Chicago Auto Show
2020 Dodge Charger is on display at the Chicago Auto Show | Getty

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The key-relay thefts happen because of the keyless entry feature. Thieves use a simple device to relay the key’s unique signature that opens up the functions of the car. The keys don’t have to be within close proximity for the thieves to accomplish this. It allows both the car to be unlocked and started. There is no forced entry that takes time and raises exposure. 

But why did Dodge use this method to stop thefts? Because it was easy to piggyback off of the existing valet mode already in the cars. It takes the Valet Mode only allowing a couple of hundred horsepower and cranks it down to only an idle. Dodge could have gone for complete immobilization but it would not have been able to offer it going back to 2015 models. So this method gets more cars into the tent.

It may even help in apprehending thieves as they try and increase speeds to no avail. Especially when thieves are expecting a brisk getaway in a Hellcat Charger or Challenger. So, even though it seems a bit odd at first, the idea of limiting the car’s engine down to an idle was a great way to deter theft. And great because it takes in as many Challengers and Chargers as was reasonably efficient to do.