Chevy Cruze Service Theft Deterrent System (6+ Reasons)

Hello and welcome back to my new response post; this time, I am dealing with an issue that is somewhat related to a similar post I did not too long ago, where I discussed why the theft deterrent alarm would keep going off in Chevy Cruze

In this post, I will discuss the failure of the theft deterrent system and how to deal with the Service Theft Deterrent System message in the Chevy Cruze. Hop along.

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The Good Old Reset

In the world of electronics, the reset is a man’s best friend. Only God knows how many reputations and jobs have been saved by it. 

So when you see the service message related to the deterrent system, there are a couple of things that can be done to see if the issue was just a passing cloud.

The Simpler Reset First 

  • Press the unlock button on the door
  • Step out of the car, leaving the car door open
  • Press the lock button on the door.
  • Shut the door

The above steps should work under most circumstances but if they don’t, try doing the following.

A Little Harder Reset

For this step, you would need a 10mm socket wrench

  • On your car battery, remove the negative cable and secure it 
  • Next, remove the positive cable.
  • Let it be for a couple of minutes. Make sure there is no stored current in the system by pressing the horn several times. It will drain away the residual energy. 
  • Reconnect the positive cable first.
  • Reconnect the negative cable.

Secure the negative terminal with care; it tends to return to the terminal by itself, causing a short circuit.

Plus, ensure not to tighten the nuts too much, as they can come loose instead, and you will end up with a broken assembly needing replacement. 

Hopefully, this hard reset would most likely get rid of the problem. But there is a catch with this method; because of the battery disconnect, the Bluetooth will be reset, and so will the clock, the FM radio etc. 

More often than not, this will fix the issue, but then for some, it might not be it.

No need to worry; let us together find the possible reasons for failure and what needs to be done to correct it. So hold tight because off we go.

6+ Common Causes of Service Theft Deterrent System Message appearing on your Chevy Cruze

So you have tried the reset method, and it did not work. The next step is to diagnose and fix the problem. Let me list the common reasons for the deterrent system failure message in Chevy Cruze.

  • The deterrent system control module is faulty
  • Blown Fuse
  • Broken wiring or poor connectivity
  • A damaged car door/ignition lock cylinder
  • Use of the wrong key
  • Issues with the fob
  • Other probable issues

Deterrent System Control Module

The theft deterrent control module can fail because of internal faults due to workmanship or degradation over time.

When this happens, your car will likely behave as if someone is trying to break in, with lights flashing and the horn honking. 

The reset procedure will fail if the module is faulty. In all likelihood, the car will fail to start, and even if it does, it is highly recommended to get to the root cause of the problem because it is likely to occur again.

A faulty theft deterrent control module can only be diagnosed with a scan tool that can read the control module diagnostic codes, check real-time and frame-by-frame data, and remotely control the module. 

A scan tool is an accessory that every car owner should have as if they are getting all-weather floor mats. 

Now they are simple OBD scan tools that would only read the codes, and then there are those capable of doing system resets and, even better, programming the system to your liking.

I highly recommend the XTOOL A30D because of its bang for the buck. 

The diagnostic scan tool pinpointing the actual cause would then require physical intervention. So best to seek professional help. In general, the anti-theft control module will be faulty if correct inputs result in incorrect outputs. 

Sometimes the module will work by simply reloading the software. Other times the module will need to be replaced.

The module’s location can vary depending on the model, but in some models, it is located in a small panel around the rearview mirror.

Access the module by gently removing the clips and the wire harness. Insert the wire harness onto the new module and clip it back in place.

Blown Fuse

A blown fuse essentially means loss of connectivity with the same effect as a faulty control module because a blown fuse isolates the deterrent system from the Cruze’s main computer.

Locate the fuse, replace it and then apply the reset method. The message should cease.

There’s no indication of the fuse of the service theft deterrent system on the layout, which means you would have to resort to “maximum effort” and check all the fuses one by one with a fuse tester to see which one’s acting up. 

Fuse Tester

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Broken Wiring Or Poor Connectivity

A broken wire or a poor connection on the theft deterrent system has the same effect as a blown fuse because, under both situations, the net effect is an open electrical circuit which is then picked by the main computer as a fault in the deterrent system itself. 

Locating broken wiring or poor connectivity involves physical intervention and may require removing interior body panels, trims, carpeting, etc., to trace the complete wiring path in order to locate the breakpoint.

In case of a broken wire, ensure the joint is a good solid one because a poor joint will be the cause of intermittent problems.

Similarly, in case of loose connectivity, remove any dirt and debris by using an aerosol cleaner and reconnecting the wiring.

Issue With Door/Ignition Lock Cylinder

Thieves find ingenious ways to break into cars. They have a way with locks and use various modified tools, such as pins, screwdrivers, etc., to try and break-in.

In trying to do so, they damage the door lock cylinders. The deterrent system considers a compromised door as a system malfunction and initiates the service message.

Not only the damaged lock cylinder will need to be replaced, but all other cylinders on the doors, ignition, and trunk will also need replacement.

These will come with a new set of keys, so it is a bit of a dent in your wallet, but at least it saved you from a major crash.😁

Wrong Key Used

When you inadvertently try to open your Chevy Cruze with the wrong key, the system will trigger the service alarm. Use the correct key to open the car and reset the service alarm.

It must be one of those days, mate. No worries. It can happen to the best of us.😉 

Other Possible Issues

Although the above are generally the most common issues related to the failure of the deterrent system itself, people have reported issues with the fob (flat battery/failure of RFID transmitter/receiver, etc.) and flat or weak car battery as probable causes.

If all above fails, then there is no harm in checking these also.

This one is different. Although this is for another car model, one user on YouTube had reported getting this service message when he used external wiring to hook up his phone charger directly to the car’s auxiliary battery. 

Check this


Modern cars have a number of anti-theft and anti-break-in features that get activated at different stages of an attempted break-in.

The theft deterrent system is the first line of defense against would-be thieves. With this defense up and running, you can sleep peacefully at night. 

However, it is possible for the system to become faulty, and in this article, we have looked at the possible reasons for the message “Service Theft Deterrent System” and identified possible solutions to fix it. 

However, before you do anything, remember to invoke our trusted friend, “The Reset.”

Until next time, chow.