How to Unlock a VIN-Locked Hypertech Programmer

by Lisa Wampler
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The first time you plug a Hypertech programmer into the OBD2 port of your car, it locks to your vehicle’s VIN (vehicle identification number.) This prevents a user from using the Hypertech programmer on multiple vehicles. If you purchased a used Hypertech programmer and the previous owner did not restore the car to the factory settings, you cannot use the Hypertech chip without resetting it. Unfortunately, if you do not have access to the original car the programmer locked to, you cannot easily reset your programmer. However, with a bit of ingenuity, it is possible.

Step 1

Plug the Hypertech programmer into your OBD2 port usually located under the driver’s dashboard. Turn the ignition key to the “on” position but don’t start your car. The programmer will recognize the VIN is wrong and show you the VIN it is locked to. Write this number down.

Step 2

Purchase a new PCM (powertrain control module) or ECM (electronic control module) for your vehicle. The type of computer depends on the brand and model of vehicle you own. It is best to purchase a new ECM or PCM designed to fit your vehicle that requires a “flash” to program.

Step 3

Locate a repair facility with the capability of “flashing” your PCM/ECM. It may require several phone calls to locate a repair facility with this capability. Avoid dealerships, as they will require VIN verification.

Step 4

Supply the repair facility with your new PCM/ECM and the VIN given to you by the programmer. The facility will flash the PCM/ECM with the necessary programming to work with your car and the VIN you provide to them.

Step 5

Install the new PCM/ECM into your car. The process for completing the installation is different for most vehicles because the manufacturer places the computer into different locations. In general, the ECM is usually located inside the engine compartment. If you are not sure where it is located, ask the repair facility where you get the new PCM/ECM flashed. Usually they can tell you where it is located.

Step 6

Plug the Hypertech programmer into the OBD2 port on your car and turn the ignition key to the “on” position. When the programmer boots up, it will recognize the new PCM/ECM because it reads the correct VIN.

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