Common Ignition Interlock Issues and Troubleshooting

Ignition interlock devices have come a long way in the last decade. The device is tremendously reliable and easy-to-use, but it still may take you a while to get accustomed to using it properly. Improper use can sometimes cause the device to malfunction or to improperly analyze your breath. By keeping the following tips in mind, you will be able to avoid these situations. If you have any additional questions, you can always contact your local service provider.

Eating Before a Breathalyzer Test

Your alcohol-specific device should not normally be triggered by anything except alcohol; however, certain types of foods will have sugars that quickly convert to alcohol in your mouth. These small traces of alcohol can sometimes cause a false positive reading. Always try to wait at least five minutes after eating before you blow into your ignition interlock device. If you are eating especially sugary foods, you might also want to drink some water. This will help reduce the risk of a false positive. Some of the foods that may trigger an incorrect reading include:

Mints and altoids


Spicy gums and candies

Donuts and cinnamon buns

Mouthwash Before Using Your IID

As you may already know, mouthwash is primarily made of alcohol. If you breathe into your ignition interlock immediately after using mouthwash, it will probably detect alcohol on your breath. You should always wait at least five minutes before you use your ignition interlock. In addition, wash your mouth with water after using your mouthwash. This will reduce the chance of getting a positive reading.

Cold Weather Use

Though interlock ignition devices are built to work in a wide temperature range, they will need some time to warm up in extremely cold temperatures. The WAIT light on your IID will let you know that it is still warming up. If there is no WAIT light, you should still give the machine 3-5 minutes to warm up before using it.

Missed Monthly Service Appointments

You will be required to bring your vehicle to monthly service appointments with the service provider. The service provider will extract data, recalibrate your device, and also make sure that it is functioning properly. If you miss your monthly service appointment and do not get service within the time limit, your device will stop working. If this happens, you should immediately call your service provider. If you reschedule your service appointment, they may be able to reset the device remotely. Otherwise, your vehicle will have to be towed to the service provider.

Device Not Measuring the Breath

When you get your ignition interlock device, you will be trained on how to use it, and your device will also be configured to recognize your breaths. It’s important that you always breathe into the device in the same way, so that it can measure and evaluate the breath test. You should have controlled and sustained exhalations. Make sure that you are breathing directly into the device, and not at an angle.