P1260 – Theft Detected Vehicle Immobilized (Ford)

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By Reinier (Contact Me)
Last Updated 2018-09-28
Automobile Repair Shop Owner
CodeFault LocationProbable Cause
P1260 P1260 – Theft Detected Vehicle Immobilized (Ford)
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Manufacturer Specific Definitions for P1260

MakeFault Location
AudiInjector 1 - implausible signal
BuickFuel pump speed relay -circuit malfunction
CadillacFuel Pump Speed Relay Control Circuit Conditions
ChevroletFuel Pump Speed Relay Control Circuit Conditions
CitroenTHEFT Detected, Vehicle Immobilzed
DodgeEngine control module, output driver -open circuit
FordTheft Detected - Vehicle Immobilized
GmFuel Pump Speed Relay Control Circuit Conditions
JeepGlow Plug #1 Circuit
Land RoverEngine disabled by PATS
LincolnTheft detected -vehicle immobilized
MazdaTheft detected – engine immobilized
MercuryTheft detected -vehicle immobilized
PeugeotTHEFT Detected, Vehicle Immobilzed
PontiacFuel pump, control signal -circuit malfunction
RamEngine control module, output driver -open circuit
SaabThrottle return spring – weak spring force
VolvoTurbocharger (TC) boost pressure sensor – signal low
VolkswagenInjector 1 - implausible signal

Table of Contents

  1. What Does Code P1260 Mean?
  2. Where is the P1260 sensor located?
  3. What are the common causes of code P1260?
  4. Get Help with P1260

What Does Code P1260 Mean?

OBD II fault code P1260 is a manufacturer specific code that is defined by carmaker Ford as “THEFT Detected- Vehicle Immobilized”, and is set when the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) detects a violation of the PATS (Passive Anti-theft System) security protocols, which has disabled the engine.

On Ford applications, the PATS system communicates with the PCM via the instrument cluster, and depending on the signals received from the instrument cluster, the PCM will either disable the engine, or allow the engine to start and run normally. Provided the instrument cluster receives a signal from a PATS-enabled key within one second after starting, the PCM will determine that a theft condition does not exist, and it will therefore allow the engine to continue running.

In practice, the PCM and instrument are programmed together during assembly of the vehicle in the factory, which means that for all practical purposes the PCM and instrument cluster form a matched pair for the purposes of preventing the vehicle from being hot-wired, or being started with a non-PATS enabled key.

Apart from the initial enable/disable signals, the PCM and instrument cluster also share all the security codes that were programmed into both during the initial installation, and the enable signal will only be confirmed when all the security codes have been checked and confirmed.  Therefore, if either the PCM or the instrument cluster fails for whatever reason, both the cluster and the PCM must be replaced and programmed together to enable the PATS system.

If the ignition key is turned to either the RUN or START position and the PATS system is fully functional, the THEFT indicator light will turn on and remain illuminated for three seconds before extinguishing automatically. If however a fault or issue exists in the PATS system, the indicator light will either remain illuminated, or start to flash, depending on the nature of the problem.

Where is the P1260 sensor located?

The image above shows the location (circled) of the PATS control module on a Ford Ranger. Note that while this module is equally easy to find on most Ford applications, the module is not user-repairable, and replacing it will usually not resolve the issue. In most instances of this code, dealer-grade diagnostic software and equipment is required to diagnose and/or reprogram the PATS system and ignition keys.

What are the common causes of code P1260?

It should be noted that code P1260 could be set by conditions other than actual theft conditions. For instance, low battery voltages, incorrectly performed jump-starts, or even simple battery replacements can all cause this code.

Other common causes of code P1260 could also include the following-

  • Corrupted software in either (or both) the PCM and instrument cluster
  • Defective PATS control module
  • Use of non-PATS enable ignition keys
  • Use of damaged ignition smart keys
  • Defects in the PCM power supply circuits and/or relay
  • Shorted or interrupted VREF (reference voltage)
  • Loss of power or ground in the PCM power supply circuit(s)
  • Previous or unresolved theft condition
  • Failed or failing PCM

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