Whether or not you have an ignition interlock, sooner or later your vehicle will need repairs. If you do have a car breathalyzer in your vehicle, you might be concerned that the mechanic will disconnect the battery. Is that legal? Or is it a form of tampering with the ignition interlock – an offense punishable by fines and other penalties in most states?
In fact, if you need to have your vehicle repaired, it you will be able to get it done. What you need to do beforehand depends on your state, because motor vehicle and ignition interlock laws are all state laws.
In some states, you can just bring your ignition interlock-equipped car or truck go to a mechanic and get it fixed. They can disconnect the battery and reconnect it with no worries about it counting against you.
Other states ask that you first notify authorities when you go in for major repairs. This might mean calling your ignition interlock provider, the DMV, or your parole officer. Not doing so could result in the shutdown of the device being recorded as a violation.
The upshot: check with your ignition interlock provider first. Their customer service staff will be able to tell you what to do, and whom if anyone you need to notify. Then you can take it in. Note: if you’re not going to be around for the repairs, be sure your mechanic knows how to use the interlock to start the vehicle.
Some states have no restrictions on shutdowns. In that case, you might even be advised to disconnect your negative battery terminal if you aren’t planning to use your vehicle for a few days, to keep it from draining the battery too much.
However, the only way to know is to check with your provider. They’re the ones who are tasked with keeping you on the road, legally and safely.