How Much Does an Ignition Interlock Device Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

An ignition interlock device, a shortened term for ignition interlocks or IID, became the answer to the usual problem of driving under the influence.

With an interlock device, the issue of drinking and driving can be addressed.  The interlock device is basically a Breathalyzer that is installed in your car’s ignition system – you breathe into the breathalyzer and your BAC (Breath Alcohol Content) is measured.  The vehicle will not start if the BAC of the driver is over a certain percentage.  The BAC limit differs from state to state, but it is commonly set at .02% to .04%.

If you were charged with a DUI, some states will have an ignition interlock law and will require you to install one as part of your court sentence.

Signs by avrene, on Flickr
Signs” (CC BY 2.0) by avrene

How much does an ignition interlock device cost?

The average cost of an ignition interlock device will depend on the state that requires the lock.  From our research, the average installation costs will be in the $75 to $200 range, while the monthly monitoring costs will be anywhere from $60 to $100 per month.  In some rare circumstances, the installation costs could be even more if you drove a car that took longer than average to install.  For instance, hybrids and/or vehicles with a pushbutton start can cost more.

DrivingLaws.org says you should expect to pay about $100 per month for installation and between $50 to $100 per month for the lease.

According to DUIArrestHelp.com, the overall cost of installation, calibration and schedule maintenance can cost about $75 to a couple hundred dollars per month.

Ignition interlock device overview

The interlock device program is only intended for people who have been convicted of DUI (driving under the influence), sometimes called DWI (driving while intoxicated), again, depending on the state you live in.  Usually, the court will be the one to require the offender to install the device on their vehicle, although these can be purchased for other reasons outside the court.

Once installed in the vehicle, the driver will not be able to start the car without measuring the alcohol content on their breath.  Activating the device starts by blowing into a cell phone-sized hand-held sensor attached to the car’s dashboard.  If the breath contains a higher BAC, the car will not start at all.

Each month, depending on the state’s requirements, you may have to attend a service center to have your device checked on.

Interlock devices are regulated by every state and are available for lease only.  You cannot buy it directly at any store.

What are the extra costs?

An installation fee will always apply and will more than likely be within the $50 to $200 range, depending on your state and the car you drive.  For example, the cost of installing an interlock device in Florida is $75.  This fee may be higher if you have a luxury vehicle or if the installation takes longer than the usual.

There will always be a monthly fee that ranges anywhere from $50 to $100, again, depending on the state in which you live.

Other states have a policy of depositing money before the device can be used.  Most often, the individual required by the court to have an interlock device in their car must deposit at least a hundred dollars. However, this amount is refundable if the device is returned to the court in working order.

Once you no longer need the device, it will need to be taken out of your car in the same way that it was installed.  A removal fee of about $50 to $100 may incur in this scenario.

In some states, an administration fee of about $100 may apply.

Tips to know:

If you can’t afford the device, talk with your court to see if they have a program or fund set up to help you financially.

Be wary of third-party companies that claim they can get you a cheaper rate.  If the offer seems too good to be true, pay close attention to the fine print because you may find it won’t include the vehicle inspection fee, installation fees and/or calibration fees.  While some third-party companies are okay, just make sure no hidden fees come along with it.


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