VESA’s Test House, ABS (Accreditation Bureau for Security and Safety) was established in 2000 to independently test and approve vehicle security products. ABS is 100% owned by VESA.

The ABS Specifications are re-evaluated annually and as required to ensure that they remain up to date with the latest technology and standards.  Input is obtained by the various VESA committee structures to ensure that specifications are maintained at the latest technology level.

All products tested and approved by ABS are given ABS Approval.  Once the product has been installed into a vehicle and certified with a VESA Certificate, then only does the product carry VESA Approval.
As from 1 September 2009, all VESA Members who provide vehicle security devices which are of a tangible nature will be required to label their ABS Approved vehicle security devices or equipment with an ABS/VESA Label.



Level 3 and 4 Immobilisers will still remain primary vehicle security standards for vehicles without immobilisers, vehicles older than 2005 models and vehicles that are still classified as high-risk vehicles. However additional classifications to Level 3 and 4 have been added:

Level 3A:  Fixed coded touch key immobilisation only (touch key only).

Level 3B and 3C remote immobilisers have been removed from the standard in 2000 as it has fixed coded immobilisation and
is not as secure as rolling code immobilisation.

Level 4A (existing standard): Encrypted (rolling code) immobilisation only.

Level 4B (existing standard): Encrypted (rolling code) immobiliser with perimeter (exterior) alarm.

Level 4C (existing standard): Encrypted (rolling code) immobiliser with perimeter (exterior) and interior alarm.

Level 4D (new standard):  Shall meet all the standards as set out in Class A, B and C and in addition the system shall provide Automatic Vehicle Location notifications.  Therefore this standard allows for the incorporation of vehicle tracking features.  These products are being tested by VESA and the approval of such products will be communicated to the industry in due course.



Although factory-fitted vehicle security technology has improved, vehicles are still being stolen hence the need for additional vehicle security.  VESA and ABS have recently launched its new specification for Electronic Alarm and Immobiliser vehicle security devices which will provide the consumer with a larger range of VESA Approved* vehicle security devices which act as supplementary security for:

Vehicles which already have factory-fitted transponder based systems (transponder keys)

Vehicles which are deemed as high-risk even though they have transponder keys but need additional protection against key theft Vehicles which don’t have transponder based systems and that are older   than 2005. 

These supplementary security standards are as follows:

  • Alarm Only Systems with Motion Sensors - VESA Description AO
  • This is a first for VESA to approve stand alone alarm systems, however it comes with additional features such as must-have motion sensors in the form of either perimeter, volumetric, shock, glass break and/or a combination of such sensors.
  • AO Level SH is an Alarm Only with an audible warning device in the form of the vehicle’s horn or a siren.
  • AO Level BB incorporates a basic alarm with a rechargeable Battery Backed up siren.
  • AO Level CAN incorporates a basic alarm but with an onboard CAN Bus interface for interfacing into the vehicle’s existing CAN Bus network.
  • OE Upgrade Immobilisers with Key Guards/Biometrics/Anti-Hijack with Alarm
  • These units cannot obtain approval as primary vehicle security devices, but serves as an upgrade to existing factory-fitted immobilisers.
  • OEU Level KG will be supplementary single circuit cut immobilisation which provides Key Guard protection in the form of Wireless Keypads or Biometric readers.  Therefore the client will either use his/her 4 digit pin or finger print to de-activate the vehicle’s security device.
  • Key Guard AH is an OE Upgrade Immobiliser functioning as a supplementary Anti-Hijack immobiliser system, extra features must include an Alarm.



VESA / ABS Category Descriptions:
  • Category A (Stolen Vehicle Recovery systems)
    Category B (Fleet Management systems)
    Category C (Stolen Vehicle Recovery & Fleet Management systems)
A consumer (Business or individual) is advised to at least confirm the following when making tracking selection:-

•   Can reliable recovery statistics be provided - Is this independently audited by a 3rd party?
•   Are the suppliers vehicle tracking products tested for compliance against accepted international standards?
•   Are the installation methods used safe, tested and in line with the VESA installation standards as far as people and vehicle integrity and security are concerned?
•   Does the unit have the ability to do a health check, where the consumer is notified the moment the system no longer is operational?
•   If the consumer phones the tracking company, can he with the right authorization, request and obtain the position of the vehicle, or alternatively can the consumer do it himself?

VESA verifies and audits the above, ensuring that the consumer can be assured of a quality and reliable service.  The consumer will not know these answers unless independent proof is provided. 

VESA Members Recovery Performance:

The cumulative Recovery Rate measured on an on-going basis will ultimately prove to be the “acid” test with regards to determining the effectiveness of a particular product and its service.

A Recovery Rate Calculator has been devised whereby the various VESA members that has systems classified in Telematics Category A and Telematics Category C are required to submit monthly recovery statistics which are checked and evaluated to produce a Recovery Rate.  This rate is disseminated to the market place and in particular the insurance industry as an indication of the effectiveness of the service being rendered.



VESA Approved Gear locks (ABS) provides a cost-effective high security solution against vehicle theft. Gearlocks are commonly fitted to a wide range of vehicles and are very popular with the pre-owned and the un-insured market.  They therefore present a good opportunity for insurance companies to tap the currently un-insured market.

ABS / VESA Categories
  • Class A – Auto-arming gearlocks
  • Class B – High Risk Vehicle Specific Gearlock Kit
  • Class C – Standard Gearlock
  • Benefits of Gearlocks


Attack Time: 

It remains time consuming to remove or override a gearlock.  “Urban legends” of sprays, liquid nitrogen, etc. are a myth. Therefore Gearlocks provide theft delays.

Traceability of products:

A Gearlock can be traced to date of manufacture as well as to 1st “tier” of distribution by Key Card, i.e. a client produces proof of installation to his insurer by submitting his keys and key card, claiming the installation was done on a certain date.  The authenticity of this date can be traced to ensure if the lock existed at this time.

Warranty of Vehicle:

The vehicle electronics are not being tapped, so Motor Manufacturers have less resistance to the installation of Gearlocks as the warranty of the vehicle is not jeopardized.

Visual Deterrent:

As Gearlocks are visible, a perpetrator would rather attempt to steal a vehicle without a Gearlock installed, than one with a Gearlock.



Towards Positively identifying a vehicle or other asset using specialised equipment, regulation 56 was published by the Department of Transport in September 2012 which was based on the VESA & SABS national standard SANS 534 making it compulsory for all new vehicles and all vehicles requiring a Request for Police Clearance to have microdots fitted.  Over 2 million vehicles have been fitted with microdots to date and the benefits to the customer, insurance industry and the automotive industry, from recovery through the successful identification of the stolen vehicles can be seen and has been measured. 

Microdots is now a recognised, implemented and widely used product to protect individuals and business valuables from theft and with over 60 000 vehicles per month being fitted with microdot  technology the RSA car park is looking more secure.



  • The short-term insurance industry (including underwriters, brokers, agents etc.) are being informed by VESA that for all purposes affecting any vehicle safety and security products and systems and/or the installation thereof, the term “VESA Approved” shall mean compliance with all of the following three requirements:
    • A product which is approved by the Accreditation Bureau for Security & Safety (ABS);
    • An installation by a member of VESA in accordance with the latest VESA specifications;
    • A certificate prescribed and issued by VESA for the current year.