Car Alarm Buying Guide
Chances are if you own a car, you want to protect it. Most newer cars come with factory car alarms built-in, but if you drive an older car (or any car) without a car alarm, there’s nothing to really stop would-be thieves from breaking in and driving away (or just stealing your stereo/valuables). And while a car alarm can’t guarantee your car won’t be broken into, it is an incredibly effective deterrent. For an added benefit of adding a car alarm to your vehicle, many insurance companies actually offer lower rates on vehicles that have an alarm installed.
Why Add an Aftermarket Car Alarm?
In addition to making your car safer, an alarm can also make it much easier to use. Alarm remotes are often able to lock and unlock your car doors, open your trunk and even start your car before you get in. Some systems even eliminate the additional remote entirely and integrate with your smartphone. With all of this in mind, adding a car alarm system to your vehicle shouldn’t be an ‘if’, it should only be a matter of when.
Car Alarm Features:
For most people, the idea of a car alarm is simply that, an alarm that is there solely to thwart would-be thieves. However, there is much more to your typical car alarm system besides the obvious (the intentionally obnoxious blaring siren anytime something bumps your car). Adding a car alarm to your vehicle can also make your life much simpler. Most car alarms include convenience features like panic mode, which allows you to set off the alarm from your remote, a trunk release function as well as valet mode, which lets you lower the system sensitivity when a valet is parking your car.
The first step in deciding what kind of car alarm to purchase should be whether or not you want a system that will integrate with your smartphone. If your keychain is already pretty full, or maybe you want to keep it clutter-free, a smartphone integrated system might be the way to go. These systems eliminate the need for that keychain pager and allow you to control your system directly from your phone with a free downloadable app from the manufacturer. These systems are also not limited by the range of a traditional pager, as long as your phone has a signal, you’ll be able to control your alarm from anywhere. Most smartphone compatible systems will work with iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices.
Adding remote start to your vehicle is ideal for anyone living in an area with freezing winters or sweltering summers. The remote start function allows you to start your car with your alarm pager without being in the drivers’ seat. Most car alarm pagers have ranges of at least 500 feet and can reach up to a mile while smartphone integrated systems are often only limited by whether you have reception or not. With a remote start system, you will never have to get into your frozen car in the doldrums of winter or get into a 150 degree car in the summer.
Remote start systems either come built in to a security system or can be added on to an alarm with a remote start module. Most newer vehicles (any car with a ‘chipped’ key) also require animmobilizer bypass to be installed. The immobilizer bypass essentially tricks the vehicle into thinking that the key is in the ignition, allowing you to remote start the car. Select remote start systems work with both automatic and manual transmissions.
Some remote start systems also include a feature called Turbo Timer. A turbo timer allows your engine to run for a predefined amount of time after you park. This is an ideal feature for turbo charged vehicles as it prevents the hot oil in your engine from choking up the lines in your engine. Proper engine cool down is an essential piece of keeping your engine and turbo healthy.
Keyless entry allows you to lock and unlock your car doors (assuming your vehicle is equipped with power doors) as well as your trunk with the push of a button. Keyless entry is a great feature to have if you often have your hands full when you are heading to your car as it eliminates the need to use your car key to manually unlock your vehicle.
2-Way Paging provides you with a great way to monitor your vehicle without actually being near it. As long as you are within the range of your pager, you will receive an alert (typically either vibration, audible or visual) when your alarm is triggered. Your pager will also provide responses to commands you send.
Shock Sensors, Motion Detectors and Tilt Sensors:
A standard feature on many car alarms, a shock sensor is designed to trigger the alarm on light or heavy impacts and vibrations. Basically, if anyone hits, bumps or moves your car in any way, the system will know that it is happening and how intense the movements are. Depending on how strong these shocks are, the system will send out a warning or the full on alarm to deter would-be thieves. The most effective protection against shock/impact is a dual zone shock sensor. A dual zone shock sensor utilizes electromagnetic technology to eliminate mechanical parts and provides 2 outputs, the first of which offers a Warn Away response on light impact and the second instantly triggers the alarm on a hard impact.
Motion detectors do just what their name implies: they detect any motion around your vehicle. Motion detectors are an ideal add-on to convertibles, open jeeps and any other vehicle that isn’t completely enclosed. The most common motion detectors are more or less basic radar systems that send out radio signals to detect movement in the immediate vicinity.
Tilt sensors detect when someone attempts to put your car up on a jack or hook it up to a tow truck. When a tilt sensor detects your car being lifted up on an angle, it sends a signal and your alarm will sound.
Installing a car security system can be a very complex project and it is generally recommended that you seek out a professional installer to ensure the system is integrated properly into your vehicle. It is also important to note that any security system won’t necessarily work with any vehicle, if you have any questions before purchasing our helpful sales and technical support professionals are available 7 days a week.