The Car Alarm – Everything You Need To Know [Ultimate Guide]

A car alarm is a security device that alerts car owners and people of car theft or car intrusion. About six cars are stolen every 4 minutes in the USA alone. With the high rate of car theft worldwide, car alarms are a necessity. Car alarms come with different types of sensors that prevent theft and vandalism. This article contains all you need to know about car alarms.

Are car alarms effective?

Most of the time, car alarms go off for no particular reason. Because of the high frequency of unwarranted alarms, people have become complacent with them. Some criminals take advantage of this problem.

Car alarms have evolved rapidly; modern car alarms now have better methods of alerting car owners to the presence of an intrusion. You will be amazed at how they work and their effectiveness.

The car alarm kill switch shuts down the ignition of the car when a breach has been detected. Some alarms also have a car battery kill switch or cut off the fuel pump to ensure your car stays put. 

New systems also silently inform you about your car’s status. There are car alarms that can notify you by phone. If someone damages or tries to break into your vehicle, the system will notify you through a car alarm app. This feature, combined with an intelligent car alarm system, gives comprehensive protection from theft.

Some costlier car alarms come with GPS tracking. However, this doesn’t guarantee that your car won’t be stolen. It will help track your vehicle in the case of grand theft auto.

You should not take the law into your hands. If your car has been stolen, you should report to the police first and work with them to recover it.

How do car alarms work?

 Car alarms come with some key features that work together always to keep your car safe. These sensors are placed in different parts of the vehicle, and they monitor and detect several parameters. These parts include:

car alarm siren

The siren: The siren is the most noticed part of the car. The siren produces a deafening and piercing sound. The loudness of sirens can reach up to 125 decibels. This is louder than a fighter jet taking off. It is also five decibels below the pain threshold for humans. This is more than enough to notify people and deter criminals. The sound from the siren is often accompanied by flashing lights and the car alarm horn.

Some sirens let you use a variety of alarms. Some of these car alarms can talk. They let you use a recorded message as an alarm. 

The sensors: Car alarms use a plethora of sensors. 

The door sensor is a standard sensor on all car alarms. It is triggered when someone tries to open the doors, trunk, or the hood of a locked car. It consists of a spring-activated lever or button in the lock of the door or hood.

car alarm components

Two sensors are triggered when the car window or windshield is shattered. There are the microphone and the pressure sensors. When glass breaks, it produces sound with a unique frequency. The microphone picks up this sound and sends the information to the brain.

The pressure sensor operates by monitoring the fluctuations in air pressure. It is similar to a speaker but works in reverse. Many car alarms use the car’s speakers for monitoring pressure change. When the glass is broken, the air pressure in the vehicle changes rapidly, and the pressure sensor picks it up.

The shock sensor is responsible for detecting the impact made on the car. Some smart car alarm systems can measure how much impact was made and determine it is enough to trigger the alarm.

Motion sensors use radar technology to determine if anyone is close to your car. They work like a car alarm camera. This is useful for deterring thieves that might want to cart away with your car parts. 

The tilt sensor has finely calibrated components that recognize when your car is at an angle and moving. This sensor can notify your pager if your vehicle is being towed away by desperate delinquents.

car alarm computer control unit

Computer control unit: the computer control unit is the brain of the car alarm. It processes signals from the sensors and from your key fob and decides whether to let all hell loose.

The transmitter: The transmitter is the key fob. It sends signals in the form of radio waves to the car alarm. Many car alarms can only receive signals from the key fob. Modern car alarm systems now have two-way communication. This means the car alarm can exchange information. The car alarm can notify you about the car’s conditions, and you receive it on your pager. 

car alarm grabber
Some thieves use creative methods of getting in your car. One of these is to use a radio grabber to clone the signal from your transmitter. They then use this cloned signal to unlock your vehicle and driver away with it.

Top-quality car alarms can now encrypt radio signals and prevent cloning.

What is the best car alarm system?

There is no definite answer to this question. Car owners find different car alarm systems to be well-tailored for them. Car alarms come with a variety of functions. Some users may find some of these extra functions to be unnecessary. 

what car alarm system is the best

Where you live, and your route or lifestyle may determine if you need these added features. There are different car alarm brands that offer highly sophisticated car alarm systems like Avital, Viper, Pyle, Python, and many others. These brands are reputable ones, and you may need to do a little research before you buy one that suits you.

In a bid to find a sound car alarm, you should not compromise on quality. Some brands may boast of incredible features at a low price. Look for the critical features you need in a car alarm before you buy one. You should be sure that these claims are valid before you purchase your car alarm.

Do car alarms drain battery?

The amount of power drawn from your battery depends on the type of car alarm you get. Most car alarms turn on while the car is locked. They slowly draw power from your car. If you have an old battery, the alarm system will drain it much faster. This is because older batteries cannot retain a charge as efficiently as new ones.

car alarms drain the battery

Wrong installation will also drain your battery faster than it should. If you have problems installing your car alarm, let a professional handle it.

Some aftermarket car alarms come with their independent batteries that let the alarm work without the battery. A short circuit can also affect the battery health. An exposed wire in contact with metal in your car will deplete the battery faster.

Yes, car alarms drain batteries, but only at a low rate if installed correctly. If you are concerned with your battery, you can get an ignition-kill car alarm.

How many watts does a car alarm use?

The car alarm only draws a little power from the car. If you leave your car unused for a long time, it will drain your battery. If you have a vehicle that has been parked for a long time, you should make sure that the battery is in top shape. 

Car alarms draw more power from the car battery when they are triggered. The lights and the sirens draw the most power from your vehicle.

On average, the car alarm system will draw about 35mA from the battery.

If the lights and the sirens are on, the number can go up to 50 mA. An average battery can deliver 576Whr of power. With a 12 volt battery, this will draw about 420mW-600mW, which is 0.42-0.6W. At this rate, it will take at least 40 days to drain the battery completely. 

This number will be larger if you have a quality battery.

How often do car alarms go off?

Car alarms go off as often as they are triggered. Having a car alarm that goes off at the slightest touch can be annoying. You may be a source of nuisance in your neighbourhood if your car gives a false alarm every time. The frequency also depends on car alarm sensitivity. If your vehicle is fitted with a car alarm motion sensor, a mere squirrel would be able to trigger the alarm.

Why does my car alarm keep on beeping?

car alarm noise

A car alarm that won’t stop beeping more annoying than one that goes off undisturbed once in a while. Several things can cause your car alarm to constantly nag.

These are the reasons your car alarm keeps going off

Key fob: This small plastic device can that controls your ignition and alarm system can betray you. A malfunctioning key fob can make your car alarm beep till it runs your battery dead.

Faulty sensors: If the sensors in your car are faulty, they can trigger the alarm. A poor connection from the sensor to the brain of the alarm system will make it beep incessantly. Likewise, having a dirty hood latch sensor or a dirty door sensor will cause the alarm to think the car is in ‘danger.’

Weak/bad battery: Some car alarm systems measure the voltage in your car. A drastic change in the voltage in your car will trigger the alarm. A low battery will make it seem like the battery has been disconnected from the car. 

An old battery can also cause a mess with the electrical system and cause a nuisance. You should monitor your battery regularly to ensure it doesn’t go below the rated 12.6v

Rusty battery terminals can act as insulation and not allow current to flow correctly in the car. This will fool the car alarm system and trigger it.

Who installs car alarms?

Car alarm installations are best done by professionals. You can find a mechanic or a car alarm installer near you that will install the system in no time. If you want to do it all by yourself, it will require time and patience. You should know that this process can be technical, especially to those who have little knowledge of car systems.

How to disable a car alarm?

There are simple ways to disable a car alarm.

  1. You need to be familiar with the alarm system.
  2. You have to read the manual to know if there is a specific way to shut it down if it malfunctions.
  3. Of course, this should be done long before the car alarm starts to malfunction.

The obvious thing to do is to use the car alarm key to deactivate it. If this doesn’t work, you should open the doors with your key. If the door is opened, lock it. This should stop the alarm.  

If none of these things works, what you should do is to start the car. The alarm should shut off and reset after you start it.

Due to some unforeseen factors, like a malfunctioning key fob, the car alarm will not be disabled with a simple press of a button. These are the following steps to take when you need to disable a car alarm manually.

You will need a pair of pliers or any other appropriate tool for this. You need to find the car alarm fuse location. Some cars come with more than one fuse box. 

car alarm disable

Finding the right fuse can be a hit or miss if you do not know the right plug. Most alarm fuses have a symbol to identify them. If yours doesn’t come with a sign, you may need to unplug and plug multiple fuses before your car alarm shuts off. 

The last thing to try is to disconnect the battery. This will reset the electrical systems in your car. Disconnect one of the terminals. Wait for a few minutes to plug it back. 

If the car alarm continues to wail after trying these steps, you should contact a mechanical or your car alarm installer. It would be best if you left the battery unplugged so that it won’t drain the battery farther.

Does a car alarm turn off by itself?

Yes, car alarms turn off by themselves. If the car alarm is constantly triggered, it will continuously ring out.

When does a car alarm stop?

If your car alarm is not faulty, it will stop on its own after a while. The time it takes for the alarm to turn off depends on its settings. Some alarms will go on for only a few minutes while some may continue till they are shut off.

How to report a car alarm?

An alarm notifies people when a car is in jeopardy. If you suspect that a vehicle might be stolen, you should call the police. More often than none, it might be a false alarm. Having a car alarm ring constantly will cause a nuisance. If there is a car that has been going off for too long, you should call your local police or your council authority.


Car alarms have been around for quite some time. Although people doubt their usefulness, new technologies have proven that they are still helpful in deterring criminals. These car alarm systems have smart sensors that work intelligently to prevent car theft and intrusions. Losing a valuable investment like a car can have devastating effects, you should protect it.

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