How to Choose a Car Alarm


Authored by Geoff Vaughan in Automotive 
Published on 04-12-2009

It can be confusing to choose a car alarm with all of the products that are out on the market. The days of an alarm just loudly beeping, only to annoy passersby and neighbors are gone. You can find alarms that mix several security features and also contain tracking devices. The big question that you have to ask yourself is what type of protection you are looking for in an alarm.

The standard alarms that have loud beeping are known as deterrents. The purpose of these is to draw attention to the vehicle during a break-in, so that the thief runs away from the automobile without taking anything. Unfortunately, so many people have these installed in their cars that most people just ignore these car alarms. These alarms are usually the most basic, and will trigger if any impact occurs on the vehicle or if a door is opened. However, some of these alarms are too sensitive, and will go off if a loud sound in the area occurs. This can lead to you no longer trusting if someone really is breaking into your car or if the wind just blew too hard and set off the alarm.

A negative about the sound-only device is that you may not be able to hear the alarm. One feature in car alarms that you may want to look for if you are not always close to your vehicle is to also get a paging device that will go off to notify you if your car alarm is triggered. The more that you want to protect your vehicle and what you store inside of it, the more sensors you should get in the vehicle alarm.

The most popular addition to alarms is a radar sensor. These are often called “motion sensors”. They work by sending out a field that can cover the entire vehicle to include the immediate outside. This device can detect if someone gets too close to the vehicle. A series of sounds will start to deter someone from coming close to the vehicle, and if the vehicle is broken into, the full alarm will sound. The negative of this device is that it is the most sensitive, and is prone to many false alarms.

One alarm feature that is very useful as a deterrent is a Piezo Siren. These produce such a loud noise they actually cause the person who breaks into your vehicle excruciating pain. People will run away from the vehicle just to avoid how much it hurts their eardrums.

Another equally useful feature in very expensive cars is a back-up battery. This is helpful if you are more concerned about someone going through the effort to cut battery cables in order to take your car. If you are only concerned about someone stealing items in your automobile, and not the vehicle itself, the back-up battery isn’t necessary. In this case, you may also want to consider combining a vehicle tracking device, such as LowJack, so that if someone still steals your vehicle, you can locate it and possibly even the thief.

For car alarms, the name brand does matter. The better known car alarm brands that are more expensive really are better quality. Many alarm installers state that it almost isn’t worth the effort to put unknown, cheaper brands in a vehicle because they are not reliable. Whichever brand you choose, make sure that the alarm meets your security needs.


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