What to know about car alarms?

Anna Koryczan
2 May 2017
What to know about car alarms?

One of the most effective tools to protect a vehicle from theft is a car alarm that works as a deterrent to potential amateur thieves. They can also discourage professionals, whose self-confidence is often their own undoing.

According to police data, cars of German and Japanese brands are particularly popular among thieves. Probably it is because the amateurs of someone else’s property learned to circumvent factory security systems of these cars.  It is therefore worth investing in a non-factory car alarm. In addition, you may want to invest in a GPS / GSM or radio based location system to recover your stolen vehicle.

With and without a remote control

The alarms installed today in cars can be divided into two types –anti-theft security with or without a remote control. The first ones use the waves sent by a key. In the second case, pellets are applied at a specific location of a vehicle or a key-based solution is used, which deactivates the alarm when inserted into the ignition or lock. This type of security can be installed on all older car models.

CAN bus

The situation becomes more complicated when we want to install anti-theft devices in a newer car. Most new vehicles manage systems based on a serial CAN bus, which digitally controls all devices on board. The central lock is opened and closed with the use of a factory remote control that can interfere with the additional remote control from a car alarm. For this type of cars it is usually necessary to install a special alarm device without a remote control, cooperating with the CAN bus.

The most effective car alarms are controlled by a dynamically changing code. Each time an alarm is triggered, a transmitter located for example in a key sends a unique code. This is important in the case of thieves who use devices scanning the alarm code and then emit the same pattern to disarm a car. In this case, this method simply will not work. When choosing an alarm let’s see if it has the approval of a recognised certification body, e.g. PIMOT or the Central Criminal Police Laboratory.

Should we choose factory solutions?

In many cases, when buying a new vehicle, car dealers encourage customers to install a factory car alarm. Many times, they even force it on a client, threatening to lose the factory warranty. It should be noted that, first of all, it is illegal, and secondly, security specialists claim that choosing a factory protection is often a mistake. Anti-theft devices are usually installed in the same place on a vehicle and use the same technology, which automatically makes it easier to steal a car.

There are also devices on the market that cannot be described as car alarms – their task is to delay a vehicle theft. These are, for example, maintenance – free engine start-up that works with, for example, a chip card. The device detects that a card is approaching a car and deactivates the lock (like the keyless system in new cars).

Theft notification 

Car alarm manufacturers also seek to enrich their products with the ability to inform a vehicle owner about theft attempt. Wailing sirens and flashing lights are not a very effective method of signalling when a car is located, for example, in a shopping centre car park. The car alarm modules are therefore enriched with radio and GSM notifications.

There is no one hundred percent effective anti-theft system. Thieves are able to deal with all security issues. Sometimes the only possibility is not to prevent theft, but to recover cars when they are stolen. In this process, radio systems that are impossible to be detected by thieves turn out to be extremely helpful, as they are activated only after a vehicle has been reported to disappear. Such systems make it possible to find 98 percent of vehicles within the first 24 hours of theft.

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