Understanding Car Alarms
Before you consider an aftermarket car alarm installation, it’s important to understand the basics of car alarms and their role in vehicle security.
The Importance of Car Alarms
Car alarms serve as a vital line of defence in protecting your vehicles from theft or vandalism. Given the valuable assets and equipment often stored in tradespeople’s vans, an effective vehicle security alarm system is particularly crucial.
With an alarm system in place, any unauthorized attempts to access your vehicle will trigger a loud siren. This not only deters potential thieves but also alerts you or anyone nearby to the attempted theft. In some cases, advanced alarm systems can even send you a notification via a mobile app or a dedicated remote control.
The benefits of a car alarm extend beyond theft prevention. A well-equipped alarm system can also contribute to lowering your insurance premiums. Insurance companies often offer discounts to vehicle owners who have professionally installed alarm systems, recognising the reduced risk of theft.
How Car Alarms Work
The operation of a car alarm is primarily based on sensors. When these sensors detect any unusual activity, such as an attempt to open the door or break the window, they send a signal to the alarm system’s control unit. This control unit then activates the alarm, usually in the form of a loud siren or horn.
There are various types of sensors used in car alarm systems, including:
- Shock sensors – these respond to impacts or movements of the vehicle. They are particularly effective in detecting attempts to break windows or force doors open. You can learn more about these in our article on car alarm shock sensor.
- Door sensors – these trigger the alarm when the vehicle’s doors are opened without disarming the system first.
- Motion sensors – these are designed to detect movement inside or around the vehicle. They are especially useful for convertible cars or vans with easily accessible cargo areas. More on this in our car alarm motion sensor guide.
- Glass break sensors – these react to the specific frequency of glass shattering, triggering the alarm if a window is broken.
- Proximity sensors – these use radar or ultrasonic technology to detect movement near the vehicle. Our car alarm proximity sensor guide provides a detailed review.
When it comes to managing your trades or fleet vehicles’ security, understanding the fundamentals of car alarms can help you make an informed decision about installing an aftermarket car alarm. This knowledge will also enable you to select the right features that will offer the most effective protection for your specific needs.
Aftermarket Car Alarms
When it comes to securing your vehicles, especially if you own a fleet, the choice of a car alarm system is crucial. This is where aftermarket car alarms come into play.
What is an Aftermarket Car Alarm?
An aftermarket car alarm is a device installed after the vehicle has been purchased, offering enhanced security features that are often not available in the standard alarms provided by vehicle manufacturers. These alarms are designed to deter theft and unauthorized access to your vehicle.
An aftermarket car alarm typically includes features such as remote control, shock sensors, motion sensors, proximity sensors, and often a starter kill option. The system may also include additional features like remote start, which you can learn more about in our article on car alarm with remote start.
Why Choose an Aftermarket Car Alarm?
There are several reasons why you might decide to install an aftermarket car alarm:
- Advanced Security Features: Aftermarket alarms often offer a wider range of security features compared to standard alarms. This includes car alarm motion sensors, car alarm shock sensors, and car alarm proximity sensors, among others.
- Customisation: You can choose an alarm system that suits your specific needs, whether you are looking for basic protection or a comprehensive security system.
- Cost-Effective: While the cost can vary depending on the features selected, an aftermarket car alarm can be a cost-effective way of enhancing your vehicle’s security. You can check our article on car alarm installation cost for more information.
- Improved Resale Value: A vehicle equipped with an advanced security system may have a higher resale value, making this a worthwhile investment.
In conclusion, an aftermarket car alarm can provide additional peace of mind by enhancing the security of your vehicle. Whether you are looking for a basic car alarm system or a comprehensive vehicle security alarm, there is a wide range of options available to suit your needs.
When it comes to the installation of an aftermarket car alarm, a thorough understanding of the process is essential. Two key steps will be explored: preparing for the installation and the actual installation.
Preparing for Installation
Before you begin installing your aftermarket car alarm, it’s critical to take some time to prepare. Here are some steps to follow:
- Choose the Right Alarm: Not all aftermarket car alarms are created equal, and you’ll need to consider your needs before choosing one. For example, if you want an alarm that will alert you if someone tries to tow your vehicle, you might want to look at a car alarm with a motion sensor. Alternatively, if you’re concerned about attempts to hotwire your vehicle, an anti-theft alarm for cars may be a good fit.
- Gather Your Tools: You will need a range of tools to install your car alarm, including wire strippers, a soldering iron, a test light, and an electric drill. Make sure you have all of these handy before you start.
- Understand the Costs: Installing a car alarm can come with some costs, particularly if you opt to have a professional do it. For a detailed breakdown of the potential expenses, refer to our article on car alarm installation costs.
Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Your Aftermarket Car Alarm
- Disconnect the Battery: Safety first. Always disconnect the negative terminal of your vehicle’s battery before beginning any electrical work.
- Mount the Alarm: Choose a location for the alarm that is not easily visible or accessible from outside the vehicle. Many people choose to place it under the dashboard.
- Install the Siren: The siren should be placed in a location where it can be easily heard, but not easily accessed or disabled. The engine compartment is a common choice. Run the siren’s wire through the firewall to the alarm.
- Connect the Power Supply: Connect the power supply wire to the positive terminal of your vehicle’s battery.
- Install the Shock Sensor: The car alarm shock sensor detects impacts to the vehicle. It should be mounted in a central location, such as the steering column.
- Install Additional Sensors: If your alarm system includes additional features, such as a car alarm proximity sensor, install these now.
- Connect the Wires: Use a wiring diagram to connect the alarm’s wires to the corresponding wires in your vehicle. Solder these connections for a secure fit.
- Test the Alarm: Before you put away your tools, test the alarm to make sure it works properly. If it doesn’t, double-check your wiring connections.
Remember, installing an aftermarket car alarm can be a complex process. If you’re unsure, consider seeking the help of a professional. For more information on car alarm installation, check out our in-depth guide.
Key Features to Look for in an Aftermarket Car Alarm
Investing in an aftermarket car alarm is a smart move to increase your vehicle’s security level. The market offers a wide range of options with different features. Here, we’ll discuss the key features you should look for when choosing an aftermarket car alarm.
Range of Control
The range of control refers to the distance within which your car alarm’s remote control operates effectively. A wider range allows you to arm or disarm your car alarm from a greater distance, adding convenience to your vehicle’s security. Remember to consider the environments where you’ll be using the car alarm. If you usually park your vehicle far from your workplace or home, considering an aftermarket car alarm with a longer range of control might be beneficial.
Two-way paging is a feature that lets your car alarm communicate back to you. When your car alarm is triggered, a signal will be sent to the remote control, alerting you of the situation. This feature can be especially useful if you park your vehicle out of sight or in a crowded parking lot where you might not hear the alarm sound. For more information about this feature, visit our article on car alarm with remote start.
The starter kill is an anti-theft feature that prevents the car from being started when the alarm is armed, even if someone manages to get inside your vehicle. This feature is an excellent addition to any aftermarket car alarm as it provides an extra layer of security against vehicle theft. To learn more about anti-theft measures for vehicles, read our article on anti-theft alarm for cars.
Shock sensors can detect impacts or sudden movements of your vehicle, triggering the alarm when detected. This feature can be helpful in preventing theft and vandalism, as it will alert you if someone tries to break into your vehicle or if your vehicle is hit while parked. Depending on the model, some shock sensors can be adjusted to be more or less sensitive to impacts. You can learn more about this feature in our article on car alarm shock sensor.
When choosing an aftermarket car alarm for your vehicle, consider these key features to ensure you get the maximum security and convenience for your needs. Remember, a high-quality car alarm is an investment in your vehicle’s security and your peace of mind.
Tips for Maintaining Your Aftermarket Car Alarm
Now that your aftermarket car alarm is installed, you might be wondering how to keep it functioning optimally. Much like any other vehicle component, your alarm system requires regular maintenance to ensure its longevity and effectiveness. Here are three essential tips to help you maintain your aftermarket car alarm.
Frequent testing is crucial to ensuring that your car alarm is in working order. You should test all functions of your alarm system regularly, including the shock sensor, proximity sensor, and remote control. If you’ve opted for a car alarm with a remote start, remember to test this feature as well.
To test your alarm system, activate it and then try to open your car’s doors or boot. The alarm should sound immediately. If it doesn’t, or if you notice any delay, this could indicate an issue that needs to be addressed.
The battery is one of the most vital components of your car alarm system. A weak or dead battery can render your alarm system useless, leaving your vehicle vulnerable to theft. Thus, it’s important to check the battery regularly and replace it as necessary.
Most aftermarket car alarms use a 12-volt battery, which typically lasts for about two to three years. However, the lifespan can vary depending on factors such as the quality of the battery and how often the alarm system is used.
If you notice that your alarm system is not performing as it should, the battery is one of the first things you should check. An underperforming battery can often cause false alarms or prevent the alarm from sounding when it should.
Professional Servicing Recommendations
While regular testing and battery checks can go a long way in maintaining your aftermarket car alarm, it’s also advisable to have your system professionally serviced from time to time. A professional can thoroughly inspect your alarm system, identify any potential issues, and make necessary adjustments or repairs.
The frequency of professional servicing will depend on various factors, including the type of alarm system you have and how often you use your vehicle. As a general guideline, consider having your system checked by a professional at least once a year.
For more detailed information on maintaining your vehicle security alarm, head over to our blog. Remember, the better you maintain your alarm system, the more effectively it can protect your vehicle.
Troubleshooting Common Aftermarket Car Alarm Issues
While an aftermarket car alarm can be a valuable addition to your vehicle’s security, you might encounter some issues from time to time. Here, we discuss common problems you might face and how to troubleshoot them.
A frequent problem with car alarms, aftermarket or otherwise, is the occurrence of false alarms. If your car alarm is going off without any apparent reason, there are a few things you can check.
Firstly, assess the sensitivity settings of your alarm. If it’s set too high, even a gust of wind or a passing lorry could set it off. Adjust the sensitivity levels to a more suitable setting.
Also, consider the condition of your vehicle. A loose bonnet, for example, may trigger the alarm. Inspect your vehicle thoroughly and fix any loose parts.
If your alarm continues to trigger falsely, consult a professional as there could be a deeper issue with the car alarm system wiring or sensors.
Alarm Does Not Sound
If your aftermarket car alarm doesn’t sound when it should, it’s time to do some troubleshooting.
Firstly, check the alarm’s power supply. Ensure the battery is not dead or weak and the alarm’s wiring is intact and well connected.
Secondly, inspect the alarm’s sensors. If they are dirty or blocked, they may not trigger the alarm when needed. Clean the sensors and clear any obstructions.
Finally, the issue could be with the alarm’s siren. If it’s damaged, it may need to be replaced. We recommend professional assistance for this task to avoid any potential damage to your vehicle’s electrical system.
Remote Control Issues
The remote control is an integral part of your aftermarket car alarm. If you’re facing issues with it, start by replacing the battery. If the problem persists, the issue could be with the remote itself or the alarm’s receiver.
Ensure the remote has not been damaged and is in good working condition. Also, confirm that the receiver is not obstructed and is capable of receiving signals.
If your remote continues to malfunction, it’s best to seek professional help. Refer to our car alarm installation guide for more details.
Remember, troubleshooting your aftermarket car alarm issues ensures the longevity and effectiveness of your vehicle security system. Regular maintenance and checks are essential to keep your alarm in optimal condition. If you’re unsure at any point, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice.