5 Types of Car Alarms

According to the Insurance Information Institute, a car is stolen every 24 seconds in the United States. Vehicle security has come a long way in the past few years, but many car thieves are upgrading their technology as well. In order to understand how to protect your car from thieves, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the different types of car alarm systems, and how they operate to protect your vehicle from theft.

Passive Car Alarms
A passive car alarm system is simply an alarm that doesn’t need to be manually armed when you leave your vehicle. Instead, the alarm is automatically activated when you turn off and lock your vehicle. Some of these systems have a special key equipped with a microchip, which disables the alarm when it is inserted into the car’s lock. This is usually the type of alarm system that is included in newer model vehicles. In some vehicles, a passive car alarm system will also include other security features (such as disabling the ignition, or locking the wheels).

Active Car Alarms
An “active” car alarm is a system that requires you to manually arm it when you lock or leave your vehicle. If the system is not armed, it will not activate if a car thief attempts to break in to your vehicle. These manually activated alarms do have a few advantages over passive car alarms, especially for people who want to have more control over the operation of their vehicle’s security features.

Factory Alarms
When someone refers to a car alarm as being a “factory” alarm, this simply means that the alarm system was installed before the car was distributed for sale. In most cases, these types of alarms are installed while the car is still being constructed. Though it’s not accurate to say that all factory car alarms are inferior (especially due to advancements in car security), some people still opt to uninstall the factory car alarm, and install a custom security system. Depending on what level of security you want for your vehicle, you can always ask about customizable security options when purchasing a new vehicle. In most cases, you can modify or switch the security system installed in a car directly through a car dealership, before receiving your vehicle.

After-Market Alarms
After-Market alarms are security alarms that are not installed by the manufacturing company of a specific vehicle. They may either be installed by the buyer of the vehicle, or (in rare cases) by the car dealership. Some people choose to install after-market car security systems in order to have more control over the operation of their vehicle’s security. Customized car alarms can range in price from around $75, to upwards of $2,000 for vehicles that require heavy security.

Silent Car Alarms
Due to some car owners complaining about the excessive noise from their car’s alarm system, silent car alarms are now available. Instead of emitting an audible alarm or siren, silent ones transmit an electronic signal to a device held by the owner of the vehicle. Though this does eliminate the sound problem, it also does not have as many advantages as audible alarm systems. Silent alarms will not scare off potentail car thieves, and won’t alert nearby bystanders that  car’s security is being breached. Because of this, silent car alarms are not very popular among car owners.