Best Car Alarm System Buying Guide: What Can It Do For You?

When you search “car alarm system” on Amazon.com, there are over 10,000 results. Where do you start? You could spend weeks reading detailed information about car alarm systems. We have assembled information about some car alarm systems that are available today to help you save time and money, and help you avoid a mistake when you buy. The best car alarm for you will depend on your budget, your vehicle and the features that are important to you.

  • Every 33 seconds, a vehicle is stolen in the United States
  • $6.4 billion dollars in vehicle value are lost each year in the U.S.
  • Approximately half of these cases are caused by driver error, such as open windows, visible valuables or private information left in view
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These statistics should concern you. Protecting your vehicle and your valuables is critical. You need a car alarm with the proper functionality.

What Will a Car Alarm Do for You?

A car alarm should help secure your vehicle and your property. It can do the following:

  • Prevent car burglaries and vandalism
  • Prevent your car from being stolen
  • Protect the contents of your car
  • Provide protection in an emergency
  • Give you peace of mind

What You Need in a Car Alarm System

Secure your car and property with a car alarm system that provides protection and additional features. Identify features that are important to you, and this will enable you to buy the best car alarm system for YOU. The following is a discussion of various features in car alarm systems:

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One-Way Alarm System: This system sends commands one way, from the car alarm remote to the car.

Two-Way Alarm System: A two-way system permits commands to be sent to the car using the remote, and the car also transmits information back to the remote. Its response may be delivered by a readout on an LCD screen or a flashing LED light on the remote. A high-end version sends notifications from your car alarm to your smartphone.

Sensors: Car thieves can be extremely skilled at their crimes. The old days of breaking in through the driver’s door are all but gone. To counteract the highly skilled thieves of today, manufacturers have improved car alarm systems by adding complex sensors. These sensors can signal immediately if there is any attempt to break in. Some car security systems are able to detect and alert you to every movement and disturbance that affects your car.

  • Shock Sensor: Most systems have a shock sensor that will trigger an alarm when the car experiences an impact. You can better protect your car by using a dual-stage shock sensor. This type of sensor will generate a light warning if the shock is small or send a full alarm if the shock is significant.
  • Glass Breaking Sensor: A glass breaking sensor should recognize the sound of glass breaking.
  • Motion Detector Sensor: A motion detector functions like radar, sensing all motion near your car.
  • Tilt Sensor: Some car alarm systems now offer tilt sensors that will alert you if your car is being towed or if someone is attempting to jack your car to steal the wheels.
  • Proximity Sensor: This sensor sounds an alarm when people come too close to your car. A proximity sensor can also detect when your two-way alarm remote is nearby. It will automatically disarm the system and unlock the doors for you.
  • Impact Sensor: This feature senses if your car is bumped or hit. It triggers an alarm to scare away intruders.

Starter Kill: With this feature, the click of a button will stop your car’s engine. A starter kill option also blocks hot-wiring by interrupting the ignition circuit.

Door Deadlock: Some features can stop a thief from leaving with your car. A door deadlock will lock the doors of the vehicle if the glass is broken. This will prevent thieves from using the doors to get inside or out.

Dynamic Codes: A dynamic codes feature frequently modifies the alarm system codes, and this makes it difficult for thieves to obtain them.

Biometric Fingerprint Reader: Additional protection is available with a biometric fingerprint reader.

GPS Tracking Device: A GPS tracking device can allow you to track your vehicle if stolen.

Remote Control: Most cars today come with a remote. These remotes are used to arm and disarm the factory-installed alarm system, lock and unlock the vehicle’s doors and release your trunk. Some remotes can integrate the car manufacturer’s functionality with the additional features offered by the car alarm system that you choose.

Smartphone Integration: Some car alarms offer remotes that are able to integrate with a smartphone. You will receive a text message if you have a cell signal at your vehicle’s location and your car alarm sounds. These alarm systems can enable you to see what is happening with your vehicle and operate the system remotely.

Range: If you are beyond the range of your remote, it cannot work. If you feel you will be more secure if you can use your remote from a greater distance, this should be important in the car alarm that you choose. Another benefit is locating your vehicle in large parking lots.

Car Finder Mode: If you cannot locate your car, press this button to chirp the siren and flash the parking lights.

Immobilizing Feature: Some car alarms offer an immobilizing feature. This prevents the car engine from starting whenever the alarm is activated.

Remote Start: Some car alarm remotes can start your car and turn on the air conditioner or heater from a distance.

Power Door Locks: Some car alarm systems allow your vehicle’s power door lock function to be integrated with the car alarm remote. However, if your vehicle isn’t equipped with power door locks, an alarm system will not give them to you.

Trunk Opener: Some car alarm remotes can integrate the trunk release function with the alarm remote.

Passive Arming: This capability automatically arms and locks your car 30 seconds after the last door closes. This prevents the car from being left with the alarm disabled.

Active Arming: This feature requires the driver to press a button to lock the car and arm the alarm system.

Automatic Rearm: When you press the remote button to unlock/disarm your car alarm, but do not open the car’s doors within a preset amount of time, automatic rearm will re-lock the car and arm the alarm system.

Ignition-Controlled Door Locks: When the car alarm senses that the ignition is turned on or off, this feature locks or unlocks your car doors.

Factory Alarm Arm/Disarm: When installing a car alarm in a vehicle that came equipped with a factory alarm, these outputs must be available so there will not be interference between the new car alarm and your car’s factory-installed equipment.

Grounded Output When Armed: This is a car alarm feature that disables starter applications. When the lock or arm button is pressed, the car’s starter is disabled.

Dome Light Output: This is a safety feature in most alarm systems for cars. When the disarm/unlock button is pressed, the car dome light will come on for 30 seconds. When the arm/lock button is pressed, the car dome light will illuminate for 10 seconds. When the car alarm sounds, the car dome light will flash, as will the parking lights.

Parking Light Output: Parking light provide visual deterrents. When the car alarm sounds, the car’s parking lights will flash to scare intruders and to attract attention to a potential violator.

Reputation: The reputation of the manufacturer should be of importance to you. Customer reviews on sites like Amazon.com are an excellent way to research users’ perceptions of the brands that interest you. Viper, Python and Vital are top brand names for car alarm systems. You want good quality, a reliable system and availability of replacement parts. It is best to choose a car alarm system that can be serviced locally.

Top 6 Best Car Alarms

There are many excellent car alarms. We give these systems our highest rating:

Top 6 Best Car Alarm

Directed Avital 1 Way Security System
  • 3-channel security/keyless entry system
  • Bright Red LED Status Indicator
  • Parking Light Flash

The Viper 5706V is rated the best alarm by a number of websites. It has an impressive set of features and uses. It has comprehensive theft-deterrent features as well as many convenience features. It is a high-priced system.

This car alarm provides remote start, and it has a long-range remote. It is also compatible with the SmartStart app from Viper. Plug in the module, and your car alarm will work with your smartphone. You can use your smartphone for complete access to your car from virtually anywhere. You will receive alerts and vehicle notifications wherever you are. GPS tracking and maintenance tracking are additional options.

One of the special features of this alarm system is the ability to start your car remotely. This sophisticated alarm has sensors for the doors, windows, shocks, and engine, and it has the ability to indicate whether an alarm is caused by an open window or door when you're as far away as one mile.

This alarm comes with two transmitters (remotes): a non-LCD remote and an LCD remote with 24 functions. The non-LCD remote will allow you to turn the vehicle on/off, lock/unlock doors and trunk, and control various auxiliary functions.

Viper has an excellent reputation. The company has been in the car alarm business since the early 1980s.

One of the special features of this alarm system is the ability to start your car remotely. This sophisticated alarm has sensors for the doors, windows, shocks, and engine, and it has the ability to indicate whether an alarm is caused by an open window or door when you're as far away as one mile.

This alarm comes with two transmitters (remotes): a non-LCD remote and an LCD remote with 24 functions. The non-LCD remote will allow you to turn the vehicle on/off, lock/unlock doors and trunk, and control various auxiliary functions.

Viper has an excellent reputation. The company has been in the car alarm business since the early 1980s.

Avital 3100LX Security System (W/O Siren)
  • Avital remote start system includes two 4-buttom remotes with up to one and a half mile range
  • Lock, unlock, trunk release, and remote start
  • Keyless entry and AUX functions

The Avital 3100LX is rated as the best value by several websites because it provides effective theft deterrent that is affordable. While it lacks features such as smartphone integration and a remote starter, it does have a warn-away feature, keyless entry, a six-stage alarm, trunk release and a fault-proof starter interrupt.

The starter interrupt is an impressive feature. It makes hotwiring your car impossible. This alarm also has an impact sensor that can tell the difference between significant movement and minor bumps to your car.

This alarm is affordable, and is well equipped as a theft deterrent. The remote has an excellent range of 1,500 feet. However, the remote is only one way.

The Audiovox Prestige APS25E is an excellent alarm system that is affordable. In addition to security protection with a dual-stage shock sensor, the alarm offers keyless entry, remote trunk release, starter disable and parking light flasher.

The remote has a range of 500 feet. It has a two-year warranty.

The CompuSTAR CS700-AS system is a popular entry-level car alarm. It is a one-way alarm that has remote start with a range of 1,000 feet. The alarm has a dual-stage shock sensor and comes with two 4-button remotes.

Crimestopper SP-402 Car Alarm with Remote Start, Keyless Entry and...
  • 2 Sleek 5-button Transmitters With Brushed-aluminum Trim & Titanium Silver Button Finish
  • Up To 2,300ft Range
  • Twin Data Ports To Accommodate Both Fortin & Ads Modules

The Crimestopper SP-402 car alarm is a moderately-priced system. It comes as a one-way system, but an option will convert it to a two-way system. This unit has remote start and engine disable, and also features a smartphone interface port. The two remotes have a 2,300-foot range.

Comparison Table

How We Chose Our Ratings

Honesty and accuracy are important, so we looked at reviews and testimonials from customers as well as product data and information about the manufacturers. Research is conducted so our ratings are carefully considered.

What is the Best Car Alarm for You?

Only you know what the best car alarm will be for you. The best alarm for you will depend on your budget, your vehicle and the features that are important to you. This article has presented the features that are available on car alarms so you can choose between those with the features that you need and want. When you do this, your car alarm will be the best available.

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