How to Test Your Car Alarm

Car Alarm Working

An OEM product is something that was put there by the manufacturer. If your car didn’t come with a car alarm, and you put it there yourself, it’s considered an aftermarket item. No matter what type of alarm you have on your car, you should test it regularly to make sure it’s still working.

A car alarm can protect your car from hot-wiring, theft and break-ins. If it isn’t working as it should, it won’t protect you from any of those things.

If you suspect your car alarm isn’t working, ​here are several ways to test it:

Rule Out Other Problems

First, you need to make sure that your malfunctioning car alarm isn’t a result of some other problem. Most car alarms rely on power from the battery. If your car alarm is connected to your car battery, and your car battery is dead, your alarm won’t work either.

If you can’t start your car, it’s possible that the battery is dead. Jumpstart your car first, make sure it starts, and then test your car alarm. If your car battery is not dead, and your car alarm still doesn’t work, skip this step and go straight into testing your car alarm.

Testing the Alarm

If you have a keyless remote, get inside the car, shut the door, and then lock it using the keyless remote. Try to open the door from inside the vehicle. At this point, the car alarm should go off, so if it doesn’t, it may not be working.

Older Vehicles

Older vehicles may not have keyless remotes, in which case you may need the help of a second person. One person should enter the vehicle while the other person locks it from the outside. The person inside the car can then attempt to get out. The alarm should go off if working properly.

Newer Vehicles

Some newer keyless remotes have sensors in them that prevent you from locking your keys in your car. When you enter the vehicle and try to lock it with the keyless remote, it may not work because your vehicle can sense that the keys are inside. In this case, you need the help of a second person to follow the same steps above with one person on the inside and the other on the outside with the keys.

Movement or Vibration

With some car alarms, causing movement or vibration to the vehicle while it’s stationary and locked will cause the alarm to go off. In cases like this, you can test your car alarm by locking it and then jostling it a bit to see if the alarm goes off. This isn’t as foolproof because if you’re not strong enough, you may not be able to move it enough to cause the alarm to trigger.

Your Fob

Some car alarms are connected to your fob. If that’s the case, when you lock your car, your alarm should chirp, indicating it’s armed. If it doesn’t chirp, it’s not armed.

These types of alarms have indicator lights. Activating your alarm with the fob will cause the LED to flash. If it flashes too slowly or too quickly (depending on the brand), there may be a short in the system.

You can reset the alarm sensor switch by opening the top of the alarm case and finding the switch. Hold the switch down for about 60 seconds and then release it. Your alarm should go off to indicate it’s working again.

If none of this works or you can’t seem to figure out whether your alarm is working or not, consult the user’s manual for further instructions.

  • Updated November 9, 2019
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