How to install a car alarm

Whether you've just purchased a used vehicle without an alarm or you've simply opted for the added security, installing an alarm system in your car is never a bad idea. There are a number of practical benefits, and in some areas the addition of an alarm system can lower the cost of car insurance.

A car alarm is a fantastic defense against auto theft, and there are a number of alarms that anyone can easily install in their own car. Although the process is not as simple as changing your oil, the installation is surprisingly easy if you follow the instructions below carefully and check along the way.

Part 1 of 4: Pick an aftermarket alarm

There are varying degrees of complexity with car alarm systems. Basic systems can detect when a door is ajar or when an automatic lock is open. Complex systems have remote controls that can warn you if your car is being tampered with, and can detect if the car is being bumped. Try to find an alarm specifically designed for your vehicle to help with the installation process.

Step 1: Look for a factory alert. Check to see if a factory alarm system is available for your specific car model. Most manufacturers offer an alarm as an option, and in some cases, installing a factory unit can be incredibly easy. Some devices may require computer reprogramming from the dealer to activate them.

Step 2: Decide what you need from an alarm system. It is important that you have an idea of what you want from your alarm system and search based on these settings. If you just want a simple system, you can set up with little cost to you. If you want a remote control that alerts you when your alarm is triggered and the ability to remotely start or stop your engine, you can spend much more on an advanced system.

Step 3: Read the manual. Once you have selected an alarm system, you must read the alarm system manual and all relevant sections of the vehicle manual.

It is important to plan the entire installation before you dive into the project. An alarm that is not working properly is not very useful and potentially extremely annoying. Disconnect the battery before you start with the installation. Look for any airbag wiring that is usually enclosed in yellow covers and connectors. Do not get trapped in an airbag cycle.

Part 2 of 4: Install the siren

Materials needed

  • Insulating tape
  • Hand drill
  • Multimeter
  • Mechanic Gloves
  • Soldering iron or crimping tool
  • Wire strippers
  • Cable ties
  • Note: When purchasing the alarm system, check the manual to see what additional tools are required for installation.

Step 1: Where to install. Find a metal surface on which you can mount the siren that leads to the alarm system. The siren is the part that actually makes a high pitched sound, so it needs to be in the engine compartment and it needs to be unobstructed. Try to keep the siren 18 "away from hot engine parts such as the exhaust manifold or a turbocharger, with the siren pointed downward to prevent water from entering the part.

Step 2: Find a hole for wires. The wire must go through the firewall that separates the engine from the interior of the car. This means either finding an existing hole with wires already running through it and using that space, or drilling a hole in a plastic or rubber section of the firewall. This hole will also allow a power line from the battery to the "brain" of the alarm system and supplies it with electricity. It's a good idea to put a fuse in this wire.

Part 3 of 4: Wire the alarm into the car

Step 1: Find out where the car alarm computer connects to. Use the manual that comes with the alarm to determine where the "brain" is located of the system is located.

Most must be wired into the car's ECU to read the signals associated with the sensors in the doors and windows. Some alarms have their own standalone computer units mounted in the engine compartment near the siren, but most are wired into the car's computer and hidden in the dashboard.

  • Note: Common locations are under the driver's side of the dashboard and behind the glove box.

Step 2: Install additional sensors. If the alarm system came with additional sensors, such as a vibration sensor, they can now be installed anywhere the manufacturer suggests.

Step 3: Plan a place for LED lights. Most alarm systems have some sort of indicator to let the driver know when the system is active. Usually this indicator is in the form of a small LED light mounted somewhere in the dashboard, so plan where the LED will fit best.

Step 4: Install the LED lights. Once you find a suitable place, drill a small hole and fix the light in place by connecting it to the rest of the system.

Part 4 of 4: Connect the battery and test the alarm

Step 1: Check the power supply. Connect the power line to the battery and allow the alarm system to turn on. The system should turn on when the vehicle is turned on.

  • Warning: some systems may need additional calibration at this time. Therefore, before proceeding, check the manual of the system.

Step 2: Check the system. Arm your system and then test it to see if it works properly. If your system has a panic button -Remote control is equipped, test it with that, but your system does not have a remote control. Try to shake the door while the alarm is activated.

Step 3: Bundle loose wires. If the system is working properly, you can use electrical tape, zip ties, and/or heat shrink tubing to bundle the loose wires and protect the connections.

Step 4: Secure the wires. Now that the wires are bundled, attach the brain and wires somewhere in the dashboard. This prevents problems with the unit from jiggling around, which can cause the alarm to go off unnecessarily, causing unwelcome worry and concern.

Once the system is secured, your car will be much less likely to be stolen thanks to the measures you have taken. Installing a car alarm is a painless way to make sure your car is protected from criminals, giving you the peace of mind and comfort that comes from knowing your car is safe. Car alarms may seem daunting, especially to the novice, but you must be discouraged from installing an alarm and protecting yourself and your car.

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