Few car problems are as aggravating and potentially dangerous as a misfiring car alarm. Not only will it impede your ability to drive safely, but a faulty car alarm also tends to pop up at the worst times possible. Many drivers tend to feel lost when solving the problem of a randomly firing car alarm. Getting the alarm off as soon as possible is priority number one. But what are some of the reasons your alarm could be randomly firing, and what can be done about them? We here have looked into the problem for you, and here's what we've found.
There are multiple potential culprits to a spontaneously firing car alarm:
- Key fob malfunction - the battery to your key fob may be dead, disrupting the signal
- Dirty hood latch sensor - the sensor on your hood latch that triggers your alarm may have gotten dirty
- Oversensitive shock sensors - your shock sensors are being triggered with the slightest of bumps
- Poor installation - especially if you've installed the system yourself, poor installation may be to blame
- Low/damaged battery - issues with your car battery can cause problems in several ways
These are some of the reasons your car alarm can be spontaneously firing at random moments. Continue reading on below as we discuss them more in-depth and what can potentially be done to fix them.
Malfunctioning Car Alarm - Why? And What To Do
Each of the aforementioned problems requires an in-depth look at how they connect to the car alarm. Just knowing what's going on isn't much help alone, so we'll also look into ways to fix the problem as soon as possible. The way to fix your car alarm from going off changes due to the root cause. So knowledge of what the problem is and the ability to then fix it are both key components to getting your car alarm right.
Key Fob Malfunction
Sometimes your key fob will malfunction, causing the signal to deactivate the car alarm to fail to get to the alarm. The good news with key fob malfunction is that the fix is relatively simple. Checking and then replacing your batteries will quickly solve a bad key fob causing a misfiring car alarm. Key fobs typically use watch batteries. You can easily purchase these at your local grocery store. A simple swapping out of old batteries for new ones will tell you if your key fob was the problem.
The batteries for your key fob should cost around five dollars and last a couple of years, making this one of the more cost-effective fixes as well.
Hood Latch Sensor
Your hood latch sensor is located by your vehicle's headlights. If you're unable to locate it easily, consult your vehicle's owner manual for help. The two most common issues with a hood latch sensor potentially causing your car alarm to fire are grime accumulating and loose connections.
A simple cleaning with brake cleaner and a brush should do the trick to clean your hood latch sensor. Ensure to be gentle enough not to damage the sensor but thorough enough to clean out all accumulated grime. If this hasn't done the trick, try disconnecting and reconnecting the sensor to check that a loose connection was not the problem.
You may find that your shock sensors trigger your car alarm with the slightest of bumps or vibrations. If your shock sensors are overly sensitive, you should be able to fix the problem with a manual readjustment. You can find your shock sensors in a small control box beneath the driver's side dashboard. This box will likely be hidden out of sight. This is to prevent attempted theft of your sensors by outside forces. If you're unable to find your sensors, consult your manual.
When you finally locate the box with the shock sensors, you should see a small dial. Adjust this to lower sensitivity and see if this helps with the problem. This process might require trial and error to get the sensitivity level to exactly where you want it.
We all want to save money, especially on expensive procedures like car work. If you can do it yourself, why would you take it to a garage that will charge hundreds of dollars to do it for you? But try as we might. Sometimes, our installation work isn't the best, which can lead to problems with our vehicle. Likewise, even garage installed alarms can have errors in their installation that lead to misfiring at inopportune times.
If you're able to prove that the garage performed the incorrect installation and that it popped up soon after installation, you should be able to get it repaired at no cost to yourself. If it were a home job that caused problems with installation, you'd need to pay for a new alarm installation job. These can range anywhere from 100 to 500 dollars depending on the garage and work necessary.
Can A Low Battery Set A Car Alarm Off?
A low battery is among the many potential culprits for a car alarm going off at random intervals. If your car battery is too low, the signals it sends to your alarm may not be strong enough and confuse the alarm into tripping. The only real solution to a battery that has run low is to replace it with a new one fully.
Other Potential Battery Issues
Another potential cause of trouble from your battery is rusty or corroded terminals. Even a battery with a decent charge will be unable to function with corroded terminals. Thankfully cleaner should only run you about five dollars and the process to clean corroded terminals isn't a difficult one.
Fully disconnect your battery from the terminals and follow the directions on your bottle for cleaning terminals and engine parts. If, after hooking back up your battery, the problem stops, you've identified your problem.
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How long should a car battery last?
If you're wondering whether to feel shortchanged by your battery or not, there are a few things to keep in mind. The lifespan of a vehicle's battery varies due to a lot of factors. These include more typical things such as make and model and the amount and driving done.
Regular driving keeps a car battery going for longer, with long periods of inactivity weighing heavily on a car battery. Little things like leaving the power on while the ignition is off will also drain the battery.
In general, batteries can last anywhere from one year up to six years, with a healthy average of three to four years being normal for many models. If your battery shows any signs of issues, including those contributing to car alarm problems, a replacement is necessary.
How long can a car alarm go off before the battery dies?
Repeated unnecessary use of the car alarm will drain the battery, especially if left for long periods of time. Your car alarm should reset itself if ignored for a set time. However, this period of time can last upwards of twenty minutes, and if it's happening multiple times, this can add up a taxing amount on your battery.
A triggered car alarm is also accompanied by flashing lights which also draw from your battery, furthering the drain on your battery's life. Ignoring a constantly misfiring car alarm is not only unlikely to net you any friends in your surrounding area, but it's also likely to tax your vehicle itself quickly. You could wait until the problem kills your battery outright, but that isn't advisable for obvious reasons.
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How do you deactivate a car alarm?
So you know it's a problem, and you know you need to fix it. But this doesn't help you at the moment because your alarm is blaring and everyone is getting increasingly mad. How do you deactivate your car alarm when it's falsely tripped?
The first thing to try is a simple opening of your door with your car keys. This sometimes stops a blaring car alarm programmed to stop when close to the right key. If your keys don't work, you can similarly try a key fob. If neither of these solutions works, check to make sure the panic button was not accidentally switched on. Starting the car is also a method that sometimes works to stop a car alarm.
If none of these methods seem to be working, you might have to go into the fuse box and manually remove the responsible fuse powering the alarm. Always consult your manual when engaging in work of this level.
There are many reasons your car alarm could be getting falsely triggered, and it's unfortunately not something you can ignore for long. We hope this article helped you get your alarm under control and firing only when you need it to keep you safe.