One of the most frightening and stressful things is to wake up at night and hear your car alarm going off. So, you’ve checked the locks, check the window or door that you might have left open or unlocked. You double and triple-check but nothing seems out of place. By this point, you’re just really tired and angry so you decide to ignore it and try to fall back asleep.
A minute later as your drift off again your car alarm goes off again. “That’s it” you say as you get up, grab a baseball bat and run outside ready to beat the living tar out of the person who thinks it’s funny to keep setting off your car alarm… Except there is no one there and it doesn’t make any sense.
Well, worry not you’re not going crazy. There are multiple reasons why a car alarm can go off unintentionally and some of them might surprise you. In this article we will walk you through the possible reasons why your car alarm is going off and what to do about it.
Causes Why Car Alarm Goes off for no Reason
The following are some of the main reasons why your car alarm is going off for no reason.
Low car battery charge or a dead battery
The battery in your car is what gives it power and if it’s not charged or has a drained battery than the alarm is going to sound. It doesn’t matter what kind of car alarm you have, most cars with alarms even sports cars will use their internal horn as an alarm instead of using an external speaker.
If the battery in the remote for your car alarm dies then that too can cause problems. You might think that you’re doing better by disabling this feature but some remotes come with a backup battery that will trigger the alarm as well.
Corroded or rusted battery terminals
Also related to the battery; if the battery terminals are corroded or rusted then that will prevent your car from charging and therefore cause problems. While it’s not as likely to happen, sometimes if a car alarm is triggered too much it can drain the battery and leave the car immobilized even after you’ve stopped it. The corrosion in turn prevents your car from receiving a charge.
Broken key fob
If broken or damaged the key fob that comes with your car alarm can cause problems. Not only does it need to sit in the right spot for the alarm to activate but if any of the buttons are broken or not working then that too can set off your car alarm even without you touching it.
Surprisingly enough sometimes a faulty installation of a remote starter system can do this as well.
Dirty hood latch sensor
One of the ways your vehicle knows that its system is functioning is by the hood latch sensor. If it can’t tell if your hood is opened or closed then it will go off. This means that either the sensor or latch is faulty.
What you need to do is check the latch and sensor. If it’s dirty than clean it using electrical contact spray or something similar if it’s broken than you’ll have to replace that part of your alarm system before it goes off without any reason at all.
Poor connection to the control unit
Although this rarely occurs, a poor connection to the control unit can cause problems. If there is a bad connection somewhere in your car alarm system when you go to open or close your vehicle’s door for example it can trigger the alarm even if it’s been disabled.
In this case, one way to check and see if the problem is due to a faulty connection is to turn off the alarm and lock/unlock your doors using your keyless entry which works independently from the car alarm. If that still causes an issue then that means it’s most likely a connection problem. The only thing left after that will be to contact your dealer for service.
An alarm that’s installed incorrectly
Although this is rare many people don’t know how to properly install a car alarm system especially if they’re not very auto-savvy. If the installation was done incorrectly then that too might be what’s causing issues with your car alarm.
One of the most common problems here is an improperly grounded vehicle which makes sense because you need a good ground for anything electrical to work properly. A simple misdiagnosis can also cause issues so it’s important that you get this checked out by someone who knows what he or she is doing before you get charged for something unnecessary.
Sensitive shock sensors
If the parameters for your shock sensors are set too sensitively than it will trigger the alarm for no reason at all. For example, you might have a sensitivity level that’s too high and as soon as someone opens your car door it triggers the alarm.
If this is the case then lowering those levels can easily fix your problem as long as you’re careful not to raise them higher than they should be. Also, check to see if there’s something stuck in the sensor or anything blocking it from triggering properly.
How Do Car Alarms Work?
Car alarm systems work through the installation of a small control module that’s wired to your car’s ignition system. When the alarm is triggered either through an installed sensor or manually it sends a signal to the control unit which in turn activates an electric motor that locks up your wheels at the same time it makes your horn start honking.
When is a Car Alarm Triggered?
Certain components on your vehicle can trigger the alarm and here they are:
Door/Trunk/Hood Latch Sensors
These sensors are installed on your vehicle’s doors, trunk and hood to help it know if they are opened or closed. These sensors may over time become broken or dirty and when that happens, they will send a signal to the alarm unit which in turn triggers it.
A key feature of many alarm systems is shock sensors which are typically installed on your vehicle’s doors and windows. When you open or close these areas without using your keyless entry the sensor triggers the alarm to prevent break-ins.
Although not as popular as shock sensors, tilt sensors work similarly and can trigger the vehicle’s alarm system when the car is lifted up while the system is armed.
An important part of a car alarm system is pressure sensors which can tell if you’re sitting in the driver’s seat and will trigger the vehicle’s secondary locks when this happens without any kind of key.
Not very common but in some cases car alarm systems come with microphone sensors that can listen for vibrations when the system is armed to tell if someone’s breaking in. If this happens then they send a signal to trigger an alarm which typically activates your vehicle’s horn, siren and secondary locks.
Some car alarms are built with proximity sensors that can be installed on the inside of your vehicle and measure the distance between your keys and the alarm unit. The moment your keys become separated from that range then it triggers a loud siren to scare off any potential thieves.
In conclusion, if you still think that your car alarm is going off for no reason than it could be because of the reasons listed above. If you believe this true then it’s important to get your car repaired as soon as possible because thieves are always looking for an easy target and if they see your car with an improperly installed alarm system than there’s a chance, they will try to take advantage of this weakness in order to help them break into your vehicle easier.
Hopefully, after reading this article you should have a pretty good idea of what’s causing your car alarm to constantly go off for no reason. If you’re still unsure than it could be best to ask around and get some help from someone who knows how to handle your type of system.