Are Car Alarms Worth It?

Written by Central Body Co Inc on . Posted in Uncategorized

You’re sleeping peacefully, and then you hear it-the car parked on the street starts blaring. You wait for your neighbor to come out and turn the alarm off, but after about five minutes, you doubt that they are coming. Your chances of getting back to sleep are not good.

Car alarms are incredibly irritating: they are loud, ugly, and constant. Given that your first response to a car alarm is to wonder if a cat is around instead of a thief, you may wonder if alarms are worth the annoyance. This blog will explore car alarms’ efficacy and other options for keeping your car safe.

Do Car Alarms Work?

The first patented, fully electric car alarm was made in 1918 by St. George Evans and Edward Birkenbuel. The alarm would trigger if you did not enter the right three-digit combination when starting the car. The idea is that the noise would scare the thief off and alert passersby to his or her presence.

This is a great idea in theory. However, in practice, car alarms are not incredibly effective. A study titled “Rethinking the Regulation of Car Horn and Car Alarm Noise” found that about 95 to 99 percent of New York City car alarms were set off by something other than a thief. In other words, almost every time a car alarm goes off, there’s nothing to worry about.

Because we are so used to car alarms getting set off at the wrong time, most of us don’t pay attention. The study found that about 95 percent of people who have heard a car alarm have never felt prompted “to take some action against a possible car theft.” More people have called in car alarms to the police as noise complaints than as possible thefts.

To make a long story short, if a thief is trying to break into a car and triggers the alarm, the chances of someone coming to stop him or her are pretty slim. Besides, most professional car thieves know how to disable a car alarm within a few minutes, so the alarm won’t be bothering anyone very long.

Some people have even reported thieves taking advantage of our apathy. If a car alarm is going off, people might not hear the sound of the thief breaking a window to grab whatever is in the car. Your car alarm is not likely to save your car (or its contents) from being stolen, and it might be a nuisance to those around you when it goes off at the wrong time.

What Does Work?

Since car alarms are ineffective, you’ll need to keep your car safe in other ways. You can start with basic ideas like:

  • Always remember to lock your car.
  • Never leave your keys in your car or leave your car idling.
  • Park in areas with adequate lighting-thieves are more likely to steal cars in inconspicuous locations.
  • Don’t leave your windows or sunroof open or even cracked. Even just a little space can help thieves break in.
  • Don’t leave desirable items, like your phone or what you just bought from the mall, in your car. If you must leave your things in the car, keep them in the trunk where they are out of sight.

Though these tips are common sense, they can still protect your car by making it less of a target. Hopefully, thieves will decide your vehicle isn’t worth their time and will move to something easier.

If you want an extra layer of security, you can try a passive immobilizer. This is a smart key that contains a computer chip. The engine has a corresponding chip, and the engine will not start unless it can sense the smart key. An immobilizer makes it all but impossible for a thief to start your engine, except for a very few sophisticated hackers, and the only way to steal your car would be to tow it.

Should We Get Rid of Car Alarms?

Since car alarms don’t work and you can find other options for car security, some people want to get rid of car alarms entirely. Some anti-noise groups have launched campaigns to reduce their use, or at least to make the alarms less likely to go off for non-issues like the vibrations in the road from other cars.

Their campaign is based on research about noise levels. Many studies show that excessive noise lowers sleep and productivity levels, which costs individuals time, health, and money. Because of this pushback, many newer cars have less sensitive, quieter alarms if they have them at all.


If you are worried about your car alarm constantly going off or about your car’s security, you should speak with a professional. Central Body Company, Inc. can advise you on what to do to keep your car safe. Contact us to get the best tips and advice for your car.

4682 Leavenworth, Omaha, NE 68106
Phone: (402) 551-3177
Fax: (402) 551-1642

1401 S 16th Street, Council Bluffs, IA 51501
Phone: (712) 352-0099

Omaha Location

Council Bluffs Location