Are car alarms worth it?

I just bought a brand new car that did not come with a car alarm. I mentioned to a friend that I was planning on having one put in, and her response was basically, “Why bother? Do YOU ever do anything when you hear an alarm going off?”

She has a point, I suppose. Do car alarms do any good? Even a little bit? Got any personal anecdotes, or statistics? Should I have one installed?

IMHO there is only one part of the alarm that does a damn bit of good. Aftermarket alarms, and their installations can cause a host of problems.
The good? The little flashing red LED that warns the bad guy to keep out. If you are half way handy, you can fabricate a circuit that will flash an LED every time you turn the car off.
The bad? I have seen no starts, stalling problems, rattles, A/C problems, air bag problems, and even a $12,000 car fire courtsey to crappy alarms and their installations.

I think the ignition cutoff switch part of the alarm is useful, but not the audible siren part. And actually, since I don’t have one in my car, I can be sure that the one making a racket in the parking lot isn’t in my car.

Assuming the thief is an idiot. I have had a number of alarm system malfunction requiring a tow. Usually takes about 5 seconds to undisable the ingition.

My car allegedly will cut off the flow of gasoline if the engine is running without the key in. (There’s a chip in the key, I think.) It came with an audible alarm, but I’ve never set it.

When was the last time you heard a car alarm and called the police? When was the last time you EVER heard of the cops responding to one?

I rest my case. :slight_smile:

When was the last time you heard a car alarm and called the police? When was the last time you EVER heard of the cops responding to one?

I rest my case. :slight_smile:

That would be a factory alarm. They vary from not too good to absolutly rock. Chipped keys make it much harder to steal a car using a custom cut key.
My posts were refering to aftermarket add on alarm system.

If someone did call 911, they are required to respond, but that’s if someone calls, which we know they don’t unless it’s to complain about all the noise you car is making.

What about insurance rates? Don’t cars with alarms cost less to insure, or am I misinformed?

My car got broken into when I lived on campus, no alarm. They basically tore the lock out of my door, ripped out the deck, and stole the "12 box in the trunk. I was quite pissed, but I laughed at them because they didn’t get my sweet amp, and missed the $100 pair of sunglasses.

Exactly one week later, they came back and got the rest.

Insurance gladly paid for me to get my doors fixed. Then they gladly dropped my coverage, even though I had a clean record and no at-fault claims with them. :mad:

Alarms are meant to make the thief nervous, passersby look, and the owner feel a bit more secure.

How many times have you heard anyone say “Thank God I don’t have a car alarm.”?

You said it is a brand new car? Get one. At least a cheap one. I hear that Cliffords are awesome.

On the other hand, it rasies the cost of key replacement through the roof. (Washington Post link, free reg required.)

Within the last year, I’ve had two cars stolen from in front of my house. The first was a Ford Taurus. They were only able to get it about 1/4 of a mile away before the engine shut off. Apparently it’s some built in security feature in Fords if there’s no key in the ignition. The second car was a Saturn SL1. No such feature. They found it about five miles away, the stereo and everything I had gone (even my dog’s old icky food bowl) and the electrical wiring completely f-ed up.

So when I went to get a new car, I was bound and determined to make sure thieves didn’t get this one. Luckily I found the perfect car. Not only does it have a factory installed car alarm, it has no door handles or external keyholes. Only opens with a remote entry thing. I love it, I figure, it’ll confuse the thieves long enough that they realize it’s more trouble than it’s worth. At least…that’s what I hope…

TINSTAAFL
Security isn’t free. Never has been, never will be.

When was the last time you heard a car alarm going off and looked at the car park and saw someone stealing the stereo from the car?

When was the last time you saw a car being driven around with the alarm going?

I rest my case.

I don’t know whereabouts you live in South Florida.

If it’s the heart of the Everglades and your nearest neighbor lis 20 miles off, go ahead and install an alarm.

If it’s downtown Miami, or a place of equivalent population density, hold off.

Here in NYC, car alarms are still a major factor in lost sleep and urban stress. I’ve walked through Greenwich Village at two AM and seen a group of enraged apartment-dwellers actually LIFT UP AND TURN OVER a sedan with a wailing alarm that had been sounding for over an hour. Tires get slashed, threatening notes get left.

And no, NO ONE ever phones the police when they hear an alarm. It’s assumed that some asshole from out of town drove in and parked his god-damn defective auto right outside your crib.

I called the police about a car alarm that going off for half an hour at two in the morning on a Monday. I didn’t give a shit if someone was attempting to steal or break into the car or not, I just wanted to get some damned sleep before I had to get up for work.

When I did that once, the cop told me there was nothing he could do about it. Then he gave me an interesting talk about where I could likely find the wiring for the alarm, not that I should do anything like that, wink wink nudge nudge.

I work the night shift at a hotel. In my experience, a car alarm will wake up everybody in the county…except the car’s owner. People always seem to be able to sleep through their own car’s alarm.

I have the factory one, bought my car used, so I didn’t have a choice, but that fact saves me a few dollars a month. So if the alarm costs around 200 bucks, and you expect to have that car for 4 years, it pays for itself. If it costs more, it’s not worth it.