Ten years ago, nobody thought twice about adding a car alarm to their new vehicle. Unfortunately, vehicle thefts across the United States are up 30% from 2019 to 2022. Your new investment is a target for thieves who want to sell parts, rebuild a written-off vehicle or ship the whole thing overseas. If you’re shopping for a vehicle security system, you’ll want to understand how a two-way alarm remote works. Allow us to explain.
What Does a Car Alarm Remote Do?
If you purchased a car alarm, the system will come with one, but more likely, two remotes. The remotes attach to your keychain and allow you to arm or disarm the alarm system while walking away from or toward your vehicle. Wireless remotes are a major upgrade over the fender-mounted key-lock style security systems of the ’70s and early ’80s.
When you park your car and exit the vehicle, the next step is to close the doors and arm the alarm. Arming the alarm does several things, depending on the security system you have purchased. First, arming the alarm system locks the doors. Ensuring that your vehicle is locked is the most crucial step in protecting it. Second, the alarm system should have starter kill circuitry built in. This circuitry prevents the key from starting the vehicle unless the alarm system is disarmed. Once the system is armed, the starter kill circuit is engaged.
Finally, once armed, the security system will begin monitoring the vehicle. Though it depends on your specific application, opening the hood, trunk/hatch or door without disarming the alarm will trigger the system. Most high-quality security systems will have a shock sensor that can trigger the alarm if it detects an impact on the vehicle body. The best security systems also have sensors that monitor the vehicle for motion, tilting or glass breakage. If you’re concerned about wheel theft or someone cutting off a catalytic converter, you’ll want the best sensor you can buy.
What Happens When a Car Alarm Is Triggered?
When your car alarm is triggered, two things typically happen. First, most systems include a loud siren that will ideally scare away the thieves. At the same time, the parking lights will flash on and off to help onlookers pinpoint the source of the noise.
Several options are available to receive a notification that your car alarm has been triggered. The first and most common is a two-way alarm remote. The second is a telematics system that will notify you on your cellular phone.
What Is a One-Way Alarm Remote?
Before discussing two-way remotes, let’s understand how a one-way remote works. Think of a one-way remote like the remote for your television. When you press a button on the remote, it transmits a signal. The only way to know whether the signal transmission worked is to observe the television doing what you requested.
A one-way alarm remote works the same way. Instead of pulses of infrared light, a car alarm remote uses digital commands sent over radio waves. For example, when you press the arm button on the remote, it transmits a digital command to lock the vehicle as a radio-frequency message. If you’re close enough to the vehicle, the alarm system will pick up the transmission and activate the alarm. However, if you’ve already entered a shopping mall, an apartment building or a large office, the signal from your remote might not be powerful enough to be detected by the alarm system. In this case, nothing happens.
Benefits of Two-Way Alarm Remotes
In the case of a two-way alarm system, the remote can communicate with the security system hardware in the vehicle, and the hardware can send information back to the remote. In this scenario, pressing the arm button while in range of the vehicle will send a signal to the vehicle. Once the vehicle receives the signal and executes the command, it returns a message to the remote. The remote will beep and flash an LED or icon on a screen to let you know the command has been received and executed. If you’re too far from the vehicle, the remote will beep after a few seconds to let you know the command wasn’t received. Either way, you know the status of your vehicle.
A second benefit of some two-way alarm remotes is that they can act like a pager if your car alarm has been triggered. The remote will beep and flash an indicator, and many even have built-in vibration to let you know your alarm is going off. If you keep your keys by your bed at night, you’ll know whether someone is messing with or attempting to steal your vehicle. You can look out the window and call the police if needed. Note that not all two-way remotes include security warning capabilities. Some remotes only have two-way remote start or keyless entry functionality. If security features are essential to you, make sure that the remote you choose will provide the necessary notifications.
Long-Range Car Alarm Solutions
A potential issue with all radio-frequency remotes is their range. Range describes the distance between you and your vehicle where the remote functions. Some remotes can only broadcast over 200 feet, while others reach up to 3 miles. No matter the range capabilities, there will be times when you are somewhere that prevents the remote from communicating with the vehicle. In those instances, you may want to consider a telematics communication system. While that sounds fancy, telematics refers to using telephone communication systems to transmit data. So, for your car, a system that uses the cellular data network and an app on your phone is an excellent option with nearly unlimited range.
A popular telematics system in North America is called Drone. Drone uses hardware in your vehicle that communicates with a centralized server. That server then communicates with the DroneMobile app on your smartphone. You can be in your apartment or at your desk or workstation, and so long as you and your vehicle have access to the cellular data network, you can communicate with the vehicle.
Aside from the communication and alert features of the Drone, it has a secondary function that might be even more important should someone steal your vehicle. The Drone hardware solutions include a GPS receiver that can provide location and heading information to the DroneMobile app. Should someone drag your car, truck or SUV onto a flatbed, you can look up the vehicle location in seconds and notify the police.
The Drone system also allows you to set curfew alerts. If the vehicle moves between a certain user-definable range of hours, even when the key is used, you’ll get a notification on your phone. With the prevalence of relay thefts that unlock vehicle doors and ignition systems, curfew alerts are crucial in monitoring your vehicle.
Protect Your Vehicle with a Premium Security System
Thieves have figured out how to bypass the security systems found in many new vehicles. If you want to keep your vehicle safe and make it easy for local authorities to return one that’s been stolen, drop by a local authorized Compustar retailer today. They can design and install an alarm system to protect your pride and joy. You can find an authorized retailer near you using the locator tool on their website.