Cars get broken into, and that’s an unfortunate fact of life. The only thing you can really do about it, short of watching over your car like a hawk with a pair of binoculars 24 hours per day, is getting an alarm for it if it doesn’t already have one. It’s rare for new cars not to have an alarm, but if you’re in that situation don’t fret. There are plenty of aftermarket alarm manufacturers out there willing to help you out.
Be aware that having a car alarm installed in a car that doesn’t have one, to begin with, can involve tampering with the car’s electronics system, which could mean hacking the car’s main harness to pieces. If you aren't completely confident in your skills and knowledge of car electronics, it’s probably best to have it done by a professional, and by a reputable shop with years of experience.
Shops will generally quote around $300 for an alarm installation, however, it’s been reported that installations can actually cost as much as $1,600, so it depends on the car you have and the mechanic you use.
With that in mind, here are some systems we found by some of the most reputable brands. Some of these are easy to install at home, others require a shop, but no matter what we would always recommend the latter.
Viper offers a lot of different options for car alarms, including a remote start with a range of 1 mile. It’s also recognized frequently as a quality option, and as a result is extremely popular.
When you go to buy a Viper alarm the box contains everything you need to install an aftermarket alarm system in your car. Their products range from $65 to $300.
Avital offers the same features as Viper but at a lower cost. Avital is also less popular, which could mean it has fewer options in the way of support. Avital alarm systems run from $30-50, in other words much cheaper than Viper alarm systems.
This doesn’t mean the kit comes with anything less than the Viper. As a matter of fact, the 1-way security system from Vital includes an impact sensor, starter interrupt, warn-away, keyless entry and other features. In other words, just as comprehensive.
AutoPage doesn’t really have a fully functioning website, but you can still buy their products on Amazon. AutoPage’s alarm systems appear to be much more expensive on average, but manage to be comprehensive.
Car alarm systems by AutoPage start at $89 and go all the way up to around $278. Although it is more expensive, AutoPage has received a lot of positive reviews.
Voxx Electronics, formerly Audiovox, provides car security systems from both the Prestige and Code Alarm brands, which are within their own rights very popular. Code Alarm, in particular, comes with more features than the Avital system, but for a bit more money.
If you end up going with an Audiovox, be sure to pick the one with the operating range you want. The security systems can come with either 500 or 2,500 feet. The price of an Audiovox system ranges from about $40 to around $100 for the Prestige models, and up to $130 for Code Alarm.
For a basic, bare-bones easily installed alarm system look no further than Bulldog. For $35 you can have a self-contained, siren-equipped alarm system that supposedly requires only 60 seconds to install.
It’s got a shock sensor and a panic remote as well. It’s certainly not the most comprehensive car alarm kit, but for something quick and cheap it’s a good option. Bear in mind the most basic kit only has a range of about 250 feet.
makes some decent kits as well. For around $40 you can have a fairly complete kit, with a horn, two remotes, and some wiring, basically everything you need to install it. Depending on which kit you get, you can have a range of 500 feet to 3000, and the kits can cost up to around $200.
It was difficult to find information about Performance Teknique, and in fact, we only found one product. However, it does seem to be a legitimate system that has been well-received. Performance-Teknique’s 2-way alarm system is a complete system, but if you decide to go with one be sure to have a professional install it, as the 6-month warranty will void if otherwise.
Most other alarm systems will come with a lifetime warranty, even on cheaper systems around $40, whereas the Performance-Teknique will run a bit closer to $80. That said unless this system is known to work particularly well on your specific car, then other manufacturers might be worth looking into first.
This price ensures the Autostart as the most expensive alarm system we’ve covered. With that, you get a range of over a mile and a lifetime warranty on the controller module. Something as expensive as this definitely warrants a professional install, especially because if you screw something up you’re out $385.
While it is certainly possible to install all of these car alarms yourself if you don’t have some help and aren’t very familiar with electrical systems it would be a better practice to get someone who knows how it all works and can help you install it without a mess.
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