Skip to main content

Considering many newer cars come with a ton of tech-savvy features, even in their base form, you would think that they would all come with alarm systems. However, that might not be the case. So it’s important to check out all of the features on that new or used car that you have your eye on before signing all of the papers for it. Here is how you can check if it has an alarm system from the factory.

What is a factory alarm system?

Key chains bearing the Mercedes-Benz logo at a Mercedes-Benz car dealership. | Dmitry Rogulin/TASS (Photo by Dmitry Rogulin\TASS via Getty Images)

A factory alarm system is a factory-installed, anti-theft feature in which the car’s horn is triggered when the doors, trunk, or any of the windows are tampered with when the car is locked. While nearly every new car on the market comes with a key fob that locks and unlocks the doors and pops open the trunk, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the car is equipped with an alarm system.

How to check if your car has a factory alarm system

According to Compustar, one of the easiest ways to check if the car has a factory alarm is to refer to the car’s owner’s manual. The vehicle’s owner’s manual should be able to tell you if the car is equipped with an alarm, but if you can’t find it there, then you can always look up your specific vehicle application on the Internet to find out.

If you purchased, or plan on purchasing, a used car and it has an aftermarket key fob, then it’s safe to say that it’s probably equipped with an aftermarket alarm.

You can simulate a break-in

Man wearing a balaclava, holding a wrecking bar, about to break open the side door of a vehicle. | (Photo by: Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

No, we don’t mean that you should actually break your car’s windows or mess with the door locks. Instead, Compustar recommends the following steps in order to simulate a break-in and check if your car has an alarm system:

  • Roll down one of your car’s windows
  • Remove the key from the ignition and get out of the car
  • Using the key, lock the car with the window rolled down
  • Wait about 30 seconds to a minute
  • Reach through the window, unlock the car via the interior lock, and then open the door

If the car has a security system installed then the horn will go off and the lights should flash. If an alarm doesn’t go off, then you can try it again. However, if you do this process multiple times but to no avail, then your car most likely does not have an alarm system.

You can also check under the hood

A woman holds a Peugeot car key as Fiat logo is seen behind it. | (Photo by Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Most, if not all, car alarm systems come with a horn that sounds off the siren when it’s triggered. If you’re still unsure whether or not your car has an alarm system, you can always just under the hood for the horn, or any other possible alarm system components. If you’re still unsure, then you can also have a qualified mechanic or audio installer check for you.

What if my car doesn’t have an alarm system?

If you find out that your car doesn’t have an alarm system, then you can ask your local dealer about having a factory system installed. Just note that an OEM alarm system (and the labor to install it) can cost a pretty penny depending on the vehicle that you have.

If you would rather save some money, or want extra features – like a two-way paging alarm and a proximity sensor – then a qualified car stereo and alarm installed should be able to assist you.


What Is a Stolen Vehicle Recovery System and Does It Actually Work?