The Iveco Daily I recently worked on was first registered in 2019, however, looks to be to older shape model made between 2011-2014.
Regardless of production dates, all models come with keyless entry with selective unlocking as well a transponder immobiliser. It does not have an alarm so I if you keep tools or valuables inside then it’s worth considering.
It has recently come to my attention that a Company in Lower Hutt has been Parallel importing Cobra Alarms. Whilst there is nothing legally wrong with doing, I still have some moral objections to the practice.
I think that it should be made clear if you are selling Parallel Imports rather than simply not mentioning that you are not an approved dealer! It’s about being honest and transparent. Personally, I believe this is vital if you are dealing with security products!
Speaking of being honest the company in question has had some shocking Facebook reviews in the past. I recall one relating to a scratched dash trim where they failed to respond to the customer. I checked their page out before writing this and noted that reviews are no longer visible!
Am I to assume that any company who does not allow reviews to been seen on Facebook has had poor feedback? I’m guessing Facebook allows this because they still want the advertising money! Anyway getting back to the subject…
Why Use an official Cobra Dealer?
First off using an official Cobra dealer helps protects you against poor workmanship. It’s vital that the installer knows the product, has full technical support and access to firmware updates and installation documents.
I’m always ranting about how bad most alarm installations are along with how many dodgy installers are out there! I’ve spent years building a good reputation for both myself and Cobra NZ. I’m not happy when I see Cobra alarms poorly installed.
After Sales Support
As a Cobra dealer, I am required to register every alarm that gets installed. This way there is a record of it should there be a warranty claim, or if replacement parts are needed.
For example, let’s assume the vehicle has changed ownership and both remote controls are lost. It’s vital that there is a record of the alarms over-ride pin number. Without this, the alarm will need to be removed and will probably end up in the landfill!
I asked if they would still charge if I only dropped off a couple of batteries. The reply was no, simply because it’s not worth the admin time, and they would rather take them than know that they would otherwise end up in a landfill.
Now I’m not perfect and know I can improve my recycling game. In doing so I encourage all of you to do your part too. Feel welcome to give me your used batteries if you see me out and about. I keep a box for them in the van. Or better still recycle them yourself.
Challenge the shops that sell batteries
Next time you go into Jaycar, Repco, Super Cheap Auto, or your local car dealership to get new remote batteries ask them what the do with the old ones.
Do they recycle them? If not why not?
Ask the same question to your local car alarm installer too. They may not even have considered recycling them, so your question could make the difference.
Let me know what the reply is. Feel welcome to publish it here too.
If you live outside of Wellington let me know where you take your batteries and I’ll update this post to make it easier for people. Everyone who makes an effort will make a little bit of difference so please encourage responsible recycling habits.
Shock Sensors are beyond doubt the main culprit when it comes to false alarms.
How many times have you got annoyed at a car alarm going off for no obvious reason?
More to the point, have you ever gone out to check and see if your neighbour’s car is actually getting broken into? Let alone catching a man in a balaclava hitting your car like an imbecile?
Don’t cry wolf!
If you think that getting an alarm with a shock sensor is a good idea then watch this video:
How do Shock Sensors Work?
Magnetic Shock Sensor
The most common impact sensor is the magnetic shock sensor. It is simply a magnet held by an elastic band which is suspended next to a coil. When the Magnet vibrates it induces electricity in the coil. This, in turn, triggers your car alarm to go off.
These sensors have a sensitivity screw which can be dialled up and down. This is used to adjust how much vibration is required before your alarm sounds. Some have a dual zone setting. The 1st zone being more sensitive will tell the alarm to chirp a couple of times as a warning should a small vibration be detected. The 2nd less sensitive zone will trigger a full alarm.
Other types of impact sensors
There are other other types of shock sensors out there which I’m not going to explain here (piezo sensors for example). These sensors need more understanding of electronics so are not going to make sense unless you are into it. You can do your own homework if you really are interested!
What you should know is that all shock sensors deliver similar results. They pick up vibrations to set your alarm off.
Why have a Shock Sensor?
The reason many people think they are a good idea is that they don’t want their car’s bodywork to get scratched or dented. The reality is that constant false alarms piss everyone off will probably be the motivation to actually take a key to your paintwork!
The irony is that the act of keying a cars paintwork is unlikely to be picked up by the shock sensor!
It’s also unlikely that the use of a screwdriver to remove your number plates or exterior accessories will be detected by the shock sensor.
Here is a quote from the Mongoose installation manual:
Avoid over sensitivity as people nearby may not respond due to too many false alarms. (This type of sensor may not prevent wheel theft, we therefore advise the fitment of locking wheel nuts)
So what will cause a shock sensor to trigger?
There are many things that can cause the sensor to vibrate. The environment the car is located is often a big factor. For example, a car parked in a multi-storey car park is very susceptible to the resonating frequency of motorcycle exhausts, or even loud car exhausts for that matter.
Cars parked on the roadside can pick up vibrations from trucks and buses passing. In Windy Wellington, the wind can also play havoc with them.
The location of the shock sensor in a vehicle is also a major factor. In theory, the best location for one is the centre of the vehicle so it is not biased to one side. Yet most of the ones I have removed are tied to the steering column!
So why do so many alarms come with Shock Sensors?
First off is that they are cheap to manufacture. Secondly is a false notion that they will protect your car from getting damaged. The reality is there is not much that can be done to protect the outside of your vehicle without false alarms. If you want to protect your wheels then a tilt sensor will be far more effective.
What about Intelligent Shock Sensors?
I have read all sorts of marketing bullshit about “Intelligent” shock sensors. Some alarms have them built into the brain which makes the ideal centre of the vehicle location impossible in most cases!
The reality is that a car thief is not going to bang on your windscreen to set it off. But I do know if a case where an installer has cracked a windscreen doing this test!
Car door switches are one of the most basic, yet often overlooked items on any car alarm system. They detected if the door is open or shut so are the first layer of protection for any security system.
Even if you don’t have an alarm its important that all of your door switches work, as without them you risk locking your keys inside your car!
Most vehicles have a timer that starts when you press the unlock button on your remote control. This timer is cancelled if the cars body control module has detected a door being opened. If a door is not opened (or seen to be opened due to a faulty switch) the doors will re-lock. Typically after 30 seconds. Note; the timing can vary between manufacturers.
Testing your car door switches
Most cars have a display in the instrument cluster indicating if a door is open, some will simply have one symbol for all doors, where as others will show which individual door is ajar.
You may need to turn your ignition on for this display to work. Open each door one at a time (leaving the other doors closed) and see if the dispay shows that the door is open.
If your car does not have a display then turn the ignition on and see if the courtesy light turns on and off with when each door opens and closes (you may need to wait a couple of seconds for it to fade out on some vehicles). Of course, you’ll need a working courtesy lamp to do this test. If you don’t have a working one the check the fuses and the bulb as its nice to have a working one when it gets dark!
Service or replacing your car door switches
If after testing your door switches you discover that one is not working then you’ll probably need to repair or replace it. I say probably because there is the possibility that it is a broken wire or connection.
If you have a switch like the one shown in the photo at the pop of the page then get a screw driver and remove it. Look for signs of corrosion and clean the contacts if necisarry.
Some switches are sealed so cleaning up the contacts is not possible. If this is the case then the switch will need replacing. You can normally order one from your local dealership.
Can’t find a switch?
If there is no visible switch below the door latch or below the door hinge then you may have a switch that is built into the door latch. These are common on boot switches or door found on some late model vehicles. Again these can also fail, but replacing them is not a simple job.
Of course this is something I test for whenever I install an alarm and I’ll advise you if you need a replacement. If you know you have a faulty switch before I work on your vehicle then please let me know. I’m normally happy to replace it for you if you bring a new one along for me 😉
The Toyota Mark X is the last vehicle I currently have listed that works with the excellent Cobra AK4218 Toyota upgrade alarm. I’ve worked on a couple recently so figured I should add it to the blog.
The Mark X (X120) was manufactured between 2004 and 2009. Whilst not sold in NZ it is a popular Japanese import.
Below are some photos of the AK4218 installed in the Mark X:
Other alarms are also possible:
The AK4218 is my recommendation if your Mark X still has the Toyota remote contols. If not then most other decent alarms will work. I suggest contacting me for a list of options.
The Mark X has built-in window closure. If the key is held in the lock, or unlock position in the driver’s door lock all the windows will go up or down. This makes remote window closure an easy add on to most alarm systems.
The Viper 535T is a universal system that can be fitted to most cars. Here is an install which I wired up to work with a basic Autowatch alarm that only has a one-button remote.
Built-in Window Closure
Some European car, especially the German ones, will roll the windows up and down with the key held in the door lock. For these vehicles, I can often include window closure at no extra cost when the right alarm is fitted.
One of the great things with the Cobra AK4698 and AK4138 is how versatile they are. Both alarms can be programmed for instant window closure (as shown in the video below) or controlled closure.
With controlled closure you keep the lock button on the remote pressed to wind the windows up. If you only want to half close them then you simply let go of the lock button before they are fully closed.
Does your car has electric folding mirrors? I can make them fold in when the car is locked with the remote. If your alarm has an Auxiliary output then this can also be used to command the windows and the mirrors.
Adding an Auxiliary Output to your Factory Remote
I can add a Double Tap Module to add an Auxiliary output to your factory remote:
The new 2018 Corolla Hatchback comes in 3 models. The entry-level GX has remote locking with an ignition key. The SX and ZR both come with a smart key and push to start button. The ZR also has a very basic factory alarm system that honks the horn.
For those who want to add an alarm, or wish to improve on the ZR system, I highly recommend the Cobra AK4615 CAN-BUS Alarm. I tested the alarm on the car last week and can confirm it works 🙂
The firmware and fitting instructions are not on the Vodafone Automotive website yet, but I have all the information needed myself.
Testing the New Corolla
It’s always interesting ripping a new car apart for the first time and getting familiar with it.
New Toyota Corolla Alarm Installation
It’s a time-consuming exercise finding the best mounting locations and wiring points, but having good notes is a must if you want to do the job well.
Here are some shots of the alarm after the installation:
ADR Card option recommended for the SX and ZR push to start models
Having a smart key makes both the SX and XR vulnerable to keyless theft. Adding an ADR Card to the AK4615 would protect against this.
The Author Comfort Closure system works with the new Corolla and will roll the windows up when the remote lock button is pressed It will also vent the windows open if you press the unlock button 3 times.
I took the time to read the CAN-BUS data from the windows opening and closing. Hopefully Vodafone Automotive can use it in the official firmware for the alarm. It would be great if the alarm disables the ultrasonic sensors if a window is left open.