Courier alarms allow you to arm the alarm when the vehicle is still running with the key left in the ignition.
Here I offer some advice to save any mishaps, plus I look at some of the more popular courier alarms and the pros and cons of each one:
Recommendations for all courier drivers:
Emergency back up key
Courier alarms tend to get much more use than your average alarm and the remote controls tend to take a hammering.
This can lead to the remote failing for a number of reasons such as a flat battery, or a collapsed or disconnected tact switch or even water damage.
I recommend changing the remote batteries on a regular basis and testing your spare remote (you should have one). If the remote is damaged or showing signs of wear then get it repaired (new case) or replaced I carry spares for most decent brands.
I also recommend visiting your local auto locksmith to get a plain metal key cut to carry with you, this way you will have a way back into the van if the remote fails.
It only needs to be a plain metal key without a transponder chip, it will save your day should the worst happen. It’s wise to keep a record of the alarms over-ride pin number so that it can be disarmed without the remote too. Knowing how your alarm works will make your life much easier!
I’ve had a number of phone calls over the years where the driver has parked up in a busy spot, armed the alarm then came back to find that the alarm is no longer responding the the remote. There is never a good time for it to happen!
With that said here are some of the popular options:
Cyclops P375C (also known as a Dynatron D3600)
The Cyclops/Dynatron has been a popular courier alarm for many years now.
The only difference between the Courier version of the P375 and the regular alarm is that it is fitted with a courier chip which allows the alarm to arm whilst the ignition is on.
It’s worth noting that the glass break sensor on the P375 is not active whilst the engine is running so there is no internal protection during this time (this is not mentioned in the user manual). Note that a glass break sensor is not very effective in a large vehicle, especially one with window tints.
How the P375C immobiliser works:
Like the standard alarm the immobiliser kicks in 40 seconds after the ignition is turned off, this can be annoying and seems pointless and outdated these days given that most new vans already have a factory transponder immobiliser.
Whilst the engine is running:
If any of the doors are opened then the alarm will sound and the engine will stop. Whilst this is seen as a must have feature for some courier drivers it is not without risk which I’ll cover at the end of the post.
Viper PKE/3606V Combo
This system allows hands free operation, simply walk away from the van and it locks and arms, then disarms when you return. There is no need to press the remote.
This set up uses the Viper 3606V alarm system in combination with their passive keyless entry system which kicks in when the engine is turned on.
It’s one of more expensive options but well worth it for the convenience.
Expect to pay about $900.00 for the combination.
Here’s a post about one which I installed in a Ford Transit a couple of years ago…
Ford Transit courier alarm
This system can work with most vehicles.
RRP: 900.00 (may vary depending on vehicle)
The Toyota Hiace has dominated the courier van market for years in New Zealand. With Cobra being the approved alarm brand for Toyota New Zealand they have had a number of Courier alarms which were dealership fitted.
I’ll write another post covering the historic options soon as there is too much to go into here.
The AK4698 is the latest offering from Cobra and it’s got some great features that make it an excellent option as a courier alarm.
First off the Ultrasonic Sensors can be programmed so that they are automatically disabled whilst the alarm is armed with the engine running. This means that the windows can be left open, or the air-conditioning/heater fan can be left on with the alarm armed without any issues. The Ultrasonic sensors can also be turned off by pressing the remote button a second time when arming the alarm.
Cobra NZ only recommend that the starter motor is immobilised for safety reasons, this means that once the engine it stopped it can’t be started again without disarming the alarm.
Cobra NZ are happy for the siren to be installed inside the cabin which should be enough to scare most people off should they break in.
The alarm also has horn honk so it is still audible from outside when needed.
The other great thing with any Cobra system is how easy the PIN code over-ride is to use.
This post explains in detail how the AK4698C works as a courier alarm…
Other Courier Alarms
AVS and Mongoose also offer courier alarms, neither of which I’m going to cover here as that would be like recommending gonorrhoea for your wheels!
Courier alarms of the future
The end of internal combustion engine is coming.
Electric cars/vans don’t need to have the engine left running pumping fumes into the air, plus most come with proximity locking as standard which is a big win.
I’ve already spotted a couple of Nissan e-NV200 courier vans in Wellington and the Cobra AK4615 is the perfect choice for those that need an alarm. It’s the same as what I’m running in the Obsessive Van.
Engine kill risks!
The engine kill feature is not offered by many alarm manufactures as there is the potential for things to go wrong. Most of the risks are covered in my “Immobilising a Moving Vehicle” post.
Note: The only system covered here that offers to kill the engine if the alarm sounds is the Cyclops P375C
As an owner/operator of this system it is important to understand the potential risks. Having well maintained door switches and remote controls are vital.
Immobilising a Moving Vehicle. Not Cool!
The risk is arming the alarm whilst driving is not to be overlooked. It could easily happen if the remote got nudged or had a faulty switch due to wear and tear, this combined with a faulty door switch has the potential to cause the car/van to immobilise the engine whilst in motion.