Upgrade Alarm Muppetry!

It’s shocking how many Upgrade Alarms I’ve come across that have been installed incorrectly. Last Friday, for example, I came across a Mazda RX-8 with one of the new RhinoCo AVS A5 alarms. My customer wanted it replaced with a Cobra AK4615 as the AVS was annoying to live with. It was also so quiet that he could hardly hear it!

The video below is my second attempt to show what was wrong. The first one had the bonnet shut and the siren could not be heard on the video!

With an upgrade alarm, the system should only arm/disarm via the remote control. This alarm could be armed/disarmed by both the lock button and the door handle and the driver’s door key barrel!

The immobiliser on the AVS is really annoying because it auto arms 30 seconds after disarming the alarm. This then required the driver to lock and unlock the car once more before starting the car.

Given that the RX-8 already had a factory transponder immobiliser it really begs the question why would you add another? I’ve lost count of how many aftermarket immobilisers I’ve seen installed needlessly when the vehicle already has one!

Not that the AVS Immobiliser would offer much protection anyway!



Assuming that the car did not have a factory immobiliser, or that the AVS could be disarmed by manually unlocking the car, it was still rather easy to get past. The unit was simple tucked up behind the passenger side dash and could be flipped open and by-passed!

So who is responsible for this shocking install?

Well according to the invoice in the glove box the install was carried out in Auckland on the 28th of August 2012 by some clowns called Carline Installations Limited.

Carline invoice

Carline Installations

Someone spent $560.00 on an alarm that did not work and an immobiliser that they did not need!

Oh well, my customer how has a Cobra AK4615 that is stupidly loud and that can’t be disarmed without the remote key or the Over-ride pin number! To top things off he no longer has to get into a rage over the annoyingly pointless self-arming immobiliser 🙂


About Julian

Owner and Installer at Obsessive Vehicle Security Limited. More details here... Please keep Comments relevant to the post and use the Contact form for enquiry's
This entry was posted in AVS, Muppets, Upgrade Alarms and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Upgrade Alarm Muppetry!

  1. wang says:

    hey julian, hope you got permission from owner of vehicle to view the invoice and name and shame the shody job doers. So rule of thumb watch out for the rangi jafa installers=D Carline Installations be just a blade of grass on a large paddock.

  2. Julian says:

    Hi Wang,

    Sure, I got permission from my customer. He was happy as long as the Rego was not on display!
    It’s one of those situations where you hope it’ll stop someone else from making the same mistake and getting ripped off with another crappy install!

  3. Rick says:

    I thought immobilizers were supposed to auto-arm so that even you don’t lock the car or arm the alarm, you still can’t easily do a hot-wire. Or is this a transponder immobilizer where time-based auto-arm really would be redundant.

  4. Julian says:

    They are, but what is the point when the car already has an immobiliser?

    Also upgrade alarms are normally for vehicles with an existing immobiliser.

  5. Julian says:

    Here’s another one I took about two weeks ago on a Subaru WRX. This time a Mongoose MAP80.

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  7. Julian says:

    Here’s another one I came across today.

    A Hiace van with an Autowatch 555CLAM installed. I was able to disarm it by turning on the hazard switch then manually unlocking the doors. Doh!

  8. Brendon says:

    Hi Julian,
    As the owner of Carline I would have appreciated you contacting me before slandering my business on the web. This install was performed by a contractor to Carline. As I’m not an installer I rely on a selected few to do the installations for me.
    The installer has advised me that the owner of the car at that time only had 1 factory key and requested the install to be done the way it was because of that.
    The installer has also advised that he wrote this info on the AVS manual for the reference of the customer. Could that be why there are AVS stickers placed oddly on the back of the manual?
    The mistake here was that the contractor agreed to do the install as per the customers request rather than what he would normally have done.
    I’m struggling with your ability to get the consent of the owner as I tried today and his mobile number isn’t working. This would leave me to believe that the car has been sold and most likely the new owner wasn’t advised about how the install was done. A common thing, as most don’t even supply the original manual or remotes when they sell the car.
    An additional immobiliser is added to meet the insurance company requirements for certain alarms. I’m surprised you don’t offer that to your customers. It is also a way of providing additional protection, if done correctly. Something I’m a big fan of.
    The auto immobilisation feature you complain about is also an insurance company requirement. It’s part of all alarms with that standards’ rating.
    I find it worrying that you were unable to “fix” the install and instead chose to sell the customer a complete new alarm. Not the way we do things at Carline as my customers will attest.
    Perhaps for the future you might look to getting the full story before providing fodder for your blog and this way your other contributors could offer informed comment rather than that which has been written in this instance.

  9. Julian says:

    Hi Brendon,

    Thank you for filling in the gaps so that my readers know the full story behind how your alarm system got to be installed and then removed. However I don’t really see how this changes the accuracy of the fodder!

    Are you trying to suggest that your customer actually requested that the alarm should be installed so it could be disarmed by flicking the unlock switch on the door and that the siren should be barely audible? If I had such a request then I would have told them to take their business elsewhere.

    Personally I bust a gut to make sure that upgrade alarms can not be disarmed without the remote. Otherwise what is the point in having one?

    The system I replaced it with worked with both the factory remote key as well as an additional Cobra remote. The difference being that the alarm could not be disarmed by flicking the unlock snib, nor did it have an unnecessary auto arming immobiliser. It was also well hidden and bloody loud. Everything a good alarm system should be.

    To quote you:

    “An additional immobiliser is added to meet the insurance company requirements for certain alarms. I’m surprised you don’t offer that to your customers. It is also a way of providing additional protection, if done correctly. Something I’m a big fan of.
    The auto immobilisation feature you complain about is also an insurance company requirement. It’s part of all alarms with that standards’ rating.”

    Why on earth would I want to install an additional Immobiliser to a vehicle that already has a perfectly good one already? Now I know AVS try to tell people that factory transponder immobilisers are not insurance rated, but this is pure bullshit aimed at misleading customers for the sake of a quick buck. To back this point up have a read on Club Sub where AVS suggest that a Subaru Immobiliser is not “insurance rated”. It’s pitiful advice.

    To top this off I fail to see what good this AVS immobiliser would do given just how easy it was to disarm! After all it would disarm as soon as the door was unlocked! Whilst I’m on the subject of immobilisers, does it not concern you how easy an AVS is to simply flip open and bypass or do you not mention this to your customers?

    Your Worries?

    It’s not that I’m unable to “fix” the poorly installed Carline alarm system, but more a case of why would I? Let’s take the following into consideration:

    A: My customer requested that I remove it and replace the AVS with a better quality alarm as he considered it to be a lame system with a piss poor install.

    B: The AVS was not suitable for what my customer required, nor would I have been content with leaving him with a compromised system. Are you familiar with the saying “you can’t polish a turd”? The AVS comes under this category as I can’t hide the siren on one. If you don’t understand why then read my “Siren Mupperty” post, it may enlighten you!

    I stand by the post and make no apologies if it offends you as I’d rather my readers knew what to look out for. If your customers are happy with installs like this then good luck to you.

  10. Brendon says:

    Fear not brave Julian.
    I’m not offended in the least.
    I’m saddened that you chose to publish an article without the full facts, but then it is a blog and you do regularly point out the disclaimer.
    Fair enough that your customer wanted something different , the point I was making was that to my understanding the alarm was fitted as per the request of my customer.
    For you to proudly claim to have made contact with the owner is misleading and certainly biases the blog entry towards your “wonderful” service. The two are different people and it would have been honest to have made that distinction clear.

    Regards the additional immobiliser. Your world must be quite small as just today I have had an enquiry about an ’09 Evo from a dealer that has a factory fitted system and yet the insurance company are requiring it to comply with the old 5 star rating ie extra sensors and immobilisers. I’m certainly not going to tell them they’re stupid for wanting that now am I.
    I advise all my customers to check with their insurer before we proceed to confirm that the factory system is sufficient or not. If they return it has been deemed insufficient and we proceed with the install. There are indeed times when they call back to advise that their insurer is happy with the factory system. Surely if it is an option then why would I not offer it to my customers. It may be unnecessary in your view but many people view insurance in the same way and look where we are with that.
    I in no way slag off the factory system which is why I get them to check before they hand over their hard earned cash.

    I’m sure that if readers wanted to they could obtain the AS/NZS standard for car alarms surrounding the siren loudness limit and would then be delighted to know that the AVS unit complies. Perhaps if your concern is so great you could contact the relevant bodies and advise them of the shortcoming in the standard.

    I actually advise my customers that if someone really wants their car then there’s not too much that can be done as evidenced by Mercs, Audi’s and BMW’s still being able to be stolen. As everyone states, an alarm is a deterrent. Despite your best efforts to portray otherwise an alarm will only slow them down not stop them.
    I applaud your attempts to improve installs country wide.
    Half truths serve no purpose than to bolster the writer. I have answered in an honest and forthright manner and consider this put to bed.

  11. Julian says:

    Hi Brendon.

    Let me clarify that the I got permission from the new vehicle owner to publish the video. So yes the car has changed hands since your installation of the AVS.

    It still does not excuse how easy it was to get past! Your excuse of it was installed

    as per the customers request

    does come across as a cop out. I could accept it if you said that you were disappointed with your installer rather then trying to justify it! After all you have pointed out that it was not yourself who fitted the system.

    In regards to insurance companies. Many simply do not have a clue and I’m still getting feedback from my customers stating that the installer must be NZSA approved. Sadly the NZSA failed to front up and inform the insurance companies that they no longer represent standards.

    To the best of my knowledge I’ve been 100% honest here, if I’m wrong then I’m big enough to admit it. I allow comments here because everyone is entitled to their own viewpoint and it keeps me on my toes.

    As everyone states, an alarm is a deterrent. Despite your best efforts to portray otherwise an alarm will only slow them down not stop them.

    I agree that an alarm is only a deterrent and have not claimed otherwise. Be careful before accusing me of half truths without backing up your claims.

    I do however believe that the quality of the alarm/immobiliser and the standard of the installation can make a big difference. My job is to make it as difficult as I possibly can for the system to be breached.

    Personally I’m not here to be popular and know damn well that my attempts to raise public awareness about what makes effective vehicle security will ruffle some feathers in the industry.

    That said it is good to see that you you do have some passion for what you do. If you’re ever in Wellington then let me know and I’ll buy you a beer.

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