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Car alarm installation checklist

Your Guide

You'll be looking to purchase a car alarm or immobiliser for one of two reasons. The first is because the insurance company has required you to do so. The other is that you want to keep your vehicle or it's contents secure from theft.

The most important thing with any vehicle security system is the installation, so before picking the company that offers you the cheapest price (or the most expensive which is no guarantee!) find out exactly what real value you are getting for your money.

Remember that I'm here to help so contact me if you have any questions.

Alarm Installation Checklist

  1. If you require the alarm for insurance reasons then check with your insurance company for what systems they accept.
    Note: That the NZSA star rating system for alarms is no longer relevant!
  2. Find out what immobilisation circuits your installer intends to cut? A lazy or incompetent Installer will place both cuts at the Ignition loom because it is quick and easy to do so.
    Unfortunately this is the first place that any would be thief will look, not only will the poor install offer minimal protection, it may actually help the thief as he now has the wires required to Hotwire the vehicle identified!
  3. If you're considering getting an old "5 Star Alarm" then I suggest getting one with a digital battery back-up siren
    (see our siren guide opposite), talk to the installer and find out where they intend to hide it (if at all!)
  4. Make sure the installer has full liability insurance, this will cover both you and the installer should any damage occur during the installation (I have full liability insurance).
  5. Do some research on the car alarm you want, just because an alarm has good marketing and is well known does not mean it is any good. Some of the best know alarms that I come across are utter crap! Read the review section of the Obsessive blog before making a decision...
  6. Find out what your over-ride code is. Not only should you know it incase your remote fails, but some alarms come with a factory code which needs to be changed. If the alarm is left on the known default numbers then a thief would be able to disable the system with it!
  7. Read out our check-list for Insurance Rated Remote Alarm/Immobilisers. It covers most of what you need to know about each system on a one page printer friendly PDF document: Details here...


For an Immobilser to be effective it must be well hidden. A compact immobiliser with a attack proof security housing will offer more protection then a large Immobiliser which is easy to find and bypass. Thatcham approved Immobilisers come with an attack proof security housing which is lacking in the now defunct NZSA standards.

Read the Immobiliser Blog post to find out more...

Do you have window tints?

Did you know that window tint film muffles the sound of glass being smashed?

Many alarms come with glass break sensors which may not be effective if your vehicle has been tinted. If you have window tint film then a movement sensor such as a P.I.R. or Ultrasonic's (standard equipment with Cobra alarms) are recommended.

Siren Guide

Not all sirens are equal. This is especially important if you are considering purchasing a 5 STAR Alarm system (see my Security rating guide)

Where possible it is preferable to hide your siren, this way it is harder for any potential thief to attack.

5 STAR Alarms require the siren to be battery back-up (This way disconnecting the battery or cutting its wires will not silence it)

Sirens that are easy to defeat!

Car alarm installer lazy?

Any Battery back-up Siren that comes with an over-ride key needs to be accessible.

My view point is that if the siren is accessible then it is a waste of time being battery back-up, taking a hammer to it or ripping it out of the engine bay and placing it in a bucket of water will silence it in seconds. This defeats the whole concept of it being battery back-up!

Read the Battery Back-Up Siren reviews from the Obsessive Blog...

Digital Battery Back-up Sirens

Digital battery back-up sirens communicate with the alarm system and do not have an over-ride key on them.

Not only does this make them user friendly but they can also be hidden or placed out of reach offering a far higher level of security.

Both Cobra and Autowatch offer these sirens. Our advice is to chose one of these or to save some cash and opt for a 4 STAR alarm system.