Guide to Selecting the Best Car Alarm & Security System

According to, there have been more than 80 car break-ins and thefts in El Cajon alone since March. If you’re like most drivers, your car is one of your most prized possessions. Just thinking about being the victim of a break-in feels violating. Fortunately, a car alarm can protect your vehicle and everything in it from criminals, and the investment is minimal compared to the costs of replacing a stolen car stereo system and other valuables. 

If your only experience with car alarms is listening to your neighbor’s blaringly loud multi-stage siren go off every time the wind blows, you might be unsure of what to look for in a security system of your own. Here’s a quick guide to the selecting the best car alarm for your needs.

Different types of car alarms


A basic car alarm is designed to protect a vehicle from being stolen. The most entry-level feature is a noise-making device that is triggered the moment someone breaks in. Higher end alarms may have immobilizing technology that prevents a car from being started upon break-in. 

Our recommendation: Avital 3100LX

The Avital 3100LX is simple, but it makes a lot of noise and allows you to unlock your car without a key. This car alarm includes a warn-away feature, a six-stage alarm, and a fault-proof starter interrupt.

Two-way pager

If you’re looking for a more advanced security system, look into a two-way pager alarm. A two-way pager will have all the basic features you want in a car alarm, plus it sends you a signal when a break-in is in progress. Look for a two-way pager with remote start to take full advantage of the technology.

Our recommendation: Viper 5706V

The two-way responder in the Viper 5706V has a 1-mile range and a remote with an LCD screen that displays important security alerts. It comes with all the basic alarm features, plus keyless entry with remote start. 

Anti-theft car alarm features

There are some additional features you’ll see when comparing car alarms, which fall into one of two categories: anti-theft features and owner-access features.

Alarm noisemaker

Every alarm has a noisemaker. The noise is meant to draw attention to break-ins and discourage car thieves from proceeding with a theft. Noisemakers are measured in decibels.

Automatic window roll-up

Car alarms with this feature automatically roll up your windows when you turn off your car, removing driver error from the equation.

Immobilizing technology

If your car is broken into, an alarm equipped with immobilizing technology will prevent the engine from being turned on. This is a great feature to look for, as it will prevent your car from being stolen.

Code hopping

Sophisticated car thieves often try to interrupt drivers’ keyless entry signals, using the signal for their own keyless entry. Some car alarms offer technology to prevent these signals from being interrupted.

Owner-access features

Keyless entry

We’ve already mentioned this feature, which allows a driver to lock and unlock his or her car with the push of a button on a remote. The remote start feature allows a driver to start the engine without being in the car.

Car location technology

Some alarms feature car trackers, which plug into the OBD connector in your car. The device syncs to an app on your phone, so if a thief takes off with your car you can send the police after it. 

Trunk release

This feature allows you to open your trunk without unlocking your car every time. Trunk release is a key feature to look for in a car alarm if you frequently move things in and out of your trunk.  

Better safe than sorry. 

Having your car stolen is something you think will never happen to you – until it does. Installing a car alarm is the best way to prevent thieves from stealing your car and to keep you and your valuables safe. At Audio Shack in El Cajon, we carry dozens of brands of car alarms at every price point. From basic systems to high-tech devices with keyless entry and car location technology, we can help you select the best car alarm for your needs. 

If you already purchased a car alarm and are just looking for a professional to install it – we can do that, too. Give us a call at (619) 749-5750 or stop by our shop in El Cajon today.