Do Car Alarms Stop on Their Own?

Car alarms are a great invention; they help you keep your vehicle and any belongings you have inside safe. If somebody tries to steal your car or something valuable you left inside it, the alarm will go off, alerting you and scaring off the burglar.

Car alarms stop on their own if they have a built-in timer. Alarms of some older vehicles did not have a timer and would go off for days until the battery was dead or the alarm was switched off. New alarm systems usually go off for 15-30 second intervals over a time period of 20 minutes.

In this article, I will discuss how long a car alarm goes off, when it will stop, why car alarms go off, what to do if your car alarm keeps on going off and whether you can get fined if your car alarm does not stop.

How Does a Car Alarm Stop?

Most modern car alarms will stop for short intervals over a twenty-minute period. These settings can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and can be changed if necessary.

After a set amount of time, the alarm will stop by itself. In older vehicles, the alarm might not have these kinds of settings, and it will continue going off until the battery runs out or the alarm is switched off.

What to Do if Your Car Alarm Won’t Stop Going Off

If your car alarm keeps going off, there are a few ways to stop it:

  • The first and easiest way is to stop the alarm from going off by pressing the FOB key on your remote. This will usually stop the alarm, and you can carry on with your day.
  • If you don’t have the FOB key or it does not work for some reason, you can try switching your car on and off. This technique should stop the alarm from going off.
  • If the above techniques do not work, you can remove the alarm’s fuse from the fuse box. That should stop the alarm from going off if the simpler methods fail.
  • Your next option is to disconnect the battery. Most alarms will stop working if their power source is cut off; however, many modern alarms have a backup power source and continue going off even if you disconnect the battery.
  • Your last option is to reset the alarm system completely. This can be tricky, as every alarm manufacturer has different ways to reset their alarm systems. You will have to check your alarm manufacturer’s guide and follow the instructions carefully.

You also need to approach your neighbor and explain that your car alarm is having some issues and that they can expect to hear occasional noise. This way, you can avoid unnecessary conflicts.

Will Your Car Alarm Drain Your Battery?

Car alarms need battery power to work. However, they don’t need much power and won’t drain your battery while they are left on stand-by. They primarily use power when they are actively blaring.

Your car alarm will drain your battery if it is not switched off. If your alarm system is very old or malfunctions, it might not stop going off once triggered. Newer alarm systems have backup power supplies and can continue going off even if the battery has been drained.

Reasons Your Car Alarm Keeps Going Off

There are many reasons a car alarm could go off, but we often automatically assume the worst. Car alarms are installed to protect your vehicle and any belongings you have inside it from being stolen, and do an excellent job of scaring away potential burglars.

Standard alarms have trigger sensors on the doors, trunk, and hood. If somebody tries to open one of these while the car is locked, the alarm will go off, alerting you to potential theft. This is one of the most helpful features of car alarms.

More complex alarms have pressure sensors that can detect when a window is broken. This type of sensor works because air from outside will change the inside air pressure of the vehicle.

Faulty Car Alarms May Be Triggered Often

Sometimes car alarms go off for no apparent reason, and you might be left wondering what triggered your alarm. Besides burglars, many things can activate your alarm. Below are some common factors that can cause a car alarm to be frequently triggered:

  • Some alarms have shock sensors which can be very sensitive to external factors. If this is the situation, noise vibrations from extremely loud music or even the revving of a powerful engine could set it off.
  • Sometimes a soft touch or bump can set off your car alarm. This can be from an innocent person who accidentally bumped your car while walking past it in the parking lot, to a bird deciding to perch on your vehicle’s roof.
  • If your car alarm has a proximity sensor, it can go off anytime somebody walks past it and is too close according to the proximity settings.
  • There is also the possibility that the key fob is faulty or needs new batteries.
  • Your electrical wires could be faulty or corroded.
  • It can also be that your car battery is running low and needs to be replaced.

Car alarms have various levels of sensitivity. If your alarm came standard with your vehicle, it would have been preset by the vehicle manufacturer. If it is an aftermarket alarm, the installer might have asked you about your sensitivity setting preferences before installing it.

Regardless, you can always change the settings to ensure that your car alarm only goes off when necessary.

Here is an interesting YouTube video explaining how a proximity sensor works.

Can You Be Fined if Your Car Alarm Does Not Stop Going Off?

If your car alarm goes off persistently, you may be fined. The noise resulting from your alarm may cause someone to call in a noise complaint, which can lead to you receiving a fine.

It is your responsibility to make sure that your car alarm does not cause any noise pollution. Car alarms are helpful but can disrupt the peace if they are not properly maintained. If you fail to maintain your car alarm, you may face consequences from law enforcement.

Maintain Your Alarm to Avoid Fines

Ensure that a reputable installer installs your alarm and that the sensitivity settings of your car alarm are correct. That way, the alarm will only go off when necessary. Always have an alarm cut-off switch installed so that it does not go off for extremely long periods. Ideally, the alarm should stop blaring after 20 minutes.

You should have your alarm checked at least once a year by a professional service station to make sure that it is in working condition.

Law Enforcement May Investigate Car Alarms

If a car alarm keeps going off and somebody calls law enforcement, the owner could get a warning or a ticket.

If the owner is nowhere to be found and law enforcement has tried everything they could to contact the vehicle owner, they might enter the vehicle forcefully to switch off the alarm. They may even impound the vehicle.

The vehicle’s owner will be responsible for all the costs incurred in shutting the alarm off, as well as the fees required to get the car back.

Final Thoughts

Most newer model vehicles’ alarms will only go off for 15 – 30 second increments over a period of about 20 minutes. Older car alarms might not stop on their own and can continue going off until the battery dies.

If your alarm won’t stop going off and you are unsure what is causing it, check your battery, wiring, and FOB key. If none of these are the cause, consider changing your alarm’s sensitivity settings.


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