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Car alarm locks me out; can't start car
January 17, 2007 12:43 PM   Subscribe

My alarm won't let me start my car. What can I do?

I have an after-market 1988 Honda Accord LX with a Code Alarm alarm, installed by the original owner. Last month, after 3 1/2 years of ownership, I tried to start it and the alarm cut power to the ignition (I had assumed up to this point that the alarm was disabled, as it had never gone off). After half an hour of randomly flipping switches and pressing buttons (there is one switch and one button under the steering column and a flashing red light to the left of the steering column), I finally got it to start. It ran fine for three weeks, and then, a week a half ago, it did it again. This time, though, I can't get it start.

I have a key fob which unlocks the doors and disarms the alarm. I quit using it about two years ago, but replaced the batteries and tried it last week. It appears to disable the alarm, but the problem persists (I'm still locked from starting the car, and the alarm goes off).

I've tried calling Code Alarm, but have not yet been able to get through to them. I do not know the model number of the alarm, nor do I have any documentation.

Any suggestions? Should I just have it towed to the local Honda dealership and ask them to disable the alarm?
posted by kables to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
 
We had a similar problem with my Saturn (bought used with an aftermarket alarm). Woke up one morning to an alarm that couldn't be turned off. We just took it to a local car audio & alarm place (alarm blasting the whole way) and had them install a new one (the cheapest one they had). It cost about $100, and for some reason was cheaper than having them just tear out the old one. Sounds fishy in retrospect, but for $100 I wasn't going to complain.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 1:11 PM on January 17, 2007


Doofus Magoo: "We had a similar problem with my Saturn (bought used with an aftermarket alarm). Woke up one morning to an alarm that couldn't be turned off. We just took it to a local car audio & alarm place (alarm blasting the whole way) and had them install a new one (the cheapest one they had). It cost about $100, and for some reason was cheaper than having them just tear out the old one. Sounds fishy in retrospect, but for $100 I wasn't going to complain."

Sounds very fishy. I'm certain a real mechanic (or even a fake one like me) could disable the damned thing in ten minutes or less. The steering column just needs to be opened up, the crap unit has to be cut out, and the wires need to be reconnected where they belong.

Don't dare call the dealership-- dealerships are awful with almost every kind of repair, doubly so with cars more than two years old, and triply so with things that are aftermarket (and I presume you meant that the alarm is aftermarket). If you call them, they'll probably tell you they can't do anything anyway, or charge you way too much.

Nah, just find a good, independant, Honda- or Japanese-car-specializing mechanic, and ask him to do it for you. It's fairly simple electrical work; it just takes some doing.
posted by koeselitz at 1:33 PM on January 17, 2007


Also, if you're hand with a screwdriver, buy a manual at a auto parts store, open up the steering column, and do it yourself.
posted by koeselitz at 1:36 PM on January 17, 2007


I had the same problem with my Toyota. The alarm was kaput -- there was no way to turn it off, and thus no way to start the car. I had a local mechanic take the alarm out altogether. Cost about $150.
posted by brina at 1:53 PM on January 17, 2007


Working on the premise that different models from the same company have similar procedures, you could check out this model. Click [Manuals] at the top of the page and you will get a PDF which describes in detail how to manually overide the system.

MANUALLY OVERRIDING YOUR SYSTEM:
USING THE CUSTOM CODE OVERRIDE
Assuming the override code programmed has not been changed, and the default override
code of 11 is in the system's memory.
1) Enter the vehicle and turn the ignition switch to the on position.
2) Within 5 seconds, press and release the push-button switch 1 time.
3) Within 5 seconds, turn the ignition switch off then on.
4) Within 5 seconds, press and release the push-button switch 1 time.
5) Turn the ignition switch off then on and start the vehicle. (If optional parking light relay
was installed, the lights will flash twice, if the optional horn annunciation circuit was
installed, the horn will beep twice)
Note:If you have changed the programmed override code then substitute your new code
tenths for step 2 above, and units for step 5 above.

posted by Neiltupper at 2:43 PM on January 17, 2007


Thanks. I'll try the manual override. If that doesn't work, a tow truck it is . . .
posted by kables at 3:23 PM on January 17, 2007


My ford mustang did this when the car battery was on its last legs. Getting a new one (battery) fixed the problem.

(I have no idea why.)
posted by Kloryne at 4:38 PM on January 17, 2007


Kloryne: "My ford mustang did this when the car battery was on its last legs. Getting a new one (battery) fixed the problem. (I have no idea why.)"

Because the car alarm increases resistance between the battery and the ignition, and therefore when the battery was producing very little electricity the resistance was enough to prevent ignition completely. I think, anyway.

This is a good idea. You should try it.
posted by koeselitz at 4:42 PM on January 17, 2007


So that worked?
posted by koeselitz at 11:17 PM on January 18, 2007


Yeah, dropping a new battery in there did the trick. Jumping it might have worked too, but I was pretty sure I needed a new battery anyway.
posted by kables at 9:28 AM on January 19, 2007


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