Mechanic filter: Car alarm going nuts, how do I find out how to disable the alarm system temporarily so that I can drive the car to the mechanic?
December 1, 2009 4:14 PM   Subscribe

Mechanic filter: Car alarm going nuts, how do I find out how to disable the alarm system temporarily so that I can drive the car to the mechanic?

I have a 1998 Toyota T100 2WD and the previous owner put in a security system. Don't know if it was factory installed or an aftermarket.

When I was out of the country for awhile, I let my mother use the truck and she told me that one night the alarm went off when the truck was inside the garage (nothing fell on it, no animals/people involved) and that the remote would not turn it off. She ended up disconnecting the battery. We have a back-up remote, so my mom took apart the one she was using, thinking that that might have been the problem, and started to use the other remote. Problems stopped.

But now the same thing happened to me with this other remote. Cannot even start the truck since when the key goes in the ignition, security system locks up the car and prevents starting along with going nuts and scaring women and children. Had to disconnect the battery again.

SOO... I want to be able to disable the alarm so that I can at least drive to the mechanic instead of getting it towed. Any suggestions? Thanks.
posted by BasileusPY to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
pry the remote open and see if you can change the battery in it?

do you have any documentation for the alarm, even the manufacturer and name? call your local thumpin' stereo installer; because they install most of these systems, they probably get tons of questions like this.
posted by toodleydoodley at 4:21 PM on December 1, 2009

Response by poster: Already put new batteries in. No documentation for alarm. Good call about the stereo installers though.
posted by BasileusPY at 4:43 PM on December 1, 2009

Just pulling the appropriate fuse can disable some alarms, but yours may be more sophisticated, and in any event you don't know where the fuse is. Still, at this point you could do worse than pulling fuses and hoping for the best. Probably, the worst you'll have to go through is resetting the preset stations on the radio. (IANAMechanic, however, and some vehicles may have more problems with this, but I wouldn't worry about anything seriously fancy getting disrupted on a 1998 car. Using the owner's manual to rule things out is a good idea, though, if only for the time savings.)

Do you have any information on the alarm? If the previous owner installed it him/herself, it's probably aftermarket--is there anything under the hood that looks like it was installed after the car was built, or anything on the remote to give someone a clue? Any identifying marks of any kind? A little data can go a long way in this sort of thing.

Good luck!
posted by tellumo at 5:13 PM on December 1, 2009

Have you tried locating the fuse for the alarm system? I'm unable to locate information about the alarm system in the repair manual I have for this car.
posted by strixus at 5:18 PM on December 1, 2009

Best answer: I've had to remove a few aftermarket alarms at the request of some of my customers.
In my experience, they're most likely to be hooked up under the dash and it'll be pretty obvious what's factory wiring and what's aftermarket.

Identifying aftermarket alarms:
Most factory control modules are anchored, clipped, or otherwise secured in a neat and tidy fashion. The wiring to and from those modules is likewise neat and tidy. There's never "extra" factory wiring.
An aftermarket alarm is easily identified as one or two cheap plastic black box control modules haphazardly zip-tied out of the way with some sloppy wiring spliced into the factory harness.
Factory wiring is multi-colored, bi-colored on some wires, and comes in a variety of thicknesses. Aftermarket wiring is usually thicker and comes in just a couple colors. Alarm wiring is often just red, blue, black, and yellow for the simplicity of their installation instructions.

Simply removing an aftermarket control module and its associated wiring usually causes virtually no problems. On the car's that I've worked on, it's like it was never there. Unless the factory harness was cut or severed, the aftermarket alarm should come out easily and its absence should cause no problems.

If you can get up under the dash in your Toyota, you can probably do this yourself.
posted by Jon-o at 6:12 PM on December 1, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the help everyone. I figured out that it is a TDS ELVAT5G model, and that it was in fact factory installed by Toyota dealerships before they began adding alarms in their vehicles in 1999. From various posts found once I searched the TDS make and model, I found that usually under the dash there is a switch or button that turns on valet mode, which kills the alarm and just allows locking/unlocking of car. I will try this out first thing in the morning as the possibility of the alarm going off now and waking up the neighborhood isn't too attractive.

I'll update tomorrow.
posted by BasileusPY at 8:32 PM on December 1, 2009

Response by poster: Update: Nothing worked. If anyone stumbles on this question down the road with the same problem, save yourself several alarm-induced headaches and just take it to the mechanic.
posted by BasileusPY at 1:37 PM on December 2, 2009

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