How to stop my car alarm from going off constantly
October 24, 2010 12:06 PM   Subscribe

Three times in the last 12 hours, my car alarm has gone off without any obvious cause. It does not appear to have been broken into. Neither I nor anyone else was sitting on the keys. It has never done this before. If it is relevant, it is a 2000 Ford Taurus. Any idea what could be causing this or how to make it stop?
posted by jaybeans to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not so sure, but my bet is the squirrels at the place where you are staying are jumping on the car. It is raining. Dunno if that helps, but I know that the people that you were staying with thought it somewhat humorous
posted by Metheglen at 12:18 PM on October 24, 2010

When the local Hell's Angels ride by with their engines roaring, it sets off all the car alarms--any loud vibrations in the past 12 hours?
posted by eve harrington at 12:21 PM on October 24, 2010

Sometimes when there is heavy construction, up to a mile away, it will set off car alarms when they are digging in the ground or setting pylons.
posted by 517 at 12:24 PM on October 24, 2010

It's raining in San Francisco, and there's a short somewhere.

I am your neighbor. Please turn off your car alarm and stop using it until you get it fixed.
posted by FLAG (BASTARD WATER.) (Acorus Adulterinus.) at 12:25 PM on October 24, 2010

I seem to remeber my folks 2000ish ford van having a problem with the alarm randomly going off. I think there might have even been a recall but the did go to the dealer and had it disconected permantly.
posted by Uncle at 12:33 PM on October 24, 2010

A friend of mine had the experience of her car starting spontaneously at 7:30 in the morning several mornings in a row while she was in her house getting ready for work. Turns out her neighbour was trying to remote start his own car from inside his house and was starting hers. Could it be something along these lines?
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 12:41 PM on October 24, 2010

I have a 2004 Saab and it was doing the same thing just last week. I had to have the entire alarm siren assembly replaced because the batteries that power it were dying (damn Saab, the alarm siren has a separate power source, not connected to the car's electrical system). I just did a little poking around on the web and saw some mentions of a similar problem in some older Fords. You might need to call a dealer and ask.

Meanwhile, if you can turn off the alarm or disconnect the siren, please do. Even my kind and tolerant neighbors were complaining, politely, after less than 24 hours.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 1:05 PM on October 24, 2010

I don't know if this helps, but my car was doing that also last month. It turns out I had left the lights on and that was it's own special way of telling me. So could you be you left something on in your car that your car doesn't like?
posted by Polgara at 1:08 PM on October 24, 2010

My 2000 SAAB was doing it a week or two ago, over and over again, and I don't know what the deal was. I took the fuse out as a temporary fix, which is so simple that anyone can do it.

I do a lot of my own work on my cars, but I suspect this system is not user-serviceable. So I plan to take it in to the dealership to get it fixed. (Leaving ours permanently disabled is not an option as there have been petty thieves taking things from cars in our neighborhood lately. Also, the remote lock/unlock functionality is on the same circuit.)
posted by richyoung at 1:15 PM on October 24, 2010

My Saturn was just doing this a week ago, as well. It went on and on and on. My solution--which is not ideal--was to yank the fuse for the horn. This works for the short term, anyhow.

Was it raining, by any chance? My suspicion with my car is that there's a slight leak in the driver's side door seal, and water's getting on the sensor and triggering the alarm. Anecdotal evidence on the internet suggests that this is not uncommon, but not usually discovered by the service department until you've already spent several hundred bucks replacing the security system. If you suspect that you may have a leak, I'd replace the seal (which you can do yourself relatively cheaply) before you do anything else.
posted by MeghanC at 2:03 PM on October 24, 2010

you might have a mouse inside the car, digging into the candy bar that was left there over the weekend.
posted by seawallrunner at 2:27 PM on October 24, 2010

My car alarm would go off sometimes, immediately after arming, because of a failed sensor. (Not a Ford though.) This was a known issue with that make and model, and with the hood sensor in particular. I disconnected that sensor and the problem went away.

You may want to search online to see if other owners have noticed and potentially solved your problem. Otherwise, find out what triggers the alarm (i.e., what kind of sensors are hooked up and where--mine had trunk, hood, doors, radio, and a sound detector). Remove each from the equation and see if the problem persists.

But to be honest, if it were me, I'd just disconnect the alarm entirely.
posted by danny the boy at 3:29 PM on October 24, 2010

Was there thunder? Where I used to live, car alarms would go off all the time in thunderstorms.
posted by madcaptenor at 4:26 PM on October 24, 2010

Years ago I worked as a car courier for a small company. All the drivers were buddies and had a good rapport, chatting and joking over the two-way radios in the pauses between the more important messages generated by the dispatcher. One thing that took the boredom out of a long day was discovering that our radio signals sometimes set off nearby car alarms, and it became great sport, once such a vehicle was discovered, to let all the other couriers know its location, the better that they might also enjoy causing a racket in that neighbourhood with the push of a button. Wheee! Anyway, it may be some sort of radio signal causing your problem, like a new garage door opener nearby, or walkie talkies, or perhaps a fleet of demonic couriers. See if there's a way to change the frequency slightly.
posted by fish tick at 5:55 PM on October 24, 2010

Like Lulu's Pink Converse said, it may be the battery. If the alarm has it's own battery check that. It may be your car battery as well. Does your car take a little longer to start in the mornings than it used to? You can have your battery tested for free at a Kragen or Auto Zone or the like.
I have recently learned how to open my neighbor's car to pop the hood and disconnect the battery because instead of replacing it, he'd rather throw it on a trickle charger every weekend. When his battery gets low the alarm goes off.
posted by gally99 at 10:36 PM on October 24, 2010

And let's not forget earthquakes. But a good earthquake will set off car alarms all up and down the street, not just yours.
posted by exphysicist345 at 12:51 AM on October 25, 2010

If this were my car in our driveway, the answer would be a feral cat.
posted by bardophile at 12:54 AM on October 25, 2010

Is it possible that someone is trying to entice you to stop arming your alarm? Is your vehicle on the popular list of cars stolen for parts? You can never be too sure. I would look into getting the alarm fixed asap, just to be on the safe side.
posted by vignettist at 12:13 AM on October 27, 2010

« Older The history of British television broadcasting   |   Should I heat my barn with gas or electricity? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.