Car alarms deemed useless: so why do they exist?


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What if they could all be tuned, so the result is one glorious harmony?


Was hoping the article would answer the question.


I thought they were around for the insurance break.


The article doesn’t mention Darrel Issa, which is a gaping omission. He made his many millions in car alarms before going into Congress (and, it seems, got his start stealing cars before making car alarms), and he pushed through legislation mandating that insurers give discounts for cars with car alarms installed.


Car alarms exist because they can be sold, and they can be sold because of govt. failure to regulate obvious nuisances in the name of protecting commerce. Just because you can sell something doesn’t mean you should be allowed to.


This is a slippery slope: if you start doing a cost/benefit analysis of car alarms, and include all the externalities, pretty soon you’ll have to consider this practice of storing private property on public roads. And then the whole car culture itself starts to look (more than) a little suspect.


Good or bad, I think the alarm system depicted in this article’s GIF is a bit fawlty.


That could be done. And they could be then synchronized using an inter-vehicle wireless network to play music.


I really think they should be illegal! In general I think we need to do a better job enacting and enforcing noise ordinances. My brain isn’t as good at tuning irritating sounds out as other peoples, and the amount of stress irritating noises cause is amazing. But I think even people who aren’t consciously bothered are subliminally stressed by this kind of noise.


I bought a CPO Audi years ago and the previous owner had installed one of them* - on top of the passive alarm that’s already in there from the factory.
I had it disabled before taking delivery.
One - because alarms are fucking stupid and useless as noted here.
Two - because Darrell Issa is a complete asshole. :smile:

*EDIT - meant one of them as in from Issa’s company.


It seems like a lot of the curious things surrounding cars are an exercise in creating a comforting, though largely illusory, feeling of power, control, and safety to numb the mostly unpleasant experience of dealing with an expensive, vulnerable, object that you depend on to get where you need to go; but which is largely at the mercy of anyone wandering by when you aren’t in it; and largely at the mercy of traffic patterns when you are.

Cars obviously improve mobility vs. lower tech methods; but they do so in ways that make you feel very out of control, which makes people uncomfortable.


Back when these were all the rage, I lived in an apartment community with some SOB who had installed one that cycled through 10 different, yet all grating beyond belief, alarm tones. It was set on a hair trigger, and the car’s owner apparently didn’t actually live in the building because it would go off for hours on end.


Thought. What about an alarm that has a camera in the car, and sends a MMS message with the photo of what’s happening inside when the alarm is triggered?

…reminds me of the friends who got drunk and used BBs wrapped in bread, shot from an improvised blowpipe (a length of glass pipe) from a balcony at cars, making bets which ones have an alarm…


We have the technology. Let it be so, and may we rave sweetly on the streets.


And all the music would be happy music, in D major. And when a ne’er-do-well approached, they could all switch to the tiptoe burglar music in A♭ minor.


Thought. What about extending this with an acoustic weapon, so said ne’er-do-well attempts to breach one car, the other cars chase him with their laser-induced plasma horns? They could even be tuned to said music.


And this, friends, is the sort of corruption against which all the campaign finance reform in the universe will avail exactly nothing.

As long as legislators are allowed to vote upon issues where they, or their friends or relatives, or those who promise them sinecures once retired from politics, stand to make money (or lose less than their competitors) we will have graft as a component of every law which has a financial impact.


I once discovered a car had a proximity warning that was customized. The owner had written rap lyrics. I can’t for the life of me remember what they were, but they were hilarious. They had what might have been the unintentional side effect of making me walk up to the car, jump up and down next to it, and generally do everything I could until I’d exhausted its five or six different messages.

So the question is, why are those kinds of car alarms not standard?


An effective improvement to the hated car alarm would be to make it silent, but send a notification to the owner’s mobile device.