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Ask an MECP Master Installer

We reached out to David Parhat, MECP Master Installer, to answer your question about "the ultimate vehicle security system " to protect your vehicle:

The Ultimate Vehicle Security System

The world of vehicle security has changed vastly in the 21st century; many manufacturers have focused more on convenience products like remote start than actual vehicle Security. The typical Security System customer is looking to not only protect the contents of the vehicle, but the vehicle itself or the "bling bling" wheels they work for a whole year to purchase. Choosing the ultimate or best security system involves a few main factors:

  1. The product itself and the features and expansion accessories for that product
  2. The installation facility and its understanding of installing Security

The first component of "The Ultimate Vehicle Security" is the product itself. Some manufacturers claim that they offer security systems when most of their features and functionality revolve around convenience. Conveniences are a great addition but do not help in securing the vehicle. When choosing a product there are several standard features to look for:

  1. Visual Confirmation - usually an LED (Light emitting diode) that flashes when the Security System is in the armed state to deter theft. This should be installed in a highly visible part of the vehicle. This is the number one important deterrent of vehicle security.
  2. Audible Confirmation - upon trigger, usually some type of electronic sounding device called a siren.
  3. Vehicle Immobilization - The most common type is starter disable and is standard on most vehicle security systems. This circuit interrupts the starter when the system is armed preventing the vehicles ability to start. Some systems have the ability to add options to cut off the fuel pump also so the vehicle cannot receive gasoline. Combined with the starter disable it makes it virtually impossible to steal the vehicle without a tow truck.
  4. Door trunk and hood triggers inputs – these are called "zones" each zone will trigger the security system upon trigger securing all entry points to the vehicle.
  5. 2-way capability – The 2-way is the ability for the security system to communicate with the Security System’s key fob, also known as the remote control. If any zone in the security system is triggered then the security system will send a signal to the keychain remote. The signal that is sent will inform the owner of the vehicle that there has been a violation and the owner can take action on the situation.
  6. Alarm Trigger Reporting - A security system that has the ability to recall the most recent triggers. This is a great feature if the security system is out of range of the transmitter, still giving the user the ability to recall alarm triggers.
  7. Passive arming - Is the ability for the security system to arm by itself after exiting the vehicle. This will make sure the security system is armed even if the operator forgets.
  8. Expandable – The system should have the ability to accept several different sensors and accessories for more security.
  9. Shock Sensor - the shock sensor is the most commonly used sensor. It detects impact to the vehicle which usually is a result of forced entry. But it is limited to impact and other sensors can be considered depending on the main focus of Security protection. Some of these sensors will be briefly discussed below.

The above is just a beginning. There are several other optional sensors that may be added to increase the level of protection. There are some factors to consider when choosing sensors, for example, is the vehicle a convertible? How often is the vehicle used? Has the vehicle been broken into before? Knowing the situation will make it easier to choose what sensor is best for the security of the vehicle and its contents. Below is a list of sensors and the basic usage of them, any combination of these sensors can be used together:

  1. Additional shock sensor - can be used in larger vehicles.
  2. Audio or glass breakage sensor - Provides pre-entry protection by detecting tampering and breaking of vehicle’s glass.
  3. Tilt/ motion sensor – Detects the vehicle being lifted or towed, excellent protection against theft of vehicle wheels.
  4. Field Disturbance /Radar sensor - Ideal for convertibles or any application where zone-intrusion protection is desired.
  5. Ultrasonic sensor - Ultrasonic Sensor is used to provide coverage of a vehicle’s interior cabin area. The sensor detects movement inside the vehicle by sensing air disturbance.
  6. Backup Battery siren – Siren that has a self contained power supply that will sounds if the vehicle battery supply is compromised.
  7. 12-volt Backup Battery and Sensor system - A battery that powers and triggers the alarm when vehicle’s battery is disconnected. A must for any high-security installation.
  8. Magnetic Switch – Perfect for pickup truck sliding rear window.
  9. Closed Loop Sensor - Perfect for monitoring auxiliary lights, car covers, trailers or anything that you might want to trigger the alarm when you disconnect it. Extremely low current consumption and compact transistorized design provides both positive and negative output triggers when input trigger is disconnected.

Besides adding specialized sensors, other security related accessories you should consider include:

Backup Battery Siren – Hiding a second self-powered siren can really make a difference, especially after the thief disconnects your battery and your siren is still wailing for help!

Additional LEDs or Electro-luminescent Badges – Anything bright and blinking in your dash is a real turn-off to a thief.

Voice Module – A great add-on to a Field Disturbance or Radar sensor, a voice module can tell a thief to "Stand Back" before they even touch your car!

The last thing to consider when choosing the "Ultimate Security System" is the installation facility and its understanding of installing true Security. No security system is better than its installation, so getting to know the installer and the shop’s installation methods and quality of work is a good place to start. Ask to see pictures and an overview of how they conduct installations. The OEM or factory look of the wiring and placement of components is the most important thing to achieve when installing vehicle security. This makes it tough and time consuming for potential thieves to bypass the system.

Remember: always ask for an MECP Certified installer. Be safe!