There are few things more embarrassing (or more annoying, if it’s a neighbor’s car) than a car alarm that won’t shut off. There are a number of reasons that a car alarm won’t turn off, and a few different methods you can use to silence the shrieking – and end the embarrassment.
Part 1 of 1: Turning off a car alarm
- Needle nose pliers (or a fuse-pulling tool)
- Owner’s manual
Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the alarm. While it may not seem to be the ideal time to be reading your owner’s manual, in many cases user error is the problem. Verify you are following the correct procedure to shut the alarm off.
Step 2: Start the car. Put the key in the ignition and try to start the car. Almost all alarms, both factory installed and aftermarket systems, will shut off and reset when the car is started.
Step 3: Use your key to unlock the driver’s door. This will usually turn off and reset the alarm. In the event that the driver’s side door is already unlocked, lock the door and then unlock it again.
Step 4: Pull the fuse. A factory-installed alarm will have a fuse in the fuse box; pull the fuse to cut the circuit and shut down the alarm.
Look for the fuse box on the left hand side of the steering column. Fuse boxes usually have a fuse diagram on the lid of the fuse box.
Most alarm fuses have an alarm label on them. If the fuse is not labeled, consult your owner’s manual for the location of the alarm fuse.
- Tip: Some vehicles have multiple fuse boxes - check your owner’s manual for the location of the various fuse boxes.
Remove the fuse. If the alarm shuts off, you have pulled the correct fuse. If the alarm doesn’t shut off, re-install the fuse and try another one until you find the correct fuse.
Once the alarm has shut down, reinstall the fuse and see if this resets the system. If the alarm starts up again, it is time to bring in a pro to repair it.
If the alarm system is an aftermarket item, look for the fuse in the engine compartment. Consult the owner’s manual if you cannot locate the fuse.
Step 5: Disconnect the battery. This is a last resort, as it will reset all of the electrical systems in the vehicle and your vehicle will not start until the battery is reconnected.
Disconnect the negative terminal (the black one) from your battery. The alarm should shut off immediately.
Wait a minute or two and reconnect the battery. Hopefully, the alarm has reset and will not start up again. If it does, try removing the battery cable again.
- Tip: If this does not work, leave the battery cable disconnected and contact a mechanic or alarm installer to repair the system.
Step 6: Maintain your key fob. Most modern cars use a key fob to lock and unlock the doors and shut off your alarm. Unfortunately, the fob will not work if the batteries are dead, or it is simply not working.
- If you need to press the unlock or lock button of your fob a number of times before it works the battery is probably going dead and should be replaced. A malfunctioning fob should be replaced as soon as possible.
Hopefully, if you’ve tried the above steps, the alarm has stopped shrieking and all of the dirty looks from the neighbors have stopped. If it was necessary to unhook the battery to stop the alarm, a professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, should inspect the entire system to make sure everything works normally.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Disable a Car Alarm and was authored by Mark Vallet.