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7 Ways to Turn Off a Car Alarm

Stephen Fogel
October 25, 2018

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Your car’s alarm is meant to be an important safety device, designed to prevent theft and even act as a panic button if you’re threatened. But if you can’t shut it off, it can also be really annoying.

When your car alarm goes off for no good reason, it creates an uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing situation. So, it's helpful to know how to turn it off quickly. Here are seven possible solutions, ranging from easy to a little more involved. They all should work, but if one doesn't, try another.

1. Try starting your car

If you're near your car when the alarm goes off — or if remote starting is one of your features — all you have to do is turn the car on to turn the alarm off. Many factory and aftermarket alarm systems are designed to reset when the vehicle's key is used to start the car, or the fob is present for a push-button start.

Simply unlock the door, get in, and start the car. The alarm should stop, and you can be on your way.

2. Hit the panic button (again)

This is one of the easiest ways to shut off your car alarm. The panic button lets you set off your car’s alarm if you feel unsafe. 

As long as your key fob is within range of your car, all you have to do is hit the panic button (which is often red or orange and labeled with a horn) one more time to turn it off. The alarm should stop.

3. Remotely lock or unlock the car

This can be done even if you're not right by your car when it happens. Hit either the lock button or the unlock button, or both, on your remote, and that should silence the alarm system.

Get your car diagnosed by a professional
 

4. Use your key to physically open your driver's side door

Another way to shut off and reset your vehicle's alarm system is by using your key to unlock your driver's side door. For an unlocked door, lock it with the key, then unlock it again. Many factory-installed alarm systems will respond to this tactic.

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5. Open the trunk (or use other buttons on the remote)

There are usually other buttons in addition to those for locking and unlocking on car remotes. One of the most common buttons featured opens the trunk or rear hatch. Pressing this button — or holding it, if that's what your car normally requires — should stop an in-progress car alarm. 

» LEARN MORE: Get an estimate for your car repair

6. Remove the alarm fuse

If the above methods don’t work, you’ll need to get a little more technical. One approach is to remove the correct fuse.

The fuse for your vehicle's alarm system will usually be found in the fuse box, which is typically either under the hood of your vehicle or under the dashboard inside the car. Check your owner’s manual for the exact location of the fuse box and the fuse itself. 

Once you have located the fuse box, remove the cover. There may also be a fuse layout diagram inside the cover.

Remove the fuse with either plastic tweezers designed for this job (there may be a pair inside the fuse box), or with a small set of needlenose pliers. 

The alarm will shut off when you remove the fuse. Try reinstalling the fuse with the same tool. The alarm should stay off. If it comes back on, pull the fuse out and call a mechanic for an appointment to have the system repaired.

7. Disconnect the vehicle's battery

Disconnecting the battery will make all of the electrical systems in your vehicle reset themselves. The alarm system will undergo a hard reboot. Before you start, you should wear eye protection and gloves.

First, find your vehicle’s battery. It’s usually located under the hood, but some vehicles have it in the trunk. To disconnect the battery, loosen the clamp on the battery’s negative terminal cable, which should be black and identified with a minus symbol (“-”). Then fully remove the negative cable from the battery. 

After the cable has been disconnected for about a minute, reconnect it. The alarm should stay off. If it starts up again, remove the cable and call a mechanic. You may need to have your vehicle towed to the shop for repairs.

Check the owner’s manual

If all else fails and the alarm keeps blaring, check the owner’s manual. Look up the section on the alarm system and read it carefully. It should tell you how to silence the alarm. 

Take care of your key fob

Most vehicles made in the past decade or two use an electronic key fob to activate the door locks and the alarm system. Unfortunately, these devices do not work flawlessly forever. Their long-life batteries will eventually die. The fob can also be damaged from being dropped, or it can simply wear out from constant use over many years. 

If you can’t control your locks and alarm with your fob, this could be the source of your problem. The first step (after you get the alarm shut off) is to replace the battery inside the fob. You can find these at most hardware stores that make keys.

If the new battery doesn’t restore your fob to full operation, you may need to buy a new fob. A mechanic can check the entire lock and alarm system and determine whether the fob is the culprit. 

Most vehicles come with two fobs, so you probably have the second one that came with your car — you may be able to use that. But it's still a good idea to have another one as a backup. You can buy a new fob from the local new car dealer that sells your vehicle’s brand, or you may find one at a lower price online or from a locksmith. Call around for pricing.

Stephen Fogel

About the Author

Stephen has been an automotive enthusiast since childhood, owning some of his vehicles for as long as 40 years, and has raced open-wheel formula cars. He follows and writes about the global automotive industry, with an eye on the latest vehicle technologies.

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