Choosing The Right Car Alarm For Your Car.

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With the mine field of makes and models of vehicle alarm systems out there, its important to know what to look out for!

There are four main type of alarm systems that you first need to be aware of:


1.      Cat 1

2.      Cat 2 to 1 Upgrade ( normally listed as cat 2-1 )

3.      Non Cat alarm

4.      Tracker alarm ( Known as a Cat 5 )


Here is a short summary of what each type is:


1. CAT 1

A cat 1 alarm means that the alarm system has been tested by a Company called Thatcham and has achieved there top level of security.

All CAT 1 alarms must provide the following features in order to pass the high standards set out by Thatcham:

  • Alarm
    Perimeter detection                                                                             
    Ignition detection
    Passenger compartment movement detection
    Inclination detection (Motorcycle only)
    Audible warning with battery back-up power supply
  • Immobiliser
    Passively set
    Isolates a minimum of two operating circuits or systems, or a minimum of one operationally relevant vehicle control unit with coded intervention
  • CAT 1 alarm systems are the best alarm to go for if your car is either a Jap import, was made in the UK before 1998 or if you want to have a second seperate alarm system to the standard system. And if the alarm system you are looking at does not feature all of the above items, then stay away!


    2. CAT 2 to 1 Upgrade

    A Cat 2 to 1 Upgrade system will upgrade your vehicles standard immbloiser to a CAT 1 system. The UK government told all car makers that are selling cars in the UK to insure that all there cars came with a standard immbloiser in order to cut down on vehicle crime. This law came into effect from the 1st January 1998.

    So if your car was made before this time, I would recommend that you have a CAT 1 system fitted, and if it was made after this time, then you can have a CAT 2 to 1 system fitted. So your vehicle will then be a lot safer and at a reduced cost to a new CAT 1 system. 

    A CAT 2 to 1 upgrade system must have the following:

    Perimeter detection
    Ignition detection
    Passenger compartment movement detection
    Inclination detection (Motorcycle only)
    Audible warning with battery back-up power supply
    Resistance to attack for a minimum of one minute
    Installed on vehicles with existing Category 2 immobilization to attain Category 1 status

    3. Non Cat system

    This is for every alarm system that does not pass all of the above items. Basically its a alarm system that has not been approved by Thatcham.

    You will find that 90% of the alarms sold here on eBay are not approved by Thatcham, even if they state they are! Please visit Thatchams website as there is a link to a PDF file that contains a list of approved systemsso you can seee if the seller is telling the truth or not. Please dont not buy one just because its cheap without checking with Thatcham first!

    Also in our expearance, most of these alarms that are sold on eBay dont last more than a few months and in some extreme cases, can cause vehicle fires!


    CAT 5 Tracking Systems

    The new boys on the block! These alarm systems also have built in tracking systems that can be used by the police and in some cases can also be tracked by the owner if the vehicle does manage to be stolen.

    With a CAT 5 system installed on your vehicle, you can remotely immbloise the vehicle until it can be recovered, remotely track the vehicle and also remotely signal the vehicle. On top of this the CAT 5 system will also have all of the features of the CAT 1 system listed above.


    In our view there are only a few makes of alarm systems that you should trust and they are: Cobra, Clifford, Toad, Meta, Laserline, Viper and Hornet. Of course there are a few more out there, but please be very aware of what you are buying and have what ever you buy fitted professionally!

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us for help.

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