Car security glossary
Terms to know when buying car security or remote start gear
The Crutchfield writing team is a group of full-time, in-house copywriters who share a passion for consumer electronics. In addition to creating the articles and videos you find in the Research area of the Crutchfield website, these hard-working and talented people write the informational copy for the products on our website and in the Crutchfield catalog. Our writers constantly research the latest products, technologies, and industry trends, so that we can bring you the most helpful information possible.
More from Crutchfield Writing Team
Click on a letter below to jump to that section of the glossary.
Lets one remote control operate a second alarm in a different vehicle.
2-stage Shock Sensor
Provides a warning chirp if your car is lightly bumped. A full siren blast occurs if the vehicle is hit harder.
A 2-way security system sends your commands to your vehicle and receives confirmation and status indications from it and displays it on the remote.
Auto Zone Bypass
If a sensor is violated and remains violated or becomes defective, the brain will ignore the sensor and rearm automatically. If someone opens a door, then closes it on his way out, the system will rearm, and the violated door sensor will reset and continue to protect your vehicle. If you leave a door open by mistake, Auto Zone Bypass will ignore that trigger and arm the rest of the system.
A security or remote start system will often have the capability of performing extra functions, like popping the trunk or starting a defroster. The system module could have a number of auxiliary channels to accommodate those extra options.
Powers your alarm if your main battery dies or is disabled by a thief.
The Controller Area Network (CAN) bus is the communications wiring of your vehicle's different computerized components and systems. In many vehicles, an interface device is necessary in order for an aftermarket security or remote start system to work with your vehicle's computer.
Level 1: Triggers the alarm after the driver has been forced from the vehicle with the engine running. The alarm is delayed so you'll be a safe distance away from the carjacker before the siren blasts. This feature also engages the starter disable circuit.
Level 2: A code must be entered every time you start your vehicle. This feature prevents someone who has stolen your keys and remote control from getting away with your car (or foils a carjacker who strikes before you start your car). Crime Guard calls this feature Vehicle Recovery.
Dome Light Output
Turns on the interior dome light when you disarm the alarm.
ETR Technology or Extended Remote Range
Lets you activate your system from a greater distance — good for personal protection and locating your car.
A glass-break sensor is an optional security sensor that triggers the alarm when it hears the sound of breaking glass.
GPS (Global Positioning System)
Some remote start and security systems include a GPS device that can locate and track your vehicle remotely.
Tells you which sensors were tripped when the alarm was triggered.
LED — Status LED
A security system will include an LED, usually mounted on the front dash or windshield, that visually assures you and warns would-be thieves that the vehicle is guarded by an active security system.
A motion sensor is an optional security sensor that detects movement inside, or, in some cases, outside the vehicle. Two-zone/2-stage motion sensors provide a warning alert when an exterior zone is violated and trigger the alarm if a second, interior zone is violated. Great for jeeps and convertibles.
Parking Light Flash
Flashes your parking lights when the alarm is triggered, armed, and disarmed.
Personal Panic Alarm
Lets you use your remote to set off the alarm in case of a personal emergency. This is a standard feature on all systems we offer.
A pin switch is a plunger-type sensor that triggers an alarm when a door, hood, or trunk opens.
Random Code Encryption or Varicode2 Transmitting System
2 terms for anti-code grabbing, the feature which prevents thieves who use a special receiver to intercept your remote control code from using it to defeat your alarm.
Remote Door Lock/Unlock
Lets you use your alarm's remote to control your car's power door locks. May require installation of external relays.
You can use your remote to activate a power trunk release or roll up power windows (relays and roll-up modules required).
A remote start system allows you to start your vehicle remotely, by way of the system's remote controller or another wireless device. Some remote start systems let you use your smartphone to start your car remotely and control its security system.
Prevents starting of the engine after the alarm has been armed. This prevents a thief who has broken into your vehicle from driving it away.
A T-harness is a vehicle-specific wiring harness that saves you time and minimizes the splicing required for a security system installation.
A tilt sensor is an optional security sensor that triggers the alarm whenever your vehicle gets jacked up, for stealing wheels or towing.
Most cars have an immobilizer system that prevents the vehicle from starting unless the vehicle's key, containing a transponder chip, is in the ignition switch or inside the vehicle. Security and remote start systems must either supply the transponder signal or bypass that safeguard via the CAN bus in order to work properly.
You put a security system into valet mode so a parking lot attendant, a car wash worker, or anyone else can drive your car without setting off the alarm.