Are Car Alarms and GPS Tracking Systems Worth The Price
Posted by: Dan on 13/04/2017
Long gone are the days where a gearbox was a car’s most complicated piece of technology. Today’s vehicles have a large number of electronic functions, from the stereo system to the unseen components under the bonnet. The rise of hybrids and electric cars has only increased this.
Not all electronics are essential, though. It’s not just the latest features that some may baulk at – after all, there are vintage cars lovers who still feel an automatic gearbox is a crime against humanity – but technology like alarms and GPS systems leave many wondering if they’re worth it. Here’s a more in-depth look at these systems – and whether you should invest in them or not.
Alarms and GPS can be worth the price….
Everybody knows why an alarm can be useful for a car. When someone comes along with bad intentions, they’ll set it off, and a piercing wail will alert others to what is going on, and hopefully scare them off. Just having an alarm installed can be a powerful deterrent – a potential thief will recognise if your car has an alarm, and will decide to try another vehicle.
The same applies to a GPS tracking system. Thieves carefully look over a car before they decide whether it is worth the risk of stealing. If they spot or even suspect a GPS tracking unit is installed (be sure to put that sticker that comes with your tracker in a nice visible spot) then they’ll likely decide to not risk it.
...but you still need to use good judgement
It’s always wise to remember that whatever technology you use, there’s no substitute for your own good judgement. It is an unfortunate reality that even if you have the latest and greatest technology, it’s only as good as the human input that oversees it. You may have a fantastic GPS system, but if you never set it up properly – and then your car ultimately gets stolen – it will prove to be of little use.
It’s also true that a good alarm system isn’t the perfect protection for your car in every way. Over 44,000 cars were stolen between September 2015 and September 2016 all across Australia – so while tips like keeping your car in a garage really do help to reduce your risk of theft – it’s best to combine multiple security approaches. Thinking “Hey, I’ve got an alarm, so my car is bulletproof” would be rather unwise.
Ultimately, just like every product and piece of technology in your car, you need to also ensure you’re doing the proper maintenance and that your gadgets remain in good working order. This might mean taking your car out for a long drive one weekend to confirm the GPS tracking unit is working at a distance. It also means being willing to be that guy in your neighbourhood now and then by testing your alarm out (just don’t do it on Sunday morning or you’ll really be unpopular).
Cost is a factor
While prices vary, a good car alarm will usually have a pretty consistent price from one product to the next – and that is likely to be in the hundreds of dollars. A car alarm is the best product you can buy as a first line of defence for your car, but it’s not the last. Accordingly, if you want some extra security but don’t want to pay a lot of money, you can look to a steering wheel lock instead. It offers a degree of protection for your ride (once it’s locked, no one will be able to turn the wheel).
The same rule applies to GPS systems – an elite model can be costly. If you want a less-costly solution (although definitely a less-reliable one as well), consider buying a cheap smartphone with GPS and leaving it hidden in your car (just be sure to keep it charged). Then, if your car is stolen, you can look to track your smartphone and thus the vehicle.
Can I do without these systems altogether?
Part of the fun of owning a car is getting some cool things to personalise your ride. Some of us take this to great lengths by getting custom tyres, paint jobs, and funky colours for our interiors, while others just stick to the humble air freshener or a sticker of their favourite football team.
Nonetheless, even in cars there is a big difference between needs and wants, and when a big price tag is involved, it's important to differentiate between the two carefully. If you live in the city, you’ll likely need an alarm but maybe not a GPS. If you live in a rural area you may feel the opposite, with the need for a GPS but little need for an alarm.
Rarely is having more security and features in your car a bad thing. While some may find they don’t often use their GPS – and hopefully never have to see their alarm used – having it there when the need arises can make these systems very valuable overall. Nonetheless, you’ll get the most out of your car (and guarantee its security) by thinking carefully about what it needs first.
The best solutions for your car will always come with using your best judgement. Consider your situation, and then go get the products that will serve your needs. That’s the optimal way to get the most out of your motoring.
Do you have a car alarm or a GPS system? Do you think they’re worth the cost? Let us know in the comments below: