What Triggers a Theft Deterrent in a Car?

What Triggers a Theft Deterrent in a Car?

Parking your car and returning to find it gone is so disheartening.

However, if you had a deterrent system, the deterrent would have notified the theft attempt before the vehicle moved and stopped it.

What Triggers a Theft Deterrent in a Car

Do you still need clarification about how the car theft deterrent gets triggered? This article has comprehensive information about how theft deterrents activate.

You’ll also get to know the types of theft deterrents in cars and choose according to your preference. So let’s inform you, shall we?

What Triggers a Theft Deterrent in a Car?

Theft deterrents are placed in cars to prevent them from being stolen.

Once your car’s deterrent system is working correctly, any theft-like activity around the body of the vehicle will trigger your deterrent system.

So let’s discuss the causes right away.

1. Unauthorized Door Opening

Modern cars have remote keys that trigger the theft deterrent system in the vehicle.

If someone tries to open your car with a needle, screwdriver, or the wrong key, your deterrent system will turn off.

Another instance of how your car theft deterrent gets triggered by unauthorized door opening is when you lock your car using the car’s remote lock and then open it using a key—likewise, closing the door with a key and opening it with a remote.

2. Unauthorized Ignition Key

Sometimes you may leave your car windows down and walk away for a stretch or a quick trip to the roadside.

Suppose someone opens the car from the inside and tries hard starting the vehicle or turns the ignition switch to the on position with keys that are unprogrammed for your vehicle.

In that case, your theft deterrent will trigger immediately.

3. Unauthorized Geography

Some car theft deterrents work with GPS.

And can be triggered when a vehicle leaves a particular area marked as a parking lot or other place where the car can move around.

For example, let’s say you parked around SeaWorld, and your theft deterrent has taken note of your last parking spot.

If the car leaves the area where you parked without your consent, the wheels will freeze.

4. Accidental Hitting

Car theft deterrents have sensors that notice unusual force assertions on your car’s body.

For example, your car’s theft deterrent system will trigger when someone intentionally drops a cup through their window and hits your vehicle.

When you park your car in a neighborhood where street soccer is an everyday activity, the ball might unintentionally hit your car’s wheels.

However, your car’s theft-deterrent system will trigger if the ball lands on the tire forcefully.

5. Touching

Some theft-deterrent systems in cars are hypersensitive to touch.

If you park your vehicle along the road and someone feels it, the deterrent system will turn off immediately. For example, someone tries to cling to your car.

6. Pets

Pets are the cause of most false car theft alarms. They can sneak under your car and hit your deterrent sensor, which will trigger an alarm.

Sometimes, these pets, especially dogs and cats, can play with your car’s knob to open the vehicle, triggering the sensor since this act seems theft-like.

7. Broken Window

There are several types of car theft systems, and they all respond to theft-like activities differently.

An example is the shock sensor that notices when someone breaks a part of your car, like the windows.

Suppose your window is being broken or forced to whine.

In that case, the car deterrent system will not fail to sound the alarm to draw awareness that unusual activity is ongoing.

8. Vibration from Stereos

Besides pets, stereo vibration is another cause of false car theft deterrent alarms. Suppose your deterrent system is a dual-shock one.

Then, when there’s a stereo vibration within, your car’s deterrent system will go off instantly.

9. Voltage Change

Some deterrent systems come with voltage regulators that monitor the quantity of static voltage within your car’s electrical system. 

If this regulator notices a drop in the static voltage, your deterrent system will trigger.

10. Opening the Trunk with a Tool

Suppose someone tries using tools like pliers, screwdrivers, nails, or anything that can open a car trunk to open your car trunk.

In that case, the deterrent system won’t wait for the process to complete before sounding the alarm.

11. Hood Opening

An illegal opening of your trunk or door using an unauthorized key will trigger your car theft deterrent system, just as an unauthorized opening of the hood will trigger your theft deterrent.

What Triggers a Theft Deterrent in a Car

12. Low battery

This factor might sound funny. But can a low battery trigger the theft deterrent system in a car?

It can. A dead or low car battery can trigger a car’s theft deterrent system, especially when the drop is sudden.

Suppose An auto repair shop replaced your car’s battery with a bad one, and you didn’t notice.

In that case, your car theft deterrent system can help you discover it by triggering an alarm.

13. Faulty Knob

Every car has a knob for locking and unlocking the car’s doors.

If there’s a theft-deterrent system in the vehicle, the knob is connected to the system.

So when you try to open the door, you’ll tickle a bit with the knob, which will send a theft-like signal to the deterrent system, and it will trigger.

14. Faulty Hood

Recent cars’ hood latches have deterrents that would trigger if one opened the bonnet unusually.

If your hood latch is faulty, your deterrent system will go off frequently whenever there’s deliberate or indeliberate activity around it.

It could get worse if caused by dust or dirt accumulation.

15. Wrong Wiring and a Disconnected Circuit

Your car’s theft deterrent system will trigger if the wire that runs to your car theft deterrent system is disconnected or wrongly joined.

If this is the case, the deterrent system will sound your horn and headlight to signal an electrical fault or stolen electrical part.

16. Proximity

This factor usually happens in proximity-enabled theft deterrent systems.

When someone unusually approaches your car, the proximity sensor will go off.

You’ll find many proximity sensors in newer, high-end models of cars.

They all monitor movements around your car and trigger when someone or an object comes close to your vehicle.

17. Tilt Triggering

When car theft gets mentioned, almost everyone assumes there was a break-in, and the thief drove the car l away.

However, some reported theft cases reveal that cars get stolen using a tow truck.

If you have a tilt sensor in your car, this will deter the thieves from proceeding with the car theft.

The tilt sensor monitors the angle of your vehicle when parked.

If this angle changes, the tilt sensor will signal your car theft deterrent system, which will trigger an alarm immediately.


Several activities around a vehicle can trigger the car’s theft deterrent, and how they trigger will depend on the type of deterrent system installed in the car.

So no matter the type of system you’re using, theft-like activities will indeed trigger the deterrent.