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**The Security Thread - Version 1.0** Noobs look here first
Howdy my EJ8 bros and bro-ettes. I have come to the realization that even though this is the Audio/Security forum, there isn't actually a specific thread on security. That's why I have decided to create this. Every now and then I see a thread pop up with someone asking about ways to secure their car, what kind of alarm to get, etc... So instead of waiting for someone to ask and then everybody gives them the same answers over and over again, I thought it'd be a good idea to have a central location for info.

I want this thread to be a group effort, so if anyone has any great tips/advice that I may have missed, let me know and I will update this accordingly. I will also get pictures up eventually. Right now this is version 1.0 so bare with me if I don't get everything in one shot, I'm typing this as I think and will come back to edit. I really hope this can be a good resource for those interested in making their cars more secure. Let's get started.

First of all, if you're one of those people who believe the saying “if they want it bad enough they're going to get it” please hit the back button on your browser now. I have no time for that kind of mentality or negativity. This is 100% false IMO, and those who believe it are just lazy or jumping on “that” bandwagon. Spend the same amount of drive and dedication you have for your next swap, body part or performance part(s) on your security, it's equally if not more so important.

Layers is the name of the game. Time is a thief's enemy. Set up your car with several layers to keep him occupied. If your would be thief gets through your first layer in a fairly short amount of time, he/she will have another layer to get through, and then another, and then another. Each layer will vary in difficulty for them to bypass, but each will take time regardless. Realizing that they are faced with layers, a thief will either leave your car alone once underway in their attempt at stealing your car or say f*ck it and not even attempt to mess with it in the first place.


This is one of if not the first thing most people get as a measure of security, and as a result most think that this is all they need for their car to be safe. This kind of thinking is a big no-no if you get a regular run-of-the-mill alarm and installation.

Which brand, features etc...Should I get?


Stick with trustworthy brands. Anything from DEI works (Clifford, Viper, Python etc...). Compustar is another good brand, I did hear however that they're customer support is almost non-existent since they're not a U.S. based company and that it's difficult to get replacement parts etc... because of that. This was the case a year or two ago so a lot could have changed by then.
The Prestige lineup by Audiovox are also decent entry-level alarm systems that are usually cheaper than DEI products. Member Exempt here on the squad (also an installer) vouches for them and I can to as I have installed one on my brother's vehicle. They do however claim to work up to 1-mile away but I have yet to see one work at least a 1/2 mile away. Still a pretty good and cheaper brand.

STAY AWAY from cheap, unpopular or no-named brands. I'm sure many have heard of AsianWolf or considered getting one of their alarm systems, and all I can say is that I have warned you about cheap brands and this is no exception, buy at your own risk. Their alarms are just renamed eBay alarms from China that they marked up the price on (greatly). The next time you're on their site, take a look at some of their other products. Take their spy cameras for example. Their car alarm remote spy camera is on “sale” for $79.99, but if you go on eBay and search for one, you will realize that many other China-based sellers are selling the SAME EXACT product for $0.50-5.00 shipped. That should give you an idea of the kind of products you are getting from this retailer and how much of a “great” deal you're actually getting. If you're going to ignore me on this and are still interested in their products, at least save yourself some money and buy them from eBay.

Again, their alarms are just cheap renamed junk from China.

Alarm Features:

At bare minimum your alarm setup should have a 2-way pager and include a some sort of starter kill feature, backup battery, backup siren and hood-pin. Again this is the bare minimum.

-What is a starter kill? This feature disables your starter once your alarm is armed. A starter kill is easily bypassed by a thief, but the great thing about this feature is that it's not limited to just the starter. Think about it. I'll get into more detail later.

-What is a 2-way pager? A 2-way pager is a remote with an LCD screen that informs you on the status of your car (door opened, hood, shock etc...). The range of 2-way systems vary, but I recommend you get one with SST technology, which work up to a mile away (keep in mind current environment plays a role in range). I have a Clifford 50.7X and it does indeed work a mile away.

-What is a backup battery? A backup battery is a miniature 12v battery (similar to one found in an RC car) keeps your alarm powered in the event that a thief pops your hood (or trunk) and disconnects your car's battery.

-What is a backup siren? A backup siren will continue to go off even if the thief disconnects your main siren under your hood. This siren is usually located in the car. It is best to have multiple mini-piezo sirens inside your car (make sure they are DEI branded piezos). These mini sirens are also known as “pain generators” due to the fact that they become unbearable to listen to after a few seconds. I say make sure they are DEI sirens because the cheap generic ones are almost always not as loud or don't work.

-What is a hood-pin?
A hood-pin is a small pin placed in your engine bay which will set off your alarm once your hood is opened.

If you have these and can afford more extra add-ons, then I recommend a tilt sensor, proximity sensor, glass breakage sensor and a GPS tracking system (b4ller st4tus y0!).

-What is a tilt sensor? A tilt sensor will set your alarm off once it has been lifted off the ground. Older tilt sensors couldn't compensate for parking on hills, but newer ones have since fixed this issue.

-What is a proximity sensor? A proximity sensor gives off a warning if someone gets too close to your car or hangs around it for too long. You can adjust it's sensitivity depending on your environment so that your alarm doesn't keep going off and giving you false alarms.

-What is a glass breakage sensor?
A glass breakage sensor is a tiny microphone installed inside your car which picks up the frequency of glass breaking and sets off your alarm. I personally think these are unnecessary since you can adjust the shock sensitivity on your alarm brain so that it will go off for an impact to the windows.

-GPS Tracking – GPS tracking allows you to pinpoint the exact location of your car at any time. I'm sure most have heard about the cell phone GPS trick, and while it is clever, it pales in comparison to real GPS tracking systems. Better systems can give you real-time updating such as current speed, latitude & longitude etc... DEI offers a great GPS system which will call your phone within 3-10 seconds of your alarm going off. You can also set a radius around your car, and once it is moved out of that radius you will get a phone call alerting you.

The drawback to a GPS tracking system is it's cost. The cost of the unit + installation alone may be shocking to some, then there's also the annual fee associated with it. You get a number of “tokens” which you can use to check on the status of your car. Once the tokens are used up, you will have to purchase more.

I know most of you have heard of LoJack which is ok but not as effective as a true GPS tracking system. LoJack acts as a beacon, sending out a signal letting the police know that your car is in the general area. The cops still have to go around searching for it. Police cars have 4+ antennas which guide them in the direction of your car. It's like a hotter/colder way of them finding your car, which is time consuming. A GPS tracker lets you and the police know the exact location of your car, taking most of the guess work out of the equation.

Where and how to get my alarm installed?


Buy your alarm ONLY from an authorized dealer. DO NOT buy it off of eBay even if the seller claims to be an authorized dealer. I have yet to see a REAL authorized dealer of DEI products on eBay. Again, make sure they are an authorized dealer. I can't stress this enough. You have no idea how many horror stories I hear of people buying alarms off of ebay only to have the alarm brain come dead on arrival. When they go to the seller, they either get no response or a run around until they are sent to DEI. Once they go to DEI, they will be rejected because the seller is not actually an authorized dealer.They are now left with a paperweight with wires. I have friends that can vouch for this as well.

Those of you living in California are lucky to have Desmon Margan a.k.a. wrx-killer-sti-eater of Precision Mobile Soundwerks as an authorized Clifford dealer. He is a guru when it comes to alarms and stealth installs. I recommend him to CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS ONLY and DO NOT recommend him at all for anyone living anywhere else outside of that state. He is a true master of what he does but his customer support for long-distance customers is horrendous. Only deal with him if you can actually meet up with him in person.

For everyone else, look in your area for automotive audio shops as they are usually authorized dealers of at least one brand. It is also ok to buy your alarm from Best Buy, Fry's etc... just don't have it installed there.

Well now you've picked up an alarm (and related accessories hopefully) and are now ready to have it installed. I highly recommend you do the install yourself. This has many benefits. First and foremost, you will know exactly what you did and won't be left guessing what wire spliced into what and will always be able to go back and trace a problem if one were to occur. Doing your install also gets you a lot more familiar with your car and will build up your courage to do more work yourself. Believe me, when I first got my car I was afraid to even pop off the covers for the speakers in the doors. Now I have completely dismantled my car twice, and when I say dismantle, I mean to a bare shell lol.

As long as you're patient, at least a little mechanically inclined, can understand a wiring diagram (not hard at all) and can solder (again not hard at all), you can do your own install.

If you are still too scared to do your own install, I suggest you take it to a REPUTABLE shop specializing in automotive audio and electronics. Usually these shops are authorized dealers of a certain alarm brand so you should be able to work out a deal with purchase and installation. Make sure they are an authorized dealer though. Ask them if they can do a STEALTH install.

-What is a stealth install?
A stealth install is when your alarm is installed in a way that a thief won't be able to find or trace any of the alarm wiring, and as a result not able to disarm the alarm. A shop that sells car audio equipment and alarms and such could probably do this. This kind of install is expensive though and a good reputable shop would probably do it for no less than $400 for the install alone. That's one reason why I recommend doing it yourself; you save money. It is kind of a daunting and time consuming task if you've never done it before, but again it is simple enough if you take your time, can use a soldering gun and can read a wiring diagram.

I don't really like bringing this kind of work to a shop however since someone else (more than likely a complete stranger) essentially knows everything about your security system (how it's set up, capabilities etc...) Again, if you plan to bring your car to a shop, make sure they're trustworthy and reputable. A good shop will listen to your concerns, and let you be as involved in the design and implementation of your ideas as possible and within reason. They will not try to sell you anything you don't need.

Stay away from retail chains like Best Buy, Fry's, PepBoys etc... when it comes to installing your alarm.

Some may be thinking “but Brian, my buddy spent $120 on a sweet alarm system installed at Best Buy, it's such a well known and popular retailer, plus they installed his alarm in 30 minutes, they've got to be good.”

Think about this for a minute, maybe 2. Best Buy and other similar retailers are like McDonalds. Their concern is about numbers; get as many customers in and out as possible. They want to get your car in, do the install as fast as possible, and then move on to the next car. A lot of the time, the installers don't put much effort into their installs and cut a lot of corners (if that's even possible given the quality of their installs in the first place) and it definitely shows.

For those of you who got their alarm installed at Best Buy, the next time you get into your car take a little look under your dash where the pedals are. See that awkwardly mounted black box with all of the wires sticking out of it? That's your alarm brain. If you can see it, a thief WILL see it, which means your alarm is pretty much worthless.

A stealth install is a must when considering adding an alarm to your car.

Now we've got the whole alarm thing squared away for the most part, let's talk about other forms of security and their usefulness in the whole scheme of things.

-The Club:
Probably the most well-known anti-theft device out there. This is that red thingy that locks into your steering wheel and is supposed to prevent a would-be thief from turning your steering wheel, therefore not be able to drive away with your car. This can be bought at any auto store (Autozone, PepBoys, Strauss etc...).

This device however is easily defeated in two different ways. With the first method, a thief can easily use a hacksaw to cut through your steering and slip the club off. The second method involves a thief taking a hammer and going to town on the base of the club until it breaks free. A lot less subtle but effective nonetheless.

Verdict: The club should only be used a layer of security and not be relied upon as your only means of security. It is easy to put on and take off so there's not much hassle to use it. You could also look into “The Claw” which is a variation of the Club and is a bit harder to get through.

-The Autolock

This is getting a lot more popular as people begin to realize that the club isn't as effective as was once thought. The Autolock is a club for your pedals (clutch or brake). It locks in place and prevents a thief from pressing down on the clutch or brake. Again this can be purchased at any auto store.

Again this can be bypassed in several different ways. I can go into detail as to how but for the sake of not giving any low-level, 5-cent thief any ideas I'll keep this info to myself. If you guys really want me to say how just say the word and I will.

Verdict: Even more effective than the club, but is still bypassed by more skilled thieves and should be used as a layer of security. It is a good layer however and is no more of a hassle to put on than the club.

-The AlphaLock/wheelboot(s)
There are several kinds of wheelboots out there, the most popular being the AlphaLock. This device locks onto one of your wheels and prevents it from moving. Some go as far as puncturing your tire if the thief attempts to move the car with it on.

These can be bypassed, but the ease of which is determined by the design of the boot. The AlphaLock is the easiest to bypass and can be done with something as simple as a BIC pen for a professional thief. Usually it takes more effort from your more common thieves. If a thief can't get the AlphaLock off your wheel, they can easily jack up your car and remove the wheel completely and replace it with another. For this reason I recommend using a wheelboot that covers up the lugnuts rendering them inaccessible to a thief.

Verdict: Wheelboots are a really great layer of security, just make sure you get one that covers up your lugnuts. If you can't obtain one that covers up your lugs and have to use one like the Alphalock, I highly recommend that you invest in atleast two types of locking lugnuts (OEM Honda lug locks and Gorilla locking lugs are a good combo). While they are a great layer, they do take a bit more effort to put on and take off due to their size. The AlphaLock is the easiest to handle.

-Detachable steering wheel

Originally used in racecars, this feature has now gained popularity among enthusiasts as a theft deterrent.

Since the hubs for these wheels are mass-produced and don't carry any unique keying, a thief can walk with his own steering wheel and attach it to your hub. This can be blocked by purchasing a hub lock. A REALLY determined thief could use a big*ass channel lock on the hub lock but it would end up being a long, slow and difficult process of trying to turn the wheels effectively.

Verdict: A great and effective layer of security, but can be expensive for some. One will have to buy the hub, quick-release, steering wheel and hub lock separately. They are easy to use and quick to put on and take off. I highly advise that you use NRG, Buddy Club or Works-Bell quick-release setups and stay clear of generic “made in China” knockoffs. Sure they're a lot cheaper, but I wouldn't want to be cruising down the highway at 65mph only to have my steering wheel detach from the hub all of a sudden and not be able to lock back into place.

Who would have thought a simple household item could be used as an effective layer of security? A padlock can be used at the base of the steering column at the universal joint to lock it from turning.

Padlocks can be cut if a thief is able to maneuver a bolt cutter down there (incredibly hard for them to fit one down there and get leverage). Also, it may be a little harder for those with bad backs to get down to the base of the steering column.

Verdict: A great and effective little-known layer of security, but the difficulty of access may make it harder for some to put it on and take it off. I advise that you get a padlock that is made of harder steel that is not so easy to cut. Make sure It's also long enough. For added security, lock your steering wheel all the way to one side making the OEM steering wheel lock engage in the process, then apply the padlock to steering column.

-Sedan Rear-Door Handles
Replacing your door handles with the rear-door handles from a 4 door disables lock-picking.

Rear door handles may be difficult to obtain used sometimes or if the dealer doesn't have them (and could be expensive if they do). This could potentially be a PITA for a locksmith if you lock yourself out of your car. Also changing your door handles still don't prevent jimmying.

Verdict: A subtle but good layer. I'd focus on better layers first before doing this.

-Removing ECU

Some people remove their ECU when parking their car. No ECU = car no worky.

Thieves carry spare ECUs. Also, the constant plugging and unplugging of the ECU can damage the plugs and pins. A way around this is by creating a quick-release harness out of the ECU harness sort of like a RyWire MIL-Spec harness, just make sure you know what you're doing before attempting this.

Verdict: Potentially a good layer, but shouldn't be done often since repeated use of this method could result in damaged ecu plugs and pins. Another alternative to removing your ECU is removing your spark plug wires. Most of the time thieves don't walk around with extra spark plug wires.

-Autolok Shifter Lock
Not many people are familiar with this anti-theft device and usually mistake it for the Autolock clutch lock. This device is made and sold in the UK and is placed over your e-brake and locks onto your shifter, locking your car in gear and securing the e-brake. A would be thief can't roll your car if it's in gear with the e-brake engaged.

Though not commonly encountered here in the U.S. By thieves, it can be bypassed with some thinking and effort. Again, I'm not going to go into details. Also, since it's made and sold in the UK, obtaining one is a bit of a challenge. Your best bet if searching on eBay. Sometimes there will be one up for sale, sometimes there will be five, and other times there will be none. You just have to keep checking. When you do find one, make sure that the seller ships to the U.S. since 9 times out of 10 the seller is in the UK.

Verdict: A great layer as it adds the surprised “WTF is this?" factor since it's not a commonly encountered anti-theft device. Easy to apply to your e-brake and shifter so setup time is minimal.

The Ravelco is a round female plug that plugs into a male plug with pins installed somewhere in you car. It has several black wires wrapped in a steel sleeve to prevent a thief from gaining access to the wires. This device prevents your car from being started without the female plug (which you carry with you on your keys).

This device is very expensive and a similar device can be made for a lot less. The company prides themselves on claiming that not one vehicle with the Ravelco installed has been stolen but this is a very false statement.

Verdict: you guys should pretty much know how I feel about the Ravelco already lol. It's a highly overpriced, overrated kill-switch. For more info look at this thread:

If you have money to blow away on one, go right ahead. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't really want to spend $400+ on something that can be easily made for about $20-30.

-Locking Lug Nuts
These are lug nuts that require special keys to remove. These are effective at preventing your wheels from being stolen or from a thief swapping out a wheel if you have a non-lug covering wheel boot installed.

Generic locking lug nuts found at Autozone are easily bypassed since 9 times out of 10 the keys are the same for each brand. A thief will see that you have “Brand X” locking lug nuts and will just look for his “Brand X” key which he bought at Autozone. Either that or they can just hammer on a socket to get it to fit. Also, a lot of lightweight performance lug nuts don't have a locking key, so your selection on those will be limited as well.

-Verdict: Good layer for protecting your wheels. Best thing to do would be to use a set of OEM locking lug nuts (no two sets are the same) in combination with another set of locking lug nuts so that way you have at least 2 different types on each wheel.

-Window Genie/Anti-theft window film

This is a clear window tint film that prevents glass from falling apart into your car in the event of a smash and grab. It acts as a binder and keeps the broken glass together so that it is still acts as a barrier preventing a thief from getting inside your car.

This is mainly used to prevent a smash and grab burglaries. Most car thieves don't want to draw attention to themselves and will avoid smashing your windows (unless they're really desperate), so this won't really stop a thief who is after your car.

Verdict: Great defense against smash and grab thieves, but not effective against actually protecting your car from being stolen. This is a great layer if you're worried about having your head unit stolen. This is a good layer to round out your overall security.

-Jimmy Jammer

This prevents a thief from slipping a "Jimmy" through your window and unlocking your car. Very basic concept and effective as thieves still use Jimmys to gain access to the inside of cars.

These are a little more involved to install so those who are a bit less mechanically inclined may have a difficult time installing these.

Verdict: Good and effective layer of security.

-Re-routed hood release

On Hondas, it is easy for a thief to pop open the hood as the hood-release cable runs through the fender well and into the car. Relocating the cable into the engine bay makes it a lot more difficult for a thief to pop open your hood.

Again this is a little more involved to do so it may be a little difficult for some.

Verdict: Good and somewhat easy layer of security to add. One of the first things that should be done to your car as it doesn't cost anything to do.

-Kill Switches (Now we get to the fun part lol)
A kill switch is a switch that is able to cut power/signal/grounding path to a component in your car. The most common type of kill switch is a fuel pump kill which cuts power to your fuel pump.

Kill switches must be hidden or stealth in order to be effective. One very well-hidden kill switch is better than several poorly executed kill switches.

Depending on how you wire up your kill switch, it may be very easy for a thief to bypass, or extremely difficult to nearly impossible. It all depends on your imagination and creativity.

The problem with a fuel pump kill is that it is the most common kind of kill, and for an experienced thief with good understanding of automotive wiring, it can be easily bypassed no matter where you hid the switch. This was the case with a starter kill. Once it was exposed how easily it could be bypassed, everyone moved to doing a fuel kill, but that is quickly becoming as effective as the starter kill.

Don't get me wrong, a fuel pump kill is still a good layer, but shouldn't be your only kill switch. A more effective kill switch is one that kills multiple components (fuel pump, injectors, starter etc...). An effective way of doing this is by doing a main relay kill for example. There's so much I can and want to explain about this, but at the same time don't want to give too much giving info to thieves.

I always love seeing well-executed kill switches. Here are some examples of kill switches I've seen or done:

-Head unit wired up so that once the faceplate is removed, car will not start.

-Kill wired into a sequence of stock buttons. Car won't start unless cruise control button and a few other console buttons are pressed down.

-Detachable steering wheel set up in a way that car won't start unless that specific wheel and quick-release is used.

-Car has hidden magnetic reed switch located under a panel somewhere in the car. The car won't start unless the reed switch is swiped with a magnet you carry on your keys. (Look for my writeup on this immobilizer soon).

With at least a general understanding of automotive wiring and a good imagination there's so much you can do. I highly recommend reading “Automotive Wiring and Electrical Systems” by Tony Candela. It's very well laid out, easy to read and very informative. This book is an amazing resource and great addition to your book collection.

For more detailed info on stealth installs and kill switches take a look at this site:

The ULTIMATE product out there in car theft protection with a true 0% failure rate is this:

^^^I'm currently saving up for one of these bad boys.

Ok, that's it for now. Like I said I am typing this up as I think and my mind is pretty much burned out now lol. This is good enough for about 2 hours of work lol. Like I said I will be editing this and making additions as time goes by with the help from you guys of course, but I think this is a good start for now. I apologize if there are any grammatical or spelling errors, I'll reread this over and make corrections accordingly. Hopefully at least one person finds this useful, then I guess my job done lol.

Let me know what you guys think of this.
EJ8 Squad Member #463
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246 R
sicc and very informative!!!!!!! Everyone needs to read this. Oh and i'm saving up for a trunk monkey too!

+1 Rep
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Wow rep for this write up!
Great write up!

I vote for sticky!
Very nice. +1 for including all the basics. Rep given! Mods please sticky.
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Nice write up Brian.

I was thinking and this is simply a joke, but have you guys ever played Resident Evil or Dino Crisis, where you had like 10 switches or so to get to the next level, and some of them had to be off so you had to guess and it took at least half an hour unless you had the game guide.
Thanks for the reps guys.

(07-13-2011, 11:44 AM)ruskisky Wrote:  Nice write up Brian.

I was thinking and this is simply a joke, but have you guys ever played Resident Evil or Dino Crisis, where you had like 10 switches or so to get to the next level, and some of them had to be off so you had to guess and it took at least half an hour unless you had the game guide.

Lol that's the exact kind ofprocess you want to put a thief through, keep them guessing until they say f**k it and give up lol. Resident Evil 2 made got me so frustrated with that puzzle I pretty much never played it again lol.
EJ8 Squad Member #463
VSM Crew Member #2
C & M Advanced Tuning - RedPanda Media - Instagram: @brianjoachim
246 R
Great read, I had never thought of any of those kill switches you mentioned...I'll have to talk to my buddy about this when we do my alarm install. Definitely worthy of sticky-ing, consider it done Big Grin
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After thoroughly reading this thread a few times today, I have come to the conclusion to just get a whole bunch of monkeys, stash them in my trunk, wire up some sort of switch that when you break my window or open my door, the monkeys pour out.

Oh and they're on those leashes where the perimeter they can inhabit is my car. If they jump out, they start having seizures from 50,000 volts.

PS. After seeing the James Bond: The World Is Not Enough, I want to make my car electrocute people.
Good info man... As an installer, I have nothing to add at the moment, you pretty much explained everything... Very good job!

I would add that I will personally vouch for "Prestige" alarm systems made by Audiovox... They are a cheaper brand (price wise) than DEI, but they have awesome support, very easy to install, and have excellent features aswell... I have a DEI Viper in my CRX, but the EJ is getting a Prestige unit...
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