Three years ago, I posted about an embarrassing incident when the central locking/ security alarm system of my car went kaput and the alarm went off continuously. When I look back, this has happened to me three times in three years. If you have a car security system installed, then it's useful to know what to do in case of emergency. Because the emergency involves a loudly wailing siren that goes off unpredictably every hour, neighbours whose sleep is disturbed and general stress for you. My advice in this post pertains only to Nippon, which is a Maruti Genuine Accessory installed by all Maruti dealers.
1. Ask your dealer for the Nippon Service Center number for your city and enter it in your phone, you are going to need it one day. The Maruti helpline does not give the number for third party accessory providers, only the dealer will.
2. The number of 'beeps' of the car alarm will alert you to a problem
When all is well, one beep = lock and two beeps = unlock
Any other sound indicates a problem, and indicates that the alarm system needs to be re-set.
3. If your car alarm goes off repeatedly, at random time intervals, then you can try any of the following steps
- Unlock and then lock the car using only the key.
- With the door of the car open, press the 'alarm' button inside the car constantly till it lights up red. Then shut the door, lock and unlock using the remote. Now the alarm should go into 'mute' mode.
- Switch on the ignition, press the alarm button inside the car, then switch off the ignition. Repeat this cycle seven times to re-set the alarm.
After each of these steps, check if you are getting the beep sounds described in Point 2
4. If you are comfortable with tinkering around inside the bonnet, identify the wire that connects to the siren (it's behind the battery) and pull it out. This will make your siren go mute, but the lights will still continue to flash, draining the battery. So it's not a permanent solution, and you will need to call Nippon Service.
5. If all else fails, disconnect your battery. The siren will not function without power supply.
For an immediate emergency, and for performing step 4, you can call Maruti On-road Service at 1800-4200. They will send someone within a few hours to troubleshoot your problem, at a basic service charge of Rs. 450. This may be waived off if you are still under warranty. Nippon Service center is harder to reach, but in my experience, they always respond within 12 hours. You are covered by warranty for three years, after that the service charge is Rs.225 per visit.
For me, each of the following situations has triggered the alarm system to misbehave, so watch out carefully for problems if you have had similar experiences:
1. The car was locked with the remote, but unlocked with the key or vice versa. The lock and unlock mode MUST be the same, or the alarm gets activated.
2. Misbehaviour of the remote due to low battery, damage etc. This may lead you to do what is described in Point 1. Carry the spare remote with you on long distance journeys!
3.Damage to the bonnet, or boot. Both bonnet and boot are equipped with sensors that get activated if they do not shut properly. This may happen out of carelessness or because of a dent.
4. There are different grades of sensitivity in alarm settings. At the extreme setting, the alarm will go off if a hand touches the car (or a crow sits on it!). Make sure that you test the car after you first fit the security alarm system. Hit all surfaces a few times with your hands and check if it triggers an alarm. Insist on a full demo from the dealer. Especially a demo on disarming the system. This may save you heartache later.