If you've recently had the unsettling experience of unexpectedly setting off your car alarm, you may feel quite embarrassed and even wrongfully accused. After all, the alarm is only supposed to go off if the car is being stolen, right? Opening your Mini Cooper's door with your key shouldn't set off the alarm in normal circumstances. If it does, you'll need to find out what's malfunctioning so you can repair or replace it. Here are four common reasons your Mini Cooper's anti-theft system may be giving a false alarm.
1. Water damage to BC1
Your Mini Cooper's body control unit, or BC1, may have water damage. The delicate electrical components of this module are very sensitive and even a little water can cause a big problem. Because the alarm system is electrical, it can be affected by this water damage. The good news is that with this kind of electrical problem you may not have to replace anything. If only a drop or two of water leaked in and there's no corrosion damage, all you have to do is wait for it to dry out and try to prevent water incursions in the future.
2. Door latch malfunction
In a malfunctioning alarm situation you may need to repair or even replace the rotary latches, or door lock actuators. These are found in both the driver's side and the passenger's side doors. A faulty latch can make the car think someone is trying to gain illegal access through the windows. If this is the cause of your trouble, you'll probably notice that each time your alarm goes off the windows will roll down just a bit and then up again. The interior lights may also flash on and off.
3. Hood switch
Your car's alarm is designed to go off if a would-be car thief tampers with your car's hood. Because of this, a faulty hood switch can set the alarm off by giving a false positive for an open hood while the system is armed. If the car is behaving like the door is open but you know neither door latch is faulty, the hood switch may be at fault. Though it may not be the first thing to cross your mind when wondering why your car is honking at you ceaselessly, it's often easy to tell when your hood switch is faulty. A warning light on the dashboard tells you that your hood is open, even though it's not.
4. Old or defunct siren
An old horn, or siren, may be giving you trouble. When the alarm siren needs replacing, it sometimes goes off and won't stop. If you've checked each of the other three possibilities listed to no avail, this may be the root of your alarm troubles. Thankfully, changing the siren is an easy fix.
Ideally, using this list to troubleshoot will help you discover and remedy your car's problem. But if not, eliminating these four issues can still help you narrow down the list of possibilities. If your alarm system is suffering from a less common problem than those listed here, you'll probably find it most time-effective to have your mechanic, one like Sterling Service Inc, help you diagnose and repair it. Remember to tell your mechanic what you've done to tide you over until repairs. For example, if you've pulled out the fuse for the hood switch so the alarm stops blaring every time you drive it, your mechanic needs to know.