The world of car security no longer just includes pre-installed alarms. Today, companies use the latest tech to provide new options to increase vehicle protection. Mobile management of car security systems has created possibilities for remote engine start and for tracking information like location and speed history.
So, how do you navigate the different car security app options currently on the market? Some require costly hardware installations into your vehicle, while others use cheap and easily-self installed equipment like spare mobile phones or modules. Below, we’ve rounded up information on five car security app options.
Car Security Pro/Car Security Pro Client for Android
The Car Security Pro app can turn any Android phone into a car security tool. Here’s how it works: you download the application onto an Android phone that isn’t the phone you use in everyday life. You then leave it in a hidden place inside your car. Through the app, you connect that phone to your usual cell phone, which allows you to communicate with the installed phone to enable and disable security features.
When the security app is armed — which you can either do by pushing a button on the phone inside the car or remotely by texting “START” from your regular cell phone — you’ll receive text message alerts if your car is stolen or hit when stationery. If you download a second application onto your everyday phone — Car Security Pro Client — you’ll be able to communicate with the Android phone via shortcut SMS commands, as opposed to typing out full ones. SMS communication (either full-length or shortcut) allows remote arm and disarm, and lets you check the status and location of the vehicle.
The app can also call you from the phone stationed inside your car so you can hear any inside activity.
Car Security Pro/Car Security Pro clients are a great option for car security for those not looking to install any hardware into the actual car, as the older Android phone is the main piece of technology. It’s ideal for those not looking to spend a lot of money, but add a little more security to their vehicle.
The Python SmartStart app works with installed Python security hardware to increase security and smart capabilities of your vehicle. Getting the system up and running requires three primary steps: download the Smartstart app onto your smartphone, get Python hardware and module installed, and set up your account, which includes choosing a service plan.
There are two module options: SmartStart and SmartStart GPS. SmartStart works with your mobile phone to allow remote capabilities like car start, locking and unlocking, and trunk release.
SmartStart GPS includes those features and adds others, including the ability to get your car’s current GPS location and speed. SmartStart GPS also has a SmartFence attribute, which allows you create a virtual fence around your car and receive notifications if it leaves that area.
For the system to work, you have to pay for a service plan that allows your remote device to communicate with the car via a cellular network. The Python website includes multiple plan options, and also has a handy locator for places near you that can perform hardware installations. Vehicles can be connected to more than one phone.
If you’re looking to test out the app before shelling out the money required for hardware installations and service plans, you can download and check it out on your phone beforehand. The service’s CarPark and Parking Meter features can even operate without any external hardware.
Systems retail at around $280, and service plans begin at $70.
[For more car add-ons worth looking into, check out our article Accessories To Boost Your Car Security.]
Similarly to Python, DroneMobile operates with a combination of phone app, products and service plan.
DroneMobile offers a variety of capabilities including remote start, keyless entry, and GPS tracking. It can also send alerts to your mobile device if the vehicle’s alarm is set off.
The system can be connected to multiple phones for full family use, and the app can be downloaded for iOS or Android devices.
DroneMobile offers three full-system product options. The $500 system option includes remote start, security and GPS tracking options. A slightly cheaper option at $400 allows for either just remote start and GPS features, or just security and GPS features.
There are three available service plans — from approximately $6-$25 a month — that all come with a free 30-day trial.
Viper SmartStart has comparable features to Python and DroneMobile, and is considered a leading brand in the industry. Users can increase vehicle protection with a combination of hardware, phone app, and cellular service plan.
Viper features include remote car start, locking and unlocking, and vehicle tracking capabilities. The car alarm system costs around $700, but customers may be able to find it online for closer to a few hundred dollars. Service plans begin at $70 a year.
Like Car Security Pro, CarLock is another great option for those looking to keep costs down and avoid any professional installation.
CarLock works by connecting an app to a CarLock device you can easily order on Amazon for $60 and self-install in your car. There is both a corresponding mobile and web app.
With the system enabled, you can receive notifications for when your car leaves its locked location, when the engine is started, or if the CarLock device is removed from the car.
The app can also track any extreme acceleration, hard braking and sharp turns — especially ideal for those looking to monitor activity of teen drivers.
Service plans run at $10 a month, and the app is available for Android and iOS.