Lojack for a new truck

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Mar 3, 2006
I just bought a new Ford F-250 xlt, and it came with security package for the factory. I was offer Lojack for $300, but my wife would like add an after market alarm with the remote entry and horn alarm. Is Lojack any good, does it work in small towns as well as big cities, does is work as well as the dealers say or does it work at all.
Lo-jack works well but it is a vehicle RECOVERY system rather than a theft prevention system.  The alarms you describe MAY scare off a would-be thief, but only the rank amateurs. If a pro wants your vehicle, I doubt if they will help any at all.

Is theft a major problem in your home area?  It is not in campgrounds and such.
Well when it comes to vehicle recovery systems (LOJACK is a recovery system, not a security system) as the best B&E auto man at the Detroit Freeway post of the Michigan State Police, also a dispatcher therein, I perhaps am the man to answer you.

First, as noted LOJACK won't stop anyone from swiping your wheels... It just helps you get them back, sometimes

There are basically 5 systems I'm familure with.. Lojack is one of them, and is unique, here is how it works.

When you discover your truck is no longer where you parked it, you notify the police, they process your report and hopefully promptly eneter the vehicle in their statewide police computer and into the National Criminal Information Center computer (NCIC)  Lojack monitors NCIC entries and when it sees the unique Vehicle Identification Number of your vehicle, it sends a radio signal to your truck, (hopefully) telling it to alarm itself.  The truch then begins broadcasting an occasional BEEP, which contains it's unique LOJACK identification number.  If a police car equiped with a LOJACK receiver happens to pass close enough the receiver in the police car gives out a signal (Beep of it's own) and displays your ID number.  Then good things happen.

However if you are in an area that does not subscribe to LOJACK (Not all police departments are equiped to track) or if there is no lojack activation tower in your area... It does not work.

But the major shortcoming of Lojack is that YOU have to discover your truck gone

I believe with LOJACK you pay a one time fee (instalation)

Now the other systems include ON GUARD (Ford) ON STAR (GM), Teletrack (Not sure who owns that now, possibly cingular) and Cingular's vehicle recovery system.  With all these systems you pay an instalation fee and then a monthly monitoring fee (After an initial FREE period)

For the most part these are all cell phone based but may use other technology (Such as GPS) as well, in these cases the system is a combination recovery and security system.  Here is how they work, NOTE: some systems have "Options" I'm going to describe the two I know best, ON-Guard/Star, which are nearly identicall in this case (Some of the features are options on the other systems)

When the theif starts your car in a non-authorized manner (Without a key, or without disabling the on-board security/alarm system) it automatically activates the ON-Guard/Star system, the system then attempts to contact it's monitoring stationg.  The station, which has your contact info on file, will then attempt to contact you,  Since they know the location where you car was parked (Home, Church, Doctor, Store, Airport,Theater parking lots) they have an idea of where to call, or they can try your cell... If they succeed you can advise if the car is moving with, or without permission.  If not they call the police for you and instruct you on where to make the report.

If they are unable to contact you, and the person in the car does not have the proper password,, they call the cops

They have tracking report, showing where you car is every few seconds, they can tell the police and when the police are in position and give them the word they can lock  your car (truck in your case) and kill the engine


Man owned a Caddalic Esclade (Super SUV) and it was stolen.. Local PD put out a BOL (Be On Lookout) and I read it at least 3 or 4 times,,, no place did they mention On-Star.  I sent them back a message which went somethin like

Uh, you know that all Esclades come with On-Star, among other things it's a vehicle recovery system 1-800-xxx-yyyy (or whatever the phoen number is) less than 15 minutes later we knew where the Esclade was parked. and in another 15 we had recovered it.

Other advantages of On-Guard/Star are "i'm lost" service (Since they can pinpoint you they can direct you) and medical assistance (Panic button), they also monitor the vheicle sensors for air bag deployment and can call you, and if you dont' answer the police and EMS should you crash.  As a police dispatcher I've gotten more than one of these calls.

If you lock your keys in the truck, they can help you.. If you forget where you parked, no problem.

Just one word of caution .... If you forget to pay.. They assist the repo folks too
As a P.D. officer in Texas I have personally had a Lo-jack hit while on patrol twice. Both times it took a long time to locate. One occasion took me about 2 hours. The signal bounced around making it very difficult but i did find the truck stripped. My compadres who have looked for cars with On Star that were called in had trouble locating them. The On Star is not as accurate as advertised. Both devices are better than nothing when trying to locate your vehicle.
The best prevention from auto theft and burglary is to own "beater" and don't leave your laptops, purses, briefcases, etc laying out in the open and take the detachable face off your stereo.
Not to get off-thread, but is there a simple kill switch for injected engines like the Ford E-450?
Where would it be installed? Are there kits made for this?
Seems to me if the crooks couldn't start your rig in the first place, they would move on.
Just about all cars are fuel injected these days, so the answer has to be yes. From what little I know about them, there is a 12V power line that goes to the injector pump as well as one to the ignition circuit, so that the kill activates/deactivates both igntion and the injectors

A quick Google turned up numerous hits on "ignition kill switch fuel injection" but the few articles I quickly scanned through were comprehensive alarm systems with wires to door latches, hood releases, etc as well as igition kills.
copnurse said:
The best prevention from auto theft and burglary is to own "beater" and don't leave your laptops, purses, briefcases, etc laying out in the open and take the detachable face off your stereo.

My partner at work had a "Beater" they kept stealing his battery so he used a chain and padlock to lock the hood down.

They came in with a tow truck and took the whole car.  right out of the hotel parking lot where he was staying (Same hotel where the department put up troopers when they first moved to Detroit)

Oh well.

I have worked with both Lojack and On-Star recoveries.. And it was much easier with On-Star  In our cases with On-Star we drive straight to the vehicle.. Lojack it took a long time to find them.

The other advantage/disadvantage of On-Star is the control center can disable the vehicle.. It's an advantage if it is stolen, it is a disadvantage if you are late on your payments!
I have seen everything under the sun for kill swiches. From hidden switches that have to be thrown to start the car to normal dash switches having in certain positions before the engine will start. It all depends on your creativity.
If I remember correctly, John, you are in the Detorit area, one of the car theft capitols of the world.  I would hope and expect that ALL the vehicle retrieval systems are in their best form there. And since cellular coverage is excellent there already, cell-based system should be quite good. In lesser metro areas, the advantage might go to whichever system had the best coverage from their transceiver network in that particular area and both systems must have areas that are completely without coverage.  I have no idea what arrangements Lojack has made to transmit their enabling signal, but I believe they provide the receiver equipment for at least some of the police vehicles. The decision as to whether "some" is "one", "many" or "most" of the vehicles in each department probably depends on Lojack'sr judgement as to how many customers they have in each area. That's my conjecture, anyway. I'm sure Lojack would have us believe it is universal. I don't know if any police department has purchased Lojack receivers on their own, but I suspect budget considerations make that number a tiny one at best.  Maybe in Bloomfield Hills?
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