The Chevrolet Corvette is one of the most iconic American sports cars.
Like any other car, the alarm system can go off for seemingly mysterious reasons.
If your Corvette’s alarm keeps going off, this article is here to help.
Table of Contents
Why Does My Chevrolet Corvette Alarm Keep Going Off?
A Chevrolet Corvette alarm is usually triggered by a faulty door switch or hood switch – these sensors are prone to failure from wear and tear. Other common causes include key fob issues, incorrectly installed aftermarket alarm, 12V battery issues, and triggering of the internal motion sensors.
1. Faulty Door Switches
Faulty door switches are a very common cause of random alarms on the Corvette, these switches monitor the open/closed status of the door – if damaged, faulty or dirty they can send false readings thereby triggering the alarm.
Door switches are a common point of failure as they are subject to wear and tear due to the doors being continually opened/closed/slammed etc. Especially the driver’s door.
The door latches and door switches can get dirty too which can cause issues, so the first thing you should do is give all door latches a good clean and spray some WD-40 on the latch, and work it in to see if that helps.
Also check the wiring leading from the body into the door for any signs of damage, it should be in a flexible hose on the hinge side of the door.
If you suspect the alarm issues are linked to the door switch, ask your dealer to run a diagnostic test to try and pinpoint the fault.
“One of your door switches is getting wet and shorting out. On the C5, the door switch is located inside the door, on the latch mechanism. When the door is closed, the circuit is open. When a door is opened, the circuit is closed (completes a path to ground). So all it takes is that one wire or switch to get wet and suddenly it shorts to ground, and the BCM then “thinks” a door has been opened, and the alarm sets.” – CorvetteForum.com
“My first guess would be a bad switch on your driver’s door lock. It could also be a bad connection or wire between that door lock switch and your security module, which is located up under the dash on the passenger side…” – c4vetteregistry.com
“It could be the latches because sometimes when I’m driving the ‘door ajar’ light comes on and I hear the locks cycling. Damn electrical problems…” – DigitalCorvettes.com
2. Faulty Hood Switch
A faulty hood switch is a common cause of unwanted alarms for Chevrolet vehicles (Corvette included).
The switch is typically embedded in the hood latch.
The small electronic device is designed to detect whether the hood is open or shut and is an important part of the car’s alarm system – if it is broken, loose or dirty it can send false readings to the car’s computer thus triggering the alarm.
- Pop the hood and locate the hood switch.
- Check for any obvious damage, rust or loose connections.
- Give the hood switch a clean too (use contact cleaner), as dirt and grime can cause issues.
- You can test the switch with a continuity tester.
If you are well-versed mechanically, you can buy a new hood switch online and replace it yourself. Otherwise, we’d advise visiting your local mechanic.
3. Interior Motion Sensor
Some Corvette models are equipped with an interior motion sensor. When the alarm is armed the interior sensor can be triggered by bugs in the cabin, passengers sitting in the car or pets left in the vehicle.
If you suspect the interior sensor is the cause of the alarm issues then try disabling the interior sensors for a few days to see if the alarm problems cease.
You can also try spraying some bug spray in the cabin too.
You can deactivate the interior sensors by pressing the following button:
“I use that button all the time….ever since the alarm went off with my wife in the car while I was making a quick stop at a store.” – MidEngineCorvetteForum.com
“Any chance you had the window open and the interior motion sensor was tripped by a bat, large moth, etc?” – StringrayForums.com
What Does The Manual Say?
Intrusion and Inclination Sensors Disable Switch
It is recommended that the intrusion and inclination sensors be deactivated if pets are left in the vehicle or if the vehicle is being transported.
When the roof panel is off, or the convertible top is down, the intrusion system is turned off.
With the vehicle turned off, press the off button (below) on the overhead console, next to OnStar.
The indicator light will display momentarily, indicating that these sensors have been disabled until the next time the alarm system is armed.
4. Faulty Windshield Latch
For convertible variants, it is possible that the windshield latch may not be fully closing, prompting the sensor to signal to the alarm computer that the vehicle is open when the alarm is armed.
Since this is largely a mechanical issue, the best method to have this fixed is to visit your nearest service center or trusted mechanic as soon as possible.
Here is what one owner mentioned on CorvetteForum.com:
“Went to the dealership and the tech found that the right side front windshield latch for the convertible was not engaged fully. So, the car thought someone was breaking into her…”
5. Loose or Bad 12V Battery Connections
Loose or bad 12V battery connections can cause a number of problems, including triggering the alarm of your Corvette.
A bad connection can be caused by dirt or gunk buildup.
The terminals may have come loose from driving and vibrations etc.
Make sure the engine is off before doing any work on the battery.
- Inspect the battery and look for any signs of damage, dirt build-up, rust, or corrosion.
- Disconnect the battery and loosen the nuts on the clamps using a wrench.
- Remove the negative clamp, marked with a – symbol first.
- Clean the terminals with a toothbrush dipped in a mix of baking soda and water, rinse with distilled water and dry with a cloth.
- Reconnect the battery, ensuring tight connections.
“ … from what I remember, that was before I found out my battery was leaking acid on my wires and such so maybe you should check that?” – CorvetteForum.com
“ … Also check behind the battery at where the harness exits the firewall. I have seen that area get real corroded and cause electrical problems, even fires.” – DigitalCorvettes.com
6. Drained 12V Battery
A faulty or weakened car battery causes a variety of problems, including accidentally triggering the Corvette alarm.
The best thing to do is take your Corvette for a battery health check, these are usually quite inexpensive or sometimes free such as at AutoZone.
Or you can test it yourself with a multimeter (see the guide at the end of this article).
A healthy 12V battery should be about 12.6 to 12.8 volts while a weakened battery reads below 12 volts.
“A bad battery can make a surprising number of things happen. Maybe it has a bad cell.” – StringrayForums.com
7. Key Fob Running on Low Battery
A common cause of mysterious alarms on the Corvette is a low key fob battery. Similarly, if the fob is dirty or dusty this can also cause alarm issues.
Give the inside of your fob a clean and replace the battery to eliminate this possible cause. It’s worth spending a bit extra for a good brand of battery.
- To open your key fob, stick your prying tool into the slit or gap between the two halves of the outer casing and gently apply upward pressure to pop open the device.
- Remove the battery.
- Give the key fob a good clean to remove any dirt or fluff – a cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol should do the trick.
- Check for damage, rust or loose connection (you may need a new key fob depending on what you find).
- Be sure to insert the new battery facing the right way up.
- Assemble the outer casing of your key fob by clamping them back together.
“It’s worth a try to replace your fob’s battery, just a thought.” – CorvetteForum.com
8. Faulty Key Fob
Another reported cause of nuisance alarms on the Corvette is a faulty key fob.
If you have 2 remotes, try taking the battery out of one and use the other for a while.
If the alarm problems persist, and you have tried cleaning the inside of the fob(s) and changing the battery, the best thing to do is speak with your dealer.
9. Accidental Pressing of the Panic Button
It is not uncommon for owners to unintentionally press the panic alarm on the key fob.
While a lot of owners have chalked it up to poor key fob design, a few others have attributed unintentional triggering to other objects in the same pocket as the key fob.
An easy fix for this is to have a dedicated pocket for your key fob, free from any other objects (such as pens or house keys).
Here is one suggestion we found on CorvetteForum.com:
“Pop open the FOB and place a piece of black tape (around 5/16″ square) over the connection point behind where the alarm button is. Your ability to set off the panic alarm now will be completely disabled however. I did it because I had set mine off in my pocket a couple times…”
10. Incorrectly Installed Aftermarket Alarm
An incorrectly installed or faulty aftermarket alarm system is a common cause of nuisance alarms.
Aftermarket alarms are typically far more complex than any factory-installed equipment which makes them more prone to issues.
They may also have been installed by incompetent individuals.
If you are experiencing issues with an aftermarket alarm, the best thing to do is speak with a reputable auto electrician.
“First of all I think that it was installed wrong just because it is my understanding that only one alarm system should be working at once. I think there are probably some wires that are wrong. You should be able to open the doors with the key and not have the alarm go off. I would disengage one or the other if I were you” – SmokinVette.com
11. Damaged Wiring
Damaged electrical wiring can cause a wide range of problems, it can often be tricky to pinpoint too and you may need to have an auto electrician run some diagnostic tests.
In some instances, rodents may have chewed through an electrical wire.
12. Faulty Body Control Module (BCM)
A faulty body control module can cause a wide range of issues including nuisance alarms.
- The BCM is in charge of electrical communication from different electronic systems.
- This includes the alarm system, lock-unlock functions, climate control etc.
- If you have a faulty BCM you may notice other electrical glitches too
- This can include intermittent operation of various electrical functions, such as the horn, lights, wipers and instrument cluster dials
The signals sent from the door and hood are sent to the BCM to be interpreted and it is a core part of the alarm system.
The BCM can be connected to a diagnostic scan tool which should uncover any errors or show a lack of communication with the main computer.
If in doubt, speak to your local dealer or a reputable mechanic to carry out the tests for you.
13. Not Closing Doors, Hood, or Trunk Properly
Something as simple as not properly closing the doors, hood, or trunk will inevitably trigger the alarm.
Make sure to check if you have closed every point of entry of your vehicle to avoid accidentally tripping your Corvette’s alarm.
“maybe one of the doors is not shut completely, check that, my car does that” – StingrayForums.com
Check for Recalls or TSBs
By entering your car’s VIN number on Chevrolet’s recall page or the NTHSA’s Safety Issues & Recalls page you can determine whether or not there is a TSB or recall for your vehicle and if there is you’ll want to get it addressed.
A recall is issued by a vehicle manufacturer for issues that are safety-related, while a TSB covers components that may be malfunctioning but don’t compromise the safety of the vehicle.
Disconnect the Battery
Sometimes mysterious alarm problems can disappear with a simple reboot, there are no guarantees here but it’s worth a try.
Disconnect the battery for 20 seconds and this resets many of the electronics in the vehicle.
Check For Warning Messages
When the alarm occurs can you see any lights or warning messages on the instrument panel?
This can give a clue as to what’s causing the alarm e.g. ‘Hood Ajar’.
Take it to a Chevrolet Dealership
If needed, take your Chevrolet to the dealership.
Tell them you are NOT paying for a check on what the problem might be.
Ask them if they will check it for free.
Most dealerships and other places do quick/initial diagnosis for no money as they plan to make money for the repair of your vehicle.
If your unit is still under warranty then they should fix and resolve the issue for free.
How to Test the 12V Battery
How to Test the Battery:
- Before testing, remove the surface charge from the battery, this allows for an accurate reading.
- Simply turn on the headlights for 2 minutes then turn off.
- Set the multimeter dial to the ’20 Volts’ setting.
- Make sure the car is turned OFF.
The multimeter will have a red probe and a black probe.
- The red probe is for making contact with the positive terminal.
- The black probe is for making contact with the negative terminal.
Measure across the battery terminals.
- The meter should display a reading, if the battery is fully charged the voltage should be between 12.2 and 12.6 volts.
- Anything under 12V and the battery should be charged or replaced.