The Challenger is an iconic muscle car that was introduced as a 2008 model year.
As is the case with any car, it is susceptible to alarm-related problems.
If your Challenger’s alarm system keeps going off, this article is here to help…
Table of Contents
Why Does My Dodge Challenger Alarm Keep Going Off?
A Dodge Challenger alarm is usually triggered by a faulty door switch or hood switch as these sensors are prone to defects or damage through years of use. Other common causes include damage to wiring, outdated software, and battery issues.
1. Faulty Door Switches
Faulty door switches are a common cause of random alarms. 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.
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.
2. Faulty Hood Switch
A faulty hood switch is a common cause of unwanted alarms for this type of vehicle.
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.
“Check hood ajar switch … wound up being the switch was out of alignment.” – ChallengerTalk.com
3. Loose or Bad 12V Battery Connections
Loose or bad 12V battery connections can cause a number of problems, including triggering the alarm of your vehicle.
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.
4. Drained 12V Battery
A faulty or weakened car battery causes a variety of problems, including accidentally triggering the alarm.
The best thing to do is take your unit 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.
We found this comment on ChallengerTalk.com:
“check battery voltage… low voltage, which can make electronics, including alarm go seriously wanky.”
5. Accidentally Triggering the Key Fob’s Panic Button
It is not uncommon for owners to unintentionally activate the panic alarm of the vehicle.
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).
“Sometimes I can be playing with my dog or kneeling on my heels it will pull my pants tight and my keys will click the panic button setting off my car…” – r/Challenger subreddit
“Maybe you accidentally hit the panic button when the fob was in your pocket?
That’d be my best guess.” – ChallengerForumz.com
6. Key Fob Running on Low Battery
A common cause of mysterious alarms 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.
7. Faulty Key Fob
Another reported cause of nuisance alarms on this vehicle 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.
8. 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.
9. Outdated Software
Vehicles that are as technologically sophisticated as this model are dependent on constant firmware and software updates. Sometimes, alarm sensitivity needs to be adjusted through these very updates.
If you fail to update your vehicle’s software packages, you may encounter random errors and glitches, including the car’s alarm going off.
The solution for this is simple: always update your vehicle’s software modules to prevent any bugs, glitches, or errors.
We found this remark on the r/Dodge subreddit:
“It states there will be a software update released to correct this issue. Just wait a couple months and there will be a software update available that should fix it…”
10. Sensitive Interior Motion Sensor
A lot of owners have talked online about how sensitive this model’s motion sensor can be. It is particularly prone to insects, apparently.
If you have been constantly observing your vehicle’s alarm going off for no observable reason, then there might be some sort of pressure or force that has been tripping the motion sensor.
To solve this, you can either visit your dealership to adjust the sensitivity of the sensor or do it yourself by tinkering with the system settings.
Certain models also present owners with an option of disabling the motion sensor system every time the car is turned off.
“I know some people have had issues with the interior motion sensors being too sensitive and tripping the alarm… It’s been brought up a few times in forums and a Facebook group I’m in.” – r/Challenger subreddit
“I have read that newer cars with the interior motion sensor have had this happen. I suggest a trip to the dealer.” – ChallengerForumz.com
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. Animals Climbing On The Vehicle
If your alarm has been set off in the middle of the night, it may have been by an animal climbing on the car.
States such as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Texas, Wisconsin, and Carolina have large wild raccoon populations.
Have a look for footprints on the hood and the roof.
If you have a CCTV system, examine the footage. These animals usually appear during the night.
14. 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 vehicle’s alarm.
Here is what one owner shared on the r/Challenger subreddit:
“Is the trunk open? I had the same thing happen to me a while back. Took me a bit to realize the trunk was open.”
Another owner had this to say on ChallengerForumz.com:
“If your trunk lid is open and the latch is locked, the alarm will sound. Just one thing to check.”
Check for Recalls or TSBs
By entering your car’s VIN number on Dodge’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 Dodge Dealership
If needed, take your Dodge 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.