Here's a Strange One

I have a 2007 Yaris Liftback that I bought new in 2006. It has turned out to be a very reliable car and perfect for my purposes. I bought the bare bones model that did not include any extras. It has no power features. It has manually operated windows, standard key for ignition & doors - and didn’t even have a radio when I bought it but I bought a simple one later and installed it. I did not pay for an alarm when I bought it nor did I have one installed.

Yesterday I was sitting in my living room in the middle of the day and suddenly heard a car alarm coming from my driveway. I looked and could see out my window that my Yaris was flashing its blinkers and the horn beeping away. I went out and unlocked the door and the alarm kept sounding. Then I inserted the key and started the car and it did nothing to stop the beeping. I popped the hood figuring that I was going to have to disconnect the battery and then the alarm stopped.

I don’t know if the hood popping stopped it or if it was an alarm that had a time limit to it. I immediately checked my car’s manual and the only thing I could find about alarms is that there is a “Theft Deterrent System” that is installed in cars that are “Only sold in Puerto Rico” (which is kinda funny in its own way) and I bought it here at a dealer in Redwood City, CA. Also, cars that have that feature have an indicator light that shows when it is activated (which mine doesn’t have) and I would have to take steps to activate it that I’m positive I had not done. There are certain steps involved that I would need to have done and since I had left the back door (hatchback) unlocked and both windows partially open it would not have activated.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? There was no evidence of anyone breaking in and secretly installing a car alarm… : ) Also, my car was in plain view from where I was sitting and I would have noticed someone tampering with it so whatever it is was activated on its own.

Your Yaris probably has an “intruder alert” system, designed such that you have a button on your FOB that you can press to scare an intruder away if when walking up to your car you see someone in it. My car has this. And a few times when the car was new I’ve sat down such that something in my pocket pressed the “intruder alert” button. My car reacted exactly as you’ve described. The car was locked in the garage, so I knew nobody was fooling with it. Took me a while to figure out what was going on.

Check your owner’s manual for an “intruder alert system” paragraph. Post the results.

I don’t have a FOB. I have a metal key that is needed to unlock all doors and to start the engine. No remote features. Door locks are manual only.

Well, I guess the only difference between your Yaris with an alarm system and one without is the FOB. Possibly a stray signal from a neighbor set it off? They usually have a 2-3 minute time limit on beeping sound. If you mean the regular horn, it would be a good idea to find it and know how to unplug it.

“Well, I guess the only difference between your Yaris with an alarm system and one without is the FOB. Possibly a stray signal from a neighbor set it off?”

Sorry, but I don’t understand what you mean.

I’ve had this car for 9 years and this is the first time this has happened. It obviously has some kind of alert system but it seems odd that there is no indicator of one being installed and of course, no instruction on how to activate or deactivate it.

It’s possible that the original owner never forwarded the key FOB. And, as insightful suggested, a stray signal is setting it off. Have the local dealer run your VIN and see if it should have one, as well as checking to se if your Yaris has an intruder alert system. Post back.

@the same mountain bike The op stated he IS the original owner. It’s hard to believe that if the alarm system can be set off that they wouldn’t have supplied a key FOB to shut it off. Very strange situation!

Did they try to up-sell you an alarm when you bought the car?

My 2 cents, you’re right. I originally misread the post. Mea Culpa.
Even with my error, a check with the dealer still couldn’t hurt. It might yield some useful information. A polite request might even yield an initiation procedure for resetting the security system… whatever that is.

@“the same mountainbike” I agree. I think the dealer is the only one that can solve this one.

Maybe they did an after market system at the dealer before delivery given it was California. But if it was the intruder system of some sort, did you have the fob in your pocket. I have trouble with the fob for my Acura locking doors and opening windows with the fob in my pocket and activating every time I move.

Edit: Well after further reading, no fob? Maybe they should have provided one.

They didn’t try to sell me an alarm system. I bought a new truck in the 90’s that I had the option of buying the alarm and if I was to buy it, they’d give me a chip that plugged into a system that was already installed. There is nothing like that here.

And again, there is no FOB. The car has no power windows or locks. Everything in it is like the basic standard car they used to sell in the good old daze. That’s why I bought it. It cost me under 12K out the door, taxes, license & everything else included.

I will ask at the dealership and see if anyone there can figure it out. I need to take it in for a recall notice (seat problem) and I will ask then.

Now wait a minute, whispering in ear, that’s about what I paid for my 09 Pontiac and I got power seats, windows, steering, brakes, remote start, CD, V6, cruise, etc. and get close to 30 MPG, and when I step on the gas I can go from 50 to 90 in about 4 seconds. Of course I got $500 trade in for my Buick with 500K on it so that knocked the cost down.

Yeah I think the dealer is the best bet with a VIN check. Maybe they didn’t have anything stripped down enough and they didn’t tell you about the option so as not to kill the sale or something. Dealers never lie though.

if I was to buy it, they’d give me a chip that plugged into a system that was already installed

Um, this could be a clue. Again, I suggest you visit the dealer.

New Toyotas come to the dealer requiring “initialization procedures” be performed by the dealer shop to prep the vehicle before delivery. The horn, lights, etc. are operated by the “body control module” (BCM) that gets “initialized” when the car is prepped. That sets the program(s) to “baseline” based on what dealer-installed options are being delivered to the customer. It’s possible that the BCM needs to be “reinitialized”. If your car was worked on, it’s possible that the program was reinitialized to enable the intruder alert system (and/or security system) that you elected originally not to have installed. The “chip” that they said they’d add when you bought the car may in actuality have been a programming variant rather than a piece of physical hardware.

The chip was offered to me when I bought a T100 in the 90’s. The chip was something you keep on your key ring and in order to start the truck you needed to manually plug the chip in to a receptor under the steering wheel.

I’m offering you the best advice I know how for the problem described. Visit the dealer. Ask the parts guy to look up your VIN number to see if you have Toyota’s Intruder Alert System. If it has one, ask for a copy of the initialization procedure for that and your vehicle security system. That’s all free. Or, just make an appointment and let the dealer shop fix it. This is one of those rare situations where I think information from the dealer databanks is going to be necessary to fix it.

You are all not helping the OP. There is no way a stripped Yaris would need a key fob. I would contact Toyota customer service through their website. They have responded informatively to questions I have asked them.

It would be helpful to know what happens if you lock the car with the windows down, then reach in and open a door from the inside. Does the alarm go off then?

You’re missing my point. Stripped vehicles often have the systems in them to support the options offered, and in many if not most cases those options are simply not initialized, often with only a part or two needed and sometimes just via a programing variation. Manufacturers long ago discovered that it was more cost effective to make their cars this way.

When I installed driving lights in my car I did the research and discovered that everything was there except one relay, a small bifurcated relay-installation harness that plugged into an existing plug in the main harness, and the lights themselves… that plugged into an existing harness plug under the car.

I maintain that my recommendations WOULD help the OP.
Your recommendation might help the OP too.

TSM- you are right that many vehicle options are prewired so dealers can install the option. My experience with base model cars led me to believe that if you couldn’t order a particular option on a base model car, it would not be pre-wired. I may have been wrong. I have also experienced more accurate information from corporate Toyota than the 2 closest Toyota dealers.