As an Amazon Associate, Step by Step Websites earns from qualifying purchases but the price you pay is not affected. For more info, see terms and conditions.
In researching motion sensors for the home, many reviewers have discovered that these products make great, cheap alternatives to traditional car alarms!
Some of the most popular posts on the community apps like Nextdoor or Ring Doorbell are about cars parked outside titled, “My car was broken into last night!” These motion sensors provide a simple tech solution that can monitor motion within your car’s cabin all night long into the next day.**
The best and worst scenarios for using motion sensors to monitor your vehicle are listed below.
When To Use Motion Sensors For Cheap Car Monitoring
- You and your car are home.
- Your car is parked outside in your driveway or on the street.
- Your car is parked within range of the hub (using Govee sensor).
- You have a decent router with a good wifi signal (using Kangaroo sensor).
- On a road trip and the hotel room is within range of car (Govee).
- Car is full of your possessions when you’re moving cities, and the hotel room is within range of car (Govee).
When Motion Sensors Will Not Work To Monitor Your Car
- Preventing vandalism to outside of car.
- Monitoring at very cold temperatures need to be tested and batteries changed more frequently.
- Your phone notifications are off (Using Kangaroo sensor).
- No audible deterrent to scare people away.
- Does not detect motion outside car’s cabin.
- May not work in direct sunlight.
Top Choice – Best Value Car Alarm Requiring Wifi
For the amazingly low price of $7, try the Kangaroo Motion Sensor. This sensor requires an app and pairing to your home wifi system. When it senses motion, it will send the alert to your phone. Once armed, the sensor will detect motion within the cabin because IR detection does not go through glass.
Unlike the Govee below, you can arm and disarm the sensor with the phone app. That makes this monitoring product a little more user friendly to arm and disarm, but it might get less range than the Govee.
Before you arm it, make sure that the car is parked within range of your router’s wifi signal. Some reviews report that a decent router will reach 200 feet.
Best Car Monitoring Motion Sensor With Hub
The top pick for monitoring your car without needing wifi is the Govee Motion Sensor. With this product, you benefit from range and simplicity. The product comes with an IR motion sensor and a hub that plugs directly into an outlet. This sensor does not require your home wifi, so it is easy to setup and easy to arm.
Once paired, the motion sensor can be turned off and on with a switch on the side. Simply turn the motion sensor on, and place it in the cabin. If you hear the hub playing the jingle or flashing, you know motion in your car has been detected.
To disarm the sensor, consider unplugging the hub in your house before opening the car door. That way, your housemates will not have to hear the alarm sound as you enter the vehicle.
The specifications indicate that you can park your car about 300 feet from the hub, so the Govee Sensor might get a little better range vs. the Kangaroo Motion Sensor. Experiment and test the product from the driveway, the street, or possibly even from your apartment.
Benefits of Using Motion Sensors as Car Alarms
If you are home and your car is parked outside, motion sensors are an ideal solution to monitoring your car. If there has been activity in your neighborhood late at night, these cheap gadgets can give you peace of mind and save your car’s contents from burglary.
Unlike traditional car alarms, you don’t need to worry about loud alarms in the middle of the night waking up neighbors, or alarms going off while you are in the store. Instead, you get an alert, and you are able to decide if you need to act. One reviewer was able to alert the police and catch the offender with a motion sensor in the car cabin. On the other hand, car alarms make a lot of noise for a reason. Since there is no loud noise to scare off an individual, it can be viewed as a downside if the individual has time to tamper with your car.
Road Trip Monitoring
With the Govee Sensor, take the sensor and the hub on a road trip and continue to monitor your car. If the car is parked within range at a hotel, the hub will alert just the same.
RV Monitoring at your Home and Away
You can also ensure your RV is secure while it is parked in your driveway or on the street at your home. This way, your RV possessions will stay safe until the next time you hit the road. You can also try to place the sensor in a protected location outside the RV to monitor activity. It is rated for indoor use, but if the conditions are fair, you could potentially monitor the area around your RV. For more information, see RV security with motion sensors post.
Cold Weather Concerns with Motion Sensors
Note, these motion sensors are rated for indoor use only. If you decide to use these products as a low-priced alternative to car alarms, you are on your own!
On the plus side, if you keep the sensor in the cabin, you don’t need to worry about moisture ruining the device. However, if you live in a very cold place, you should test your product often, and keep in mind that you might need to replace the batteries at a much faster interval than a normal, indoor environment.
Additional Motion Sensor Posts
If you have had any luck with using motion sensors as a car alarm, leave a comment and share your story!
**Disclaimer – Motion sensors are rated for indoor use, and every car experiences different conditions. Some cars mimic indoor conditions very well, and others need to be tested frequently. At extreme temperatures and in direct sunlight, it may not work. At such a cheap price, it is better than nothing, but there is always a chance of the product not working when using it as an “off label” use like a car monitor.