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Review: Sense-O-Shock Alarm Upgrade (1st Gen)

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A lot of people make the assumption that the factory alarm in the IS300 is a good one. Well, as with most factory-installed alarms, it really isn’t. My intention is not to worry anyone, as the vehicle theft deterrent system is decent. It would still be tough and take a skilled thief to actually steal your car and drive off with it. The downfall in the security system is the fact that any window in the car can be shattered without setting off the factory alarm at all. That’s right, folks. Old Johnny Thief-a-lot can bust your window and loot your car of any loose articles, electronic gadgets, CD’s or your Homer Simpson bobble head dash buddy.<P>

Never fear however, as a solution to this problem is now available from Luxury Motorworks, LTD. They call their product the SENSE-O-SHOCK, and we were pleased to find the product has been tailored for a quick and easy upgrade to your factory IS300 alarm system. The kit contains a key component included in just about every aftermarket pricey alarm system, the shock sensor. No, a shock sensor has nothing to do with electricity, as my adorable girlfriend assumed (you mean it shocks people that touch your car!?). The sensor reads vibration, caused from hitting or breaking a window in the car, or any hard banging on the vehicle exterior. When it senses this shock it triggers your factory alarm with its default alert of horns and flashing lights.<P>

The owner of Luxury Motorworks is an IS300 owner himself and is a Lexus Master Technician. He wanted to make this upgrade simple for the average owner with little to no knowledge of car electronics. When first hearing about the product, my initial concern was install difficulty as I have dealt with aftermarket alarms in the past. What a nightmare. I was assured that the install would take any novice only a short amount of time, and that the install was basically a snap. This laid my fears to rest. Now excited about the product, we obtained a kit and proceeded to install the unit on one of our test cars.<P>

Included in the kit is the shock sensor, a black control box, wiring harnesses, one wire tap or scotch lock, and tie wraps. A step-by-step install guide was included as well. The installation consisted of removing the driver side fuse panel near the dead pedal. Power for the unit is drawn from the cig-lighter fuse and stop light fuse in that panel. One, and only one, wire tap is done on the factory alarm ECU harness under the dash. There was no cutting of pre-existing wires necessary, making the removal of the unit just as easy. Very sweet. We set the sensitivity on the shock sensor before closing things up then gave it a test run.<P>

.NET is based down in South Florida, and at the time of this write up it is the start of Thunderstorm season. Wouldn’t you know it, the first day I have the Sense-O-Shock installed the thing is going off like mad each time it thundered. It was good to know the shock sensor was working properly, and after turning down the sensitivity I was able to find a happy medium. Hitting any of the windows with medium force now sets off the alarm. I should point out that the factory alarm works the same as it always did, and I was pleased to even see the security LED in the dash cluster was blinking away as usual.<P>

Based on the ease of installation, price compared to an over the top aftermarket alarm, and pure functionality…I see this simple upgrade being one of the must haves for IS300 owners. The one and only thing I would change about this kit is the install directions. They are pretty basic, and the complete novice may be a little lost by some of the wording. Step by step pictures along with the text would correct this, or maybe more detailed text. Nevertheless, the install really couldn’t be any simpler compared to any other electrical system related install.<P>

My only closing thought to this review is why on earth couldn’t Lexus include this simple feature? I guess the answer is, that is what the aftermarket is for! Luxury Motorworks definitely delivers with this kit, and we hope to see more from them in the future.

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The question has already been asked but where can I found a setup like this?
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