Remote Car Honking

Since the early 2000s, most American automobile manufacturers have installed remote locking devices tied to car honking as a standard feature. This technology is completely unnecessary and very annoying; it is a growing source of noise pollution.


Car drivers use their remote car locking system for various non-emergency reasons: to make certain their car is locked, to find their car when they forget where they parked it, and even to check their tire pressure. None of these purposes are urgent or vital; none of them justify the noise generated by these devices.

Some auto manufacturers have recently created technology which uses safety signal for non-emergencies; the technology makes it possible to honk your car’s horn from miles away—from the beach, your office, or a hotel. This technology is completely unnecessary; its major effect is to disturb those who happen to walk or cycle near the automobile when its horn is blasted from miles away.

None of this noise is necessary. For decades, cars existed without this ridiculous feature. Indeed, in Europe (which has much stricter noise regulations than the United States), the exact same car models are set to lock silently.

Most cars can be locked without any sound; the purpose of the sound is simply to provide absolute assurance that the car is locked. Pressing the lock key of a fob twice instead of once creates flashing lights—which don’t disturb anyone. There are other quiet alternatives to making sure your door is locked:

– Testing the doors

– Checking a dashboard light

– Using your smart phone

– Transitioning from a horn signal to a soft electronic tone

Also, some owner manuals provide instructions for reconfiguring audio signals to flashing lights.

There are numerous problems with unnecessary noise from remote car honking:

– It disturbs sleep.

– It startles pedestrians and bicyclists.

– It causes headaches for passers-by assaulted by the noise.

– It violates state motor vehicle statutes, which permit the use of a horn only to avert an emergency.

– It is a form of social injustice, as many lower-income Americans have bedrooms overlooking parking lots and streets, meaning that they experience constant noise from lock signal horn honking.

Note: this material is adapted from, a project devoted entirely to opposing unnecessary noise from remote car locking.