The Sidewinder Auto Alarm left us stranded in the middle of the night

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My 18 month old Ford van in had a Sidewinder alarm installed. Saturday night, on the way home from the Ann Arbor Art Fair the alarm malfunctioned, causing the siren to go off and the lights to start flashing while on Route 23. I pulled over and tried to reset the alarm but found that the alarm couldn't be turned off and the ignition cutoff wouldn't allow the van to start. I cut the wires to the siren and used my cell phone to try to call the toll free Sidewinder support number from the sticker that the installer had adhered to my visor. 800-477-1378. The recording tried to connect me to the nearest retailer making me wonder how it knew where I was located, and then gave me a recorded message that Circuit City was closed. Really, 10:00 on a Saturday evening when I needed help, I just tried it during regular business hours on Monday and was put on hold after hearing a recording that the company was open from 7:00AM to 5:00PM on weekdays and only offer  technical support for dealers. I then called AAA on my cell phone for a tow and had the van towed back to Ann Arbor where we had to spend an extra night for $125 before trying to find someone who could disconnect the alarm on a Sunday. Fortunately we found a local mechanic who disabled the alarm as any Sidewinder dealers wouldn't be open until Monday.

Beware of auto alarms with ignition cutoffs

Elite Custom Coach of Murrysville, PA did the original installation and told me that is was something in the electrical system of the van causing the alarm to short. They offered to reinstall it and try to find what the problem was but I'm still convinced that it was the alarm and now that it's been disabled, everything is working as it should.

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