Car Talk: Best Alternative to Aftermarket Warning System | News, Sports, Jobs

Ray Magliozzi, syndicated columnist

Dear Car Talk: I have a 2007 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck. It is in great condition and has few miles. I would like to install (or install) one of the latest security options – Blind Spot Warning.

Is there a good aftermarket blind spot warning system you can install on an older car? – donate

Blind spot warning is one of the great security inventions of our time, Dan.

The only people who disagree are chiropractors, who are losing business because people no longer need to violently whip their necks to see what’s in their left alley.

You can install an aftermarket blind spot warning system on an older car. They are not as good as factory installed systems, but some are close.

The downsides of aftermarket systems are that they require a lot more work to set up and their accuracy varies more than factory systems. By precision, we mean they give you more false positives, detecting things that aren’t always the cars coming in the next lane behind you.

That said, the best among them seems to be the Brandmotion RDBS 1500. It costs around $600, and you might pay again to have it professionally installed.

Installation includes internal wiring, removing the bumper, modifying it to hold the sensor, and modifying the internal A-pillars to install warning lights.

Not only does the BrandMotion have great accuracy, but it also includes a rear cross-traffic alert, which warns you – while you’re backing up – if a car is approaching you on the road from any direction.

It can be installed on 2007 and newer vehicles but not vehicles with metal bumpers so you will have to check with them and see if it will work on your truck. If not, you’ll have to keep looking.

For installation, I would check with your dealer or, more likely, a high quality shop that installs stereo and alarm systems. They’re used to doing that kind of wiring without making the interior of your car look like Apollo 11.

Most importantly, try to find a shop that has done it before. You won’t be patient zero if you can help it.

Editor’s Note: Have a question about cars? Email CarTalk by visiting the CarTalk website at

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