Having your car broken into or stolen is heartbreaking in so many different ways. It’s not only inconvenient and costly but it can also make you worry about your general safety and security.
And yet many of us make it far too easy for thieves to break into our cars and steal our belongings or the car itself. According to The Crime Survey for England and Wales, there were 874,000 vehicle-related thefts in 2015, up 3% on 2014, showing that it’s a very prevalent issue and one that more people should be protecting themselves against.
Here at Ignitionline, we’ve put together some tips for keeping your car secure to hopefully dissuade would-be thieves from targeting your vehicle.
Hide your belongings
This might sound pretty obvious to most, but it’s not uncommon to wander past cars and see all sorts left on the seats, whether it’s handbags, jackets, sunglasses or whatever else. Plenty of people even leave their sat navs attached to the windscreen.
This is an invitation for thieves to come calling so ensure everything is either hidden away or taken with you. And this doesn’t just apply to high-value items – you might leave an old coat on the back seat that isn’t worth much to you, but a thief might just decide to take a chance anyway in the hope of finding something valuable.
Alarms and immobilisers
Most people will now own a car that comes fitted with an alarm and immobiliser as standard – all UK cars have had to have immobilisers since 1998 – but if you own an older car, you might not have them.
An alarm won’t necessarily stop someone breaking in (although if they see a flashing alarm light then it might) but it might make them scarper if they smash a window and it goes off. An immobiliser, however, should stop them from actually stealing the car, so if yours doesn’t have one, it’s well worth getting one fitted.
If you have an older car, then getting an alarm and immobiliser installed could also lower your insurance premiums.
If you’re worried about your car being stolen then getting a tracking device fitted will increase your chances of getting it back.
You will need to have them specially fitted and they can get quite pricey, so you need to weigh up whether it’s worth the cost. You can choose GPS tracking systems which will find your vehicle if it’s parked above ground, but if you want to go even further, you can opt for a VHF system that will find it even if it’s in an underground car park or a storage container.
Steering wheel locks
A big deterrent for burglars looking to steal your car is the use of steering wheel locks. Even if someone does manage to turn the car on, the steering wheel is locked in place so can’t be used.
A seasoned thief could probably get one off given enough time but the vast majority will be put off and go elsewhere.
Check out the Stoplock steering wheel lock, which is one of the best around.
You can also buy gear stick locks which work in a similar way, and for vans you can buy locks that prevent the rear or side doors being opened, which is very handy if you have expensive gear kept in there.
Check out the Stoplock van lock.
Installing a CCTV camera on your house can have two distinct advantages. Not only might it deter a thief if they notice it, but it can also be used as evidence if someone does break into or steal your car. Some even install fake cameras to act as a deterrent.
Read more: The Bizarre Driving Laws Around The World
If you don’t want to put up a camera, then even just having a motion-activated security light might be enough to startle someone trying to break in.
There has also been an increase in the number of drivers using on-board dash cams when they’re actually driving. Again, these can be used as evidence in the event of an unsavoury incident, although don’t forget to take it out of the car with you or it could entice thieves.
Where do you keep your car keys?
When in the house, don’t leave your car keys in full view of a window or the letter box. Keep them well away from the letterbox as thieves have even been known to use long wires to hook keys out of the house.
However, some advise not to take your car keys upstairs with you when you go to bed. You’d rather let a burglar get away with your car then confront you for the keys.
Etching your car’s registration number or VIN in small digits on the windows of your car will make it more traceable if it goes missing. Thieves stealing cars to order will try and change the identity of the car, so if they can see it’s been etched with the VIN or other number, they might think twice about going to the extra effort.
Don’t get complacent
Hopefully you’ll never have your car broken into, but just because it hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean you should get complacent about it. If you’ve remembered that you’ve left something in the car, just go and get it – it doesn’t take much effort and could make the difference in someone breaking into your car or moving on to someone else’s.
Read more: What Will A Car Fail Its MOT On?
According to The Telegraph, here are the most frequently stolen and recovered cars in 2015, so if you have one of these, it might be worth being a little more vigilant.
- Range Rover Sport
- BMW X5
- Range Rover Vogue
- Mercedes C-class
- BMW 3-series
- Mercedes C63 AMG
- BMW 5-series
- Audi RS4
- Audi Q7
- Range Rover Autobiography
Don’t take a chance with your car’s security. Check out all of our car security and safety products.