Car theft is a problem in many areas of the country. As an essential part of our lives, a stolen car can be both a tragedy and loss, financially and to our sense of safety. It’s essential to protect your car from people who may try to steal your vehicle, or to break into it to take an item you’ve left inside.
1) Don't invite thieves - Never leave your car running while you go somewhere else. Sure, you only have to get one thing at the corner store, so you'll just dash in and be back in half a minute. It takes a lot less than thirty seconds for someone to slide in your car and drive away.
2) Park in a safe place - If you have an opportunity to park your car in a garage, in your drive or in a car park which is regularly patrolled, you will have a better chance of keeping your car safe. Choosing a public parking lot that is further away from traffic because it is less expensive, can be more expensive in the long run.
3) Keep valuables out of sight - Never leave anything a potential thief may consider of value visible inside your car. Handbags, purses, clothing, rucksacks and items straight from a store will encourage thieves to break into your car. A 'smash and grab' only takes seconds, but leaves you holding the bag. More desperate types will take the risk just for an old MP3 player, GPS unit, or leftover change. Put it all out of sight.
4) Locking lug nuts - Locking lugs, or wheel locks can help deter car criminals who haven’t got too much experience. Opportunists who see a wheel lock in place are less likely to try their luck by attempting to steal your car. Many of the "puzzle lock" products can be quickly overcome now, but the newer "bullet" style of wheel locks are harder - if for no other reason than they replace all of the nuts holding the wheel on.
5) Car alarms - It’s sensible to get a good car alarm fitted to deter thieves. Once they are set off and make a loud sound, most thieves tend to abandon their quest. Better still get a two way alarm system to be on the safe side. Most criminals who know how to steal a car will bump it to see if it has an alarm. Ones good at their job will then attempt to disable the alarm, although probably at a later time when the sounds off.
5a) Also, never place a decal in your car window to tell thieves which type of alarm you have. Identifying the system will allow them to research how best and quickly to disable it, making their job easier.
6) Kill switch - A kill switch can disable your car when switched on, and allow you to drive otherwise.
7) GPS Locaters - Several commercial systems are available that notify you when your car is moved, or goes beyond a certain boundary. Monitoring centers, working the local police, can often recover or locate vehicle within an hour.
8) Organic deterrents - Leaving an ugly, snarling, slobbering dog inside your car while you're off doing errands usually makes theives move along more quickly to the next opportunity. Sometimes a mother-in-law works just as well.
9) Check it when you return - Nothing is easier for a thief than waiting for you to open the car. A common trick is to put newspaper over your back window. When you look in your mirror to back out and stop to clear the window, you car could get hijacked while you watch.
10) Glass etching - Usually a mandatory option when buying a new vehicle, there are kits available to etch your car's VIN number into the windshield, back glass and side windows. This makes it expensive for thieves to re-register the can in another state, as all the glass would have to be replaced.
Safeguarding your car is essential these days. It is typically your most valuable assets next to your home and deserves your full attention. There is little you can do to prevent a determined, professional thief from taking your car, so Tip number eleven on this list is: Keep your car insurance up to date!