RAC Cars News


Protecting Your Car From Thieves

By raccars Published

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2014 saw car theft fall to its lowest rate in 50 years, but that doesn't mean you should become complacent about vehicle crime. Thieves are employing modern technology to circumvent new security systems, that could leave your car vulnerable. How can you protect it?

The first step is to lock your car...

Some people simply don't bother and others believe they have locked it but have failed to check for the flashing lights or the beep after pushing the button on the remote control. A new scam sees thieves using jammers to block the signal from your remote control key fob to the car, so even if you press the button, the signal doesn't reach the car. Check the door handle to be sure your car really is locked.

Fit an alarm

Modern thieves have found ways of overcoming older security systems. They use sophisticated technology to combat car security systems and the best way to combat them is to be even more sophisticated and technologically advanced than they are. Fitting a new Thatcham approved alarm and immobiliser system could not only deter thieves but also reduce your insurance premium.

Or go old school

Alternatively, fight technological sophistication with good old mechanical methods. Car thieves will go for the quickest and easiest steal so, having got past your alarm system, forcing them to remove mechanical steering locks, gearstick locks and pedal blocks, means the process takes longer and they are more likely to get caught. Similarly, etching the car windows with your VIN and licence plate makes it more difficult for thieves to hide the car's identity, once stolen.

Install a tracker

It won't stop your car from being stolen but a tracking device, if advertised, may make it less attractive to thieves and can help it to be recovered. Once again, a tracker can also help to cut your insurance costs.

Keep the car locked while driving

It's not only stationary cars which get stolen. Carjackers will use force and possibly even violence to eject you from your car while you are driving it, as this saves them from having to break in. If your car doesn't have an auto lock feature, make sure you apply the lock manually while driving.

Park carefully

Thieves will look for cars in quieter, less visible areas. Park in well lit and well populated areas where possible and avoid parking at the far end of car parks or areas which are not overlooked. When you park, leave the car in gear and with the wheels turned into the kerb if you can, to make it harder for thieves to push or tow the car away - sometimes thieves don't break in on site but take the car to a safer location first. At home, always use your garage - it's 40 times safer than on-street parking.

Don't advertise your wares

This is not new advice but it's astonishing how often you'll see cars with sat navs, bags, coats and other goodies on display to tempt thieves. This advice also applies to gadget cables - a charging cable left dangling loose suggests to a thief that some expensive gear could be in the car somewhere. Even if there's nothing for a thief to take in the event of a break in, having to clean up and replace a broken window is expensive and inconvenient. Either take everything with you out of the car or make sure it can't be seen by thieves. Do this before you leave home, as thieves watch car parks.

Hide your keys

Don't leave your car keys on display near windows or doors, either at home or at work. It's an open invitation to thieves.

Fix number plates securely

Thieves will steal these to apply to other cars to defeat automatic number plate recognition cameras. Make sure yours are well fixed and if they are stolen, inform the police immediately.

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