• 2024-04-23 08:00:55
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    Apr

7 Tips to Help Avoid Car Theft

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Car theft is, unfortunately, a common problem that affects millions of vehicle owners worldwide each year. Whether you drive a brand-new luxury sedan or an older compact car, every driver can be at risk of having their car stolen. However, there are steps you can take to significantly reduce the likelihood of falling victim to this crime.

In this blog, we’ll explore seven practical tips designed to help you safeguard your vehicle and minimise the risk of car theft. From simple preventative measures to advanced security solutions, we’ll cover a range of strategies that can help keep your car safe and secure.

Lock your vehicle

This might go without saying, but you should always lock your car when you leave it. This includes when you’re at the petrol station as well as when you’re leaving your car parked for a period of time.

You should also avoid leaving your car unlocked if you’re leaving it unattended to warm up on a frosty morning. It’s actually illegal to leave your car unattended with the engine running, plus your insurance won’t pay out if your car is stolen while doing this.

When you lock your car, you should double check that it has actually locked. You can use visual clues such as the wing mirrors folding in, or locking pins lowering down on the inside of the door, or just manually check the door to see if it opens after you’ve locked it.

Protect your keys

You should keep your keys safely stored at home. Many homes might have a row of hooks near the front door, which can be a handy place to store keys. However, keeping your keys near the front door puts them at risk of theft – thieves can use tools to get through the letterbox and take your keys from the hook. Instead, keep your keys somewhere safe away from the front door and out of sight.

We’ve written an extensive guide on how to protect your car from keyless car theft but one of the best ways is to use a Faraday cage. This is a special pouch that you can put your keyless entry fob into, that will block radio waves. It means that thieves won’t be able to pick up the signal from the fob and relay it to the car to start it, a process known as relay theft, or RIFD theft.

You should always keep your keys safe in public, to ensure they don’t get cloned. Don’t let them out of your sight and keep them out of reach of potential thieves.

Park safely

Sometimes, you might be restricted to where you park due to where you live or where you need to be. However, when you have the choice you should always aim to park in a well-lit, public area. A staffed public car park with CCTV can be the best choice to park when you’re out and about, even if this means you might add an extra 10-minute walk to get to your destination.

At home, you could go as far as installing bollards into your driveway to make it more difficult for a thief to remove your car. If you have a particularly valuable or exotic car, it might be an idea to park a less valuable car behind it, effectively blocking it in and making it difficult for a thief to take it. Most thieves won’t want to waste any time, as the longer they spend on your driveway, the higher the risk they’ll be caught. So, anything you can do to make stealing your car take a longer time, like blocking it in, can help to deter them.

Keep valuables out of sight

You should always keep your valuables out of sight in your car – this applies whether you’re out in public or parked at home. If you have expensive electronics, such as a GPS or stereo system, you should hide them in the boot or even better, take them inside.

Even if you just have some loose change or shopping bags, you should keep them hidden. This reduces the risk of vandalism and also of theft, as your car won’t attract any unwanted attention.

Use a steering lock

Steering locks have fallen out of fashion as car security has improved, but they can still be a useful tool. As we’ve discussed, a deterrent can be just as helpful as something that actually stops thieves. Whilst it’s true that steering locks can be cut through if a thief really wants a car, most won’t want to waste time or attract attention by doing this. So, it could still prove to be a useful investment to reduce the risk of your car being stolen.

Utilise security cameras

The last thing a car thief wants is to be recorded. You can get dash cams that will begin recording if they sense movement nearby, which can act as a deterrent to thieves. If you use this type of dash cam, you can add a sticker to let people know they are being recorded if they touch your car.

You can also utilise security cameras at home to deter thieves. A Ring doorbell or other type of security camera can include features such as night vision and notifications when they sense movement. You could also include a sign to let potential thieves know they’re being recorded on your driveway, which can be enough to put them off attempting to steal your car. At the very least, if you’re not home to interrupt the thief and they’re not deterred by the camera, you can pass on the footage to the police to help them catch them.

Add extra security features

There are a number of extra security features you can add to your car if your vehicle doesn’t already have them. A car alarm is a simple way of putting off thieves if they manage to break into your car. Most modern cars may already have an immoboliser, which will mean the car won’t start unless the correct key is used, but you can upgrade the system for added protection. A Thatcham-approved alarm and immobiliser will help to protect your car and can also lower your insurance premiums.

You can also add a GPS tracker to your vehicle. Whilst this might not stop your car from being stolen, you can pass on the information to the police who may be able to retrieve your car and apprehend the car thieves.

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