Not So Fast: 7 Tips to Secure Your Vehicle from Theft
Vehicle owners often think about numbers like “Zero to 60” and “best MPG” but there is a number they often don’t consider until it’s too late: how many cars and trucks are stolen every minute of the day.
Vehicle theft happens at a shocking rate, no matter where you live. In Australia, it’s every 10 minutes. In the United Kingdom, every nine minutes. And in the United States, a car or truck is stolen every 6.5 minutes.
Don’t set yourself up to experience that sinking feeling of returning to where you parked your vehicle but it’s not there.
Here are 7 ways to gain the upper hand and keep auto thieves on the run.
1. Lock it when you leave it: anywhere you park – in front of your house, in your garage or in a public parking lot – secure your vehicle.
Lock doors and close windows and sunroofs..
If you have a convertible, take the extra minute to close and lock the top.
The only exception to leaving a window ajar is if there’s a pet inside – it may even act as a guard animal!
If you live in a cold climate and engine warm-up is a necessity, don’t leave your vehicle unattended when the motor is running.
2. Put the brake on: a simple, effective anti-theft step is to set your parking brake any time you park. This makes it much harder for thieves to tow or roll your vehicle.
3. Hide what you have: don’t leaving anything inside that will attract or assist a potential thief.
Never have a spare key or key fob in the glovebox, center console, or under a floor mat. Experienced vehicle thieves will check for this after they gain entry.
Don’t leave purses, cell phones, laptops or other valuables on a seat or dashboard. Put these in the trunk. Try to do this while at home or in a way that doesn’t draw the attention of unscrupulous people who may be watching from the sidelines.
4. Stay anonymous: your key fob shouldn’t include your name or address. A clever car thief can innocently return a lost set of keys and then return to steal your car. The best ID for a key fob is an unusual keychain or visual identifier that only you can describe in detail
5. Smart park: easy steps can increase the security of a parked vehicle.
At home, use your garage as much as possible.
In a public parking lot or garage, park in well-lit, high-traffic areas like entrances and near elevators.
Many parking lots have video cameras – try to find a spot near one.
6. Low-tech security works: tried and true measures will foil car thieves or make disposal of your vehicle difficult.
A steering wheel club lock is a highly visible statement that you value your vehicle.
Wheel locks provide a similar hard-to-miss visual warning to would-be thieves.
Have your vehicle identification number (VIN) engraved into a window or major body part to heighten your vehicle’s ID and to deter its resale.
7. High-tech security options: technology provides great options to beef up your vehicle’s security.
Demobilizing devices use a range of electronic and digital technology to ensure that only you can start your car or truck.
Audible car alarms are another way to scare off thieves. Plus, this and other security options may mean a discount on your insurance! Ask your broker about this benefit.
Digital tracking devices are the fastest growing segment of personal possession security. These small, powerful devices, like iTraq Nano, are easy to conceal and depending on the specific product, use WiFi, cellular and/or satellite technology to track and locate your vehicle with regular updates to your smartphone.