For many of our readers, the chances are that your car is among the most valuable things that you own, so it makes perfect sense that you would go out of your way to protect it to a suitable level. There are plenty of reasons to ensure that this is the case. The sentimental value of a car often exceeds the value that anyone would get for selling it and losing out on a car can be a massive inconvenience, even if only for the time it takes a courtesy car to be delivered. Proper planning can also have a material impact, as going out of your way to ensure that your car is safe and secure can often result in your insurance company taking note, with lower premiums and other genuine perks. For most, the idea of keeping a car secure is an obvious one, but here we have pulled together 10 tips that are relevant to anyone looking to go the extra mile.
1. Choose Your Parking Spots Wisely
Whether at home or out and about, your choice of parking spot can make plenty of difference. In the home, a garage or off-road driveway can be ideal, especially compared to parking on the road. If the latter is the only option, then a well-lit area is essential, and drivers should go out of their way to ensure that they can see their car from their home – even just parking around the corner is significant enough that your insurer must be informed.
Outside the home, a secure car park is the best option. Failing that, ensure plenty of passing foot-traffic so there is never a quiet time for a would-be thief to target your vehicle.
2. Counter Opportunism
Very few car break-ins are premeditated. In most cases, a thief spots something worth breaking in for and makes a snap decision. From leaving a dashcam in the cradle to an iPad on the seat, or even something that may contain valuables like a wallet, it is hugely important to obscure such items from view to remove the temptation.
3. Add a Car Alarm
Car alarms get a bad rap from many people, who consider them as an annoyance when they go off rather than a reason to investigate. Nevertheless, no potential thief wants to be seen stood near an active alarm, and the deterrent of an alarm remains.
4. Consider an Immobiliser
While we are not condoning it, getting into a car without the key is the easy part. However, an immobiliser means that actually removing it is no mean feat. If your car does not already have an immobiliser, it can be worth getting one fitted, not only for peace of mind but also for a positive impact on insurance premiums when fitted professionally.
5. Treat your Keys as a Valuable
While we have acknowledged that gaining access to a car is not the trickiest task for a thief, they would always prefer the easy option and if they can get their hands on the keys, they will. Keep your keys out of sight in the home and act fast if you lose them. Those with cars that are susceptible to signal extenders may also wish to consider measures to block the signal in the home.
6. Etch Parts of the Car
By etching the vehicle identification number onto parts of the car, you can reduce the value of the vehicle to thieves without affecting the real-world price. Windows are a great choice, but mirrors and lights can also handle the etching. This makes it difficult to change the identity of the vehicle, which can make a car worthless to some thieves.
7. Look After the Wheels
In some minds, car crime comes down to someone breaking in and stealing from the vehicle or taking the vehicle itself. However, many parts of a car are valuable, and the wheels have been a target for several years. Again, your car may already be equipped to foil would-be thieves but locking wheel nuts are an ideal addition for further protection, as well as being relatively cheap and therefore great value for money.
8. Steering Locks Still Have a Part to Play
Steering locks are nowhere near as popular as they used to be – it is rare for any security measure to go out of fashion but that is the fate of this one. However, we believe that they remain relevant, particularly as technology improves. As thieves get more sophisticated and use electronics to target cars with keyless entry and starters, a steering lock may not be the most elegant solution, but one that they may not be equipped to handle.
9. Always Lock your Car
Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best. The chances are that it does not take one of our features for most readers to remember to lock their vehicle, but it is a habit that is worth getting into if you are not used to doing so. More pertinent is the fact that the car should always be locked – more people than many might think leave their car not only unlocked, but also running when carrying out tasks. To add to this, we would advise the safety-conscious to ensure that their cars are locked when they are in them too. Hopefully, there will not come a time where it is required, but the unforeseen nature of such incidents can make it time well spent.
10. Get a Tracker
There are tools out there to find phones, keys and just about anything else, but car trackers preceded them by some distance. There are 2 options here, with both GPS and VHF trackers available. There is simply no better way to track down a car if it is not where it should be, and the cost can be offset by insurance discounts with some providers.