The seven best things you can do to stop thieves stealing your car
Car thefts are on the up again after 10 years of decline.
That’s almost 86,000 vehicles stolen in 2016 alone, up from 66,000 three years earlier.
All this might be a shock to many of us after we've been told that car thefts were pretty much a thing of the past. The modern car was almost impossible to steal, we were told.
In fact, we've had complaints of people struggling to get their insurance companies to pay out on thefts at all because the insurers said the owners must have left the keys in their car, as that was the only way the vehicle could be stolen.
Now we know that’s nonsense.
The trouble is that many modern cars are just too high-tech for their own good.
They have become so reliant on digital technology and hands-free operation that one simple hack and a thief has overall control of many cars.
And the thieves love, more than anything, luxury cars, which often have the most sophisticated security tech.
For as little as £30, thieves can go online and buy an electronic-key gadget that beats the Range Rover’s system, for example.
So, the truth is, whatever car you drive, it’s vulnerable. The posher it is, probably the more vulnerable – after all, there’s a big steal-to-order demand for top-of-the range cars from overseas.
Especially in demand are Range Rovers, BMWs, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguars, Porches and Teslas. And, of course, any super car, such as an Aston Martin or Ferrari.
So, here, according to the experts, are the five best things you can do to foil thieves. And, guess what, the best are the most old fashioned.
1) Steering-wheel lock – These can be beaten, but they will certainly put off even some of the most experienced thieves. If nothing else, it just means they are more likely to move along and find a car they’re after that doesn’t have the hassle of a piece of steel locking the steering wheel in place. Victims of Range Rover thefts have been advised to add these to their vehicle.
2) Disklok - These have been shown to be fantastically effective. They are reinforced steel cases that enclose the steering wheel and immobilise it. More effective than a straightforward steering-wheel lock, but much more bulky.
3) Pedal box – These can be expensive but can be very effective. They are simply steel boxes that make access to the car’s pedals all but impossible. The downside is that one is not so visible to a thief as a steering-wheel lock, but they are made in bright colours and any thief who peeks through the window is going to see the box.
4) Lock your doors! - Sounds obvious, but a quick press on a key fob takes less than a second and barely any concentration – that’s why so many people forget to do it! When you had to get your key out and insert it in the lock, turn it and wait for the clunk, that took effort. Experts advise having a little routine when you park your car that always means you lock up. A second of focus and you’ll know it’s locked.
5) Park well - Where you park can make a difference. Look for places that are well-lit and in full view. Preferably, you should park where it’s obvious the stretch is being monitored by CCTV. Better still, choose a secure, staffed car park.
6) Add a better car alarm or immobiliser - Most cars these days are equipped with an alarm/immobiliser, but installing a superior version might be a good idea. You need a Thatcham-approved system. Thatcham Research was set up by the motor insurance industry to improve car security and safety.
7) Be aware when driving - It’s easy to imagine your car is in danger of being stolen only when you’ve parked and left it. Think again. These days, many thieves will be far more brazen and are quite ready to carjack. If you’re in very slow-moving traffic or stuck in a jam, make sure your central locking is on.
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