How to keep your car safe and secure from theft


As car technology evolves, so do the thieves targeting your vehicle. Vehicle thefts have increased by 56% in the last four years, so it is imperative to be vigilant and protect your car from theft. Most insurance providers will only pay the current market price of your car at the time of theft. So even if your vehicle is brand new, it will have decreased in value by 20% as soon as you take it out on the road. To avoid this huge financial loss and becoming a victim to crime, we spoke to the experts at Design 911 who outline how to keep your car safe and secure from theft. To avoid thieves getting an easy ride, the experts have highlighted tips that are common sense, as well as new, unorthodox methods to watch out for.

1. Beware of illegal tow trucks

Illegal tow trucks are used by thieves to lift cars of the street, literally. Most often, towaway crews have uniforms and branded vehicles when towing a car. If they are acting strangely, it is wise to report this to the police. If you can, park in car parks with height-restricted entrances as this helps to prevent illegal tow trucks from stealing your vehicle. We recommend to also fit your car with tracking systems, if they are not already installed. This way, the police can trace your vehicle if it has been stolen.

2. Secure your port

This form of crime is often referred to as ‘keyless theft’ or ‘electronic compromise’ and consists of thieves stealing a vehicle using equipment that plugs into the OBD (On-Board Diagnostic) port. Not all vehicles have this port, but it is important to check if yours does so you can consider fitting a lockable cover onto it.

3. Watch out for test drive thieves

If you are selling your car, you need to be extra careful with who you allow to test drive your vehicle. In this type of theft, the thief pretends to be a genuine buyer test driving the vehicle but never returns with your car. Go with any prospective buyer on their test drive, and never leave them alone with the vehicle and its keys. Before allowing them to test drive your car, always ask for their contact details and verify their driving license and insurance.

4. Double check electronic locking

Although electronic locking can be a convenient way of locking your car, thieves can use electronic devices to jam the electronic signal from your key fob to your car. Before you walk away from your vehicle, you should always check manually to see if it is locked. Be sure to scan the immediate area before leaving to see if any thieves are waiting for you to go. If a thief whose watching feels as though they have been spotted, they are likely the move off.

5. Park vigilantly

When parking your car, avoid dark and isolated areas as this will make it easier for thieves to steal without getting exposed by passers-by. Instead, park in staffed car parks which are well lit and busier. Another pro tip is to turn your wheels towards surrounding vehicles in a car park or turn them towards the kerb if you are parked on the road. This deters criminals looking for an easy getaway. If you are parking at home, try park in line with a large window and as close to the house as possible. If you have a garage, utilise this space but ensure there are signs of security to deter criminals away. This can include cameras that connect to a smartphone app, improved exterior lighting and covers on your garage windows.

6. Fit good in-car security locks

Built in steering locks aren’t necessarily thief proof and many can be broken if force is used. Fitting a high security, sold secure steering wheel can give you the added protection you need. If you want to go one step further, use tire locks to prevent carjacking if you are parking for an extended period of time. Finally, if you have intimate knowledge of a vehicles wiring system, you can try install a kill switch. They are one of the more advanced anti- theft devices that work by disrupting the flow of electricity to the fuel pump or other main system, making it impossible to start the car without flicking the switch. Thieves want to be discreet and quick, so making the robbery as difficult as possible by hiding the kill switch out of main view may motivate them to move on.

7. Lock your vehicle

Perhaps the most basic advice, but the most important. The quicker a thief can steal your vehicle, the more attractive of an option it becomes. The easiest way a thief can get access to your car is by leaving it unlocked. Opportunist thieves look to see if doors, windows and sunroofs are left open and furthermore, your insurance policy could be invalidated by leaving a car unlocked. Whilst you may not leave your car unlocked at a shopping mall, it is actually illegal and unwise to leave your car unattended and unlocked when you warm it up in the cold weather. Simple steps such as locking your car will ensure your financial security and vehicles safety.

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