Between getting us to work, social events, travelling, and hauling in food and home supplies, a car is an essential part of our lives. Taking care of your car is important, but aside from general maintenance and regular servicing, it also includes keeping it safe to prevent theft or vandalism. Locking the car every day and everywhere you go is only the first line of defence. Here are some additional security features and tips aimed at safeguarding your vehicle.
Secured parking spot
The simplest and the best way to prevent car theft or vandalism is to keep it in the garage. Not to mention the protection a garage offers from falling objects in case of a storm. Still, even leaving the car in the driveway lessens the possibility of a break-in, especially if there’s a motion-activated floodlight mounted nearby. When parking away from home, always go for secured car parks, such as the ones with a ticket barrier or an attendant. If you need to park in the street, though, look for spots that are well-lit, busy with people and traffic and preferably with a CCTV camera covering the area.
Apart from waking up the whole neighbourhood in the small hours for no reason, they’re still a great deterrent to auto vandalism and theft. Most modern cars have alarm systems pre-equipped in the factory, but if you own an older model, you can easily have an alarm installed by professionals. Ask your insurance provider, and they may even give you a discount for installing a car alarm.
A car immobiliser is an electronic device which prevents the car from being started without the proper chip key. However, you don’t need to carry a spare key all the time, since even if you lose the chip key, your local car key locksmith will be able to gain entry, and if needed, cut and program you a new key. While car thieves once resorted to duplicating the keys and hot-wiring to start a car, immobilisers made this harder. Having an aftermarket immobiliser fitted can also lower your insurance rates.
A hidden transmitter that sends out a GPS or VHF signal of the vehicle’s location is your ace in the hole against car thieves. While GPS-based systems can pinpoint your car anywhere on the street level or in someone’s yard, a VHF system can even send signals if a car is hidden deep underground or within a shipping container. So why doesn’t everyone use one? Their biggest drawback is the price, which often includes a monthly subscription over the installation costs.
Steering, handbrake and pedal locks
Various steering and handbrake locks are a reliable deterrent for car thieves. With a simple to mount and dismount, one-size-fits-all design, they prevent the steering wheel or handbrake from being operated. Although an inexperienced thief might find these challenging to their own bad luck, more experienced ones will probably consider such an equipped car too time-consuming and risky to steal. A different type of device locks the clutch and brake pedal together, effectively preventing a thief from driving away.
Hide your valuables
Aside from aiming to steal your car as a whole, many thieves simply break into vehicles for the valuables they’ve spied inside. Keep your car free of bags, suitcases, coats and anything expensive and you’re depriving the potential thieves of motivation to break in. You don’t have to remove those items from the car, just place them in the boot or the glove compartment to hide them from plain sight.
By following these tips, your car will be much better protected. Leaving your car in a busy street reduces the chances of it being stolen, just as the electronic and mechanical security patents.