Part V of the Auto Saving Series. If you missed a segment, start at the beginning.
Have you ever considered how protecting your car from theft could save you money? Time for you to talk to someone who has had one stolen…more than once. The aftermath of a stolen car includes such expensive ventures as rental cars, insurance deductibles (and increased rates) and repairs (when you get the car back at all).
A car is stolen every 26.4 seconds in America.¹ Common sense and some anti-theft devices will help you avoid auto theft.
When you buy a new car, consider some anti-theft features. If you are buying a used car, try some upgrades or mechanical devices.
Siren car alarms, or silent alarms which signal law enforcement, are the most standard of anti-theft devices. When a thief tampers with the car, especially door locks and the steering column or tries to “hot wire” the car, the alarm sounds.
Keyless (Remote) door/hatch locks
This has become industry standard for new cars, but can be easily retrofitted to older cars. The car locks are activated by a remote control: not a key in the door. Without the key chain remote, the windows must be broken to get into the car.
- Vehicle immobilizer
These sophisticated companions to car alarms disable portions of the electrical or fuel systems, making it impossible for a would-be thief to drive the stolen car.
- Keyless ignition
Buttons on key chain remotes control these ignitions. More expensive versions of the keyless ignition are voice-controlled or push-button inside the car with driver identity recognition. More new cars today offer this option.
Mechanical devices & Locators
Whether unseen or blatantly obvious, mechanical devices can stop a thief from taking a joy ride in your car.
- Steering Wheel & Tire Locks
Steering wheel and tire locks (tire boot) prevent car thieves from moving cars by preventing the motion of the steering wheel or the tires. The Club offers anti-theft products including its original steering wheel lock and Wheel Club.
Other choices include: Wolo Krook Lock, Lawman Unbreakable Car Bar, UNBREAKABLE AutoLock, The Wrap and SuperHooks
- GPS locator
OnStar is a subscription service offered on all new General Motors (GM) cars sold in the US and Canada after 2007. Drivers receive remote activated door unlock, lights and horn and stolen vehicle location.²
LoJack is a theft recovery system. If the car is stolen and reported to the police, LoJack police tracking units can follow the signal of the radio transmitter to the location of the car.
All LoJack transmitters are registered in a global police database. 90% of all LoJack equipped stolen cars are recovered. ³
- Window tint
Where laws allow, window tint protects a car from theft by preventing a thief from seeing how to get into the car without being noticed.
This is another ounce of prevention. Using your head when leaving your vehicle is the most effective deterrent to auto theft.
Park in a well-lit area. Park close to walkways to prevent the thief from having uninterrupted time to steal the car.
- Turn it off
Never leave a running car unattended. It only takes a moment to drive away.
- Hide assets
Place valuables, like laptops and shopping bags, in the trunk or glove compartment. Cars with visible valuables are more enticing.
- Lock doors and close windows
Thieves will try handles to find the easiest car to steal. If a thief can reach in the window and open the door, he will.
- Keys in your pocket
Thieves know where keys are hidden on a car. Better (and cheaper) to be locked out of your car than have your car stolen.
Disable the ignition
If the car will be parked for more than 24 hours or in a theft area, don’t let it drive away.
Beginner: Disconnect one battery cable.
Intermediate: Unplug the distributor cap.
Advanced: Remove the distributor rotor.
Keep your car from becoming a statistic by choosing anti-theft devices and exercising common sense.
How do you protect your car from theft?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2009-2011
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