Useful Car Tips

Car Security Guide

August 21, 2019
Car theft is a serious issue which can impact anyone. Thieves can be creative, cunning, and brazen in their attempts to steal property, and can sometimes be successful in doing so. In fact, research suggests over 700 thousand motor vehicles are stolen in the US alone every year. In 2017, this meant that nationwide, a vehicle was stolen almost every 41 seconds. Thieves are constantly developing new and novel tactics, such as utilizing smart keys, switching VINs (vehicle identification numbers), and using stolen identities to secure loans. Although statistics suggest vehicle thefts are trending down, they still remain a prevalent issue and something every driver must consider. Although the statistics seem grim, the reality is that there are many proactive ways to combat the threat of vehicle theft. From simple tips like taking your keys with you and avoiding the bad parts of town, to using tools and technology such as steering wheel locks and VIN etching, actions can be taken to deter thieves. These measures and more will be enough to deter or stop all but the most determined of thieves, and will thus work to protect your property and hard-earned investment. So, are you looking to give your vehicle an extra level of security? Here’s how.


While your car most likely already has an alarm installed, aftermarket alarms can provide additional features and augment the security of your vehicle in tandem with other devices. While alarms are of course unable to physically stop thieves from stealing your vehicle, they instead work by deterring theft with the threat of being exposed to passerby or law enforcement. If a vehicle with an alarm is broken into, a loud and distinct noise will sound which can easily alert a thief’s presence to anyone in the immediate area. If a potential thief only even sees that a vehicle has an alarm, that alone may be enough to deter them.


If you’ve never seen one before, a steering wheel lock works exactly as you’re probably imagining it does. A steering wheel lock is a visible anti-theft device which is secured to one’s steering wheel before leaving the vehicle. While in place, it prevents movement of the steering wheel and thus deters thieves. Although even the toughest steering wheel locks can be broken or picked, doing so takes time and skill, both of which are factors that a potential thief may lack. Thus, a steering wheel lock is an effective and inexpensive security tool when used in combination with others.


Your VIN, or vehicle identification number, is a unique 17 character code that only your individual vehicle possesses. This code isn’t just used by an insurance company to give you a quote, it’s also an effective tracking tool. Car manufacturers put the VIN in several spots in a vehicle. Since each VIN identifies a particular vehicle, thieves often attempt to remove the VIN off a stolen vehicle which they plan to resell. If you have your VIN etched on your windshield and windows, thieves will have to spend time and money replacing these pieces in order to avoid identification when reselling. As with an alarm, VIN etching won’t physically prevent a potential thief from stealing your vehicle, but it will discourage them because of the monetary reason outlined above.. Thus, VIN etching is another cost-effective way to give your car a little extra boost of security.


These tools aren’t the only ways to protect your vehicle, however. There are several easy (and free!) methods for protecting your vehicle from the threat of thieves. The first is the most simple and obvious: lock your doors! Here’s a statistic that will undoubtedly surprise you: the National Insurance Crime Bureau notes that almost 230,000 vehicle thefts were reported with keys from 2016 to 2018, a whopping figure. Lock your doors, take the keys with you, and you’ll significantly cut down on your chances of being a victim. Another good guideline to follow is to always park in a well-lit area; preferably with other cars or people around. If parked next to a building, try to park closer to the entrance, as thieves are less likely to target vehicles in this area. Lastly, one of the best ways to deter theft—short of keeping your vehicle out of sight—is to keep your valuables out of sight. Thieves will target any valuables left in the open, such as phones, laptops, and GPS units. Stow away any valuables when leaving your car unattended and make sure they’re out of view of any passerby. Car theft is trending down, at least in the United States, but the risk always remains. Utilize these tips to protect yourself and your property and you’ll be well on your way to deterring all but the most determined of thieves. Good luck, and stay safe!
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