Best Ways to Prevent Your Car Being Stolen
Many people worry about how attractive their car is to potential car thieves. Whilst top-of-the-range models clearly appeal due to their value, what makes a car most attractive to thieves is how easy and how quick it will be to steal.
Read on for our prime tips on preventing your car from being stolen.
Who you’re dealing with
Car theft appeals to several quite different types of thief.
The majority of car thefts are committed by professional thieves. These criminals are attracted to high-performance, high-value cars but are also in the market for more everyday models as their parts are more interchangeable. They are likely to have the car broken down into its constituent parts at a ‘chop shop’, allowing them to sell the car's broken down parts and make it harder to trace the stolen vehicle. Cars not broken down for their parts are often exported to other countries to fulfil the demand for certain models.
Joyriders are a different type of thief. These criminals are likely to be stealing for the thrill, so are attracted to high-performance, luxury cars. Luxury or not, these cars are often recovered but have usually sustained significant damage.
“Bump-and-Rob” thieves are carjackers whose tactics include bumping into your vehicle from behind and then immediately jumping out to steal your car when you get out to inspect for damage. Be cautious when jumping out; if you feel threatened, consider ringing 999 or driving to a well-populated area before exiting the vehicle.
Ways to dissuade a car thief or joyrider from stealing your vehicle
Always keep your car locked
You might be thinking, of course, I lock my car! It seems obvious, doesn’t it - but we mean at all times. That’s right, even whilst driving! Many cars have an easy internal central locking system. When you’re driving alone, or through areas of heavy traffic especially, it is wise to utilise this feature.
Close all apertures
The windows, the doors, the boot, the sunroof - always close them all. It can be tempting to leave your window open a crack during those hot months to let in a stream of fresh air, or to presume a sunroof is safe to leave ajar - but openings are areas of weakness that a thief can easily exploit. An open window can be rocked by the thief until it’s off its tracks, and then can easily be pried down.
Never leave your keys in your car
Surprisingly, many of us will park up to grab something out of the boot, for example, or to post a letter, and leave the keys in the car, whether in the ignition or in the central console. This is a prime opportunity for the opportune thief to strike; it’s much better for them to steal a car without damaging it, so this is an ideal opportunity that they’ll be looking to take advantage of.
In the case of a total loss, GAP Insurance will cover the difference between the insurance company payout and settlement figure from the finance company.
Hide your valuables
Never leave valuables and handbags etc on the seats or in the footwells of your car - nowhere visible. Use the boot for anything appealing, and where possible always draw the boot cover over or put in place the parcel shelf, to ensure that what’s in the boot cannot be easily seen. A laptop or handbag on a seat is so much more attractive than a cleared-out interior, where a thief would have to take a punt on whether any valuables might be hidden in the boot or not.
Never leave your car running unattended
Again, this can seem obvious - but how many of us have pulled up to drop something through someone’s door, for example, and left the engine running? As well as being bad for the environment to keep your engine idling, leaving the engine on is basically broadcasting the fact that the keys are in the vehicle and the car is ready to roll - it is an easy target for theft.
Keep your auto registration out of your vehicle!
It can seem appealing to keep your vehicle title in the car with you - as that’s where you’ll need it. But stow it somewhere secretive if you must, or ideally keep it away from the vehicle. Keeping it in the car means that many car thieves can get away scot-free, as even if stopped, they can produce the auto registration for police and look like the legitimate owner!
Install anti-theft security
Most cars have plenty of anti-theft security features, but if your car doesn't, you could consider installing some separately. As well as being off-putting for thieves (no one wants to steal a car that they know can easily and quickly be traced), some anti-theft security features also lower your insurance premiums.
a steering wheel lock.
Ignition cut-off systems.
Alarms that activate when the key is removed from the ignition.
Be cautious in the dark
Thieves tend to prefer to operate in the dark, at night. When you park up in the darker hours, be particularly cautious, and try to park in well-lit, well-frequented places where possible. It’s less easy to be captured on CCTV in the dark, and places tend to be less well-populated, making the thief’s job easier.
We are so concerned about our driving safety (as we well should be!) that it can be easy to be less in-tune with our off-road surroundings. Be cautious when parking up in parking lots, service stations, and garages; these are places thieves know cars obviously head for, but drivers are often less hyper-aware in these locations than they would be when actually behind the wheel.
If in doubt: back off
If you're confronted by a thief, remember - do not resist. Car theft is a huge inconvenience - but your safety is paramount. Damage to a car can be fixed or replaced; you can’t be!
Think about their getaway
Some thieves will consider towing your vehicle. When parking on a hill, consider turning the wheels towards the curb (or away from the road, anyway) and leaving the vehicle in gear - this makes you tough to tow.
We hope that these top tips might help you make your car less attractive to opportune car thieves. Ready for a new drive? Get in touch with Rivervale today to check through our list of electric, petrol, and diesel lease options. Request a callback and a member of our expert team will be in contact.
Leave a Facebook comment for your chance to win £20 of High Street Vouchers. Each month we pick our favourite comment from the previous month - get involved for your chance to win...
Users must be logged in to Facebook to view and add comments. Comments do not reflect Rivervale's views unless clearly stated.