When it comes to your pride and joy, car security has to be a serious consideration. From the theft of possessions, theft of parts and accessories, vandalism to the car and the theft of the car itself, you certainly have to take the right precautions.
Car theft is a real menace and unfortunately not that uncommon, especially if someone takes a fancy to your gleaming car. So get some car security sorted!
Unfortunately certain area’s have higher car crime than others. Words such as sneaking, jacking, gifting, frosting and hooking are used by these car thieves and generally they are by the younger joy rider brigade, TWOC is used to describe someone who has Taken Without Consent. Luckily enough most of the cars taken this way are old Vauxhall Belmonts, Astras and Novas, Austin Metros, Maestros and Montegos and Ford Fiestas and Escorts, mainly due to the fact they are easy to steal and have very little car security, so an easy target for a joy rider.
And of course there are the, in it for money car thieves, who steal to sell and will happily take your car and either change it’s identity or export it to another country.
What you can do
There are a number of car security measures that you can do to either help deter, make it difficult or stop the would be thief.
Firstly, new cars now have a car security system rating as follows:
E = Exceeds the security requirement for a car of this type and the group rating has been reduced – so a group 10 car that exceeds the standard is listed as a 9E.
A = Acceptable security requirements for the car’s group.
P = Provisional – incomplete data when the model was launched.
D = Doesn’t meet the security requirement for a car of this type and the group rating has been increased as a result – so a group 8 car that doesn’t meet the standard is listed as a 9D.
U = Unacceptable – the level of security is significantly below requirements. The car won’t be uninsurable, but some insurers may insist on a security upgrade before they cover you.
These letters are now starting to appear next to insurance group ratings to demonstrate how secure the vehicles are for insurance purposes. Why not visit the Thatcham Website! (opens new window) – have a look around, it’s full of excellent information, including security data on individual vehicles.
What you can do yourself to protect your pride and joy and possessions
The free options –
- Lock your car – well you do sometimes take a risk. I always lock my car doors, even when paying for petrol. A lady the other day parked next to me at some shops, and guess what? not only did she leave the car unlocked, she left the car running? Not only is leaving a car running unattended dangerous, it is also illegal in this country (unless you are working on it), but she was lucky that no one wanted her Ford KA. Also even when driving it’s possible to get car jacked
- Also don’t leave the keys in the ignition when away from the car, if it is stolen, the insurance company wont pay out.
- Ensure the windows are closed properly
- Hide valuables from sight, put them in the glove box or boot, even when travelling
- Park somewhere safe, busy and well lit or in a manned car park. May be advisable to park with your wheels turned slightly in towards the curb, to avoid the car being towed on the street
- Put it in the garage at home if you have one or behind a gate (preferably locked)
- Put your keys away and not reachable from a letter box/open window in the house or place of work
- Screw down your number plates and report them stolen straight away if they are stolen. They can be used for identity on another car, this could become a bit of a headache
- Remove all traces of owning a portable Sat Nav or speed detector, if you show signs of owning one i.e. leave your bracket in place or on display, a thief will break into your car to look for it
- Don’t leave your vehicle documents in the car
- Remove wheels and battery from winter laid up cars
- Inform the police ASAP when a crime takes place
- Almost free – use stickers warning that you have an immobiliser, alarm or tracker
What you can buy to protect your pride and joy and possessions –
- Purchase anti theft number plates, new on the market
- Use locking wheel nuts
- Use a steering wheel lock, various types, from stick locks that go through the steering wheel to full steering wheel covers
- Handbrake and gear knob locks
- Immobilisers –these use a chip in a key and a chip in the ignition/engine electronics, they recognise each other, allowing the car to be started. Fitted as standard to almost every car in Europe since 1995
- Car alarms, various from simple opening door activation, to knock sensors and motion/air disturbance sensors
- Trackers – Some use a transponder and a receiver, others GPS or GSM and some have even more complicated systems that have owner recognition, with automatic alarm, engine cut-off (when stationery) and owner contact. Some systems only activate when the car is stolen and some have a monthly fee to pay. All are able to be tracked by the police
- Cut off switch for fuel
- Cut off switch for ignition
- Car cover – covering your car when not in use can hide the type of car and also make it appear to be off the road and not useable
- Security etching on glass
- Enhanced protection glazing (EPG) – breakable glass in case of emergency but tougher and noisier to break
- Wheel clamps
- Removable or retractable stereo
- Garage it and you can even buy various locks and garage security systems also.
Many insurance companies will have a list of approved alarm, immobiliser and tracker systems, such as Thatcham approved car security devices which require a certificate as well as installation by an approved expert.
To just clarify a little here:
• Cat1 = an electronic alarm and immobiliser (full system)
• Cat2 = electronic/electromechanical immobiliser (engine immobiliser)
• Cat3 = mechanical immobiliser (approved steering locks)
• Cat4 = wheel locking devices (locking wheel nuts)
• Cat5 = trackers
Ever growing problem of the clever car thief
No matter what you do, there will always be some clever thieves out there, some using all sorts of GPS jammers, laptops etc.
However there’s no point in making it easy for them. As you can see there are many ways to improve your car security and some that don’t cost a penny, oh and don’t forget to get the right insurance cover!
I’ve got one of these, but it works the other way round!