Top Tips

August 12, 2011 4:35 pm

Tips on how to protect your car from theft

The rioting that engulfed a number of English cities last week should remind us how important is it to take out insurance to cover our possessions.

Michael Fraser, ex-burglar and security expert in partnership with insurance brokers says that as well as cover for damage cars, owners should also take action to avoid the theft of their vehicles.

He found that the cars most favoured by thieves tend to reflect an upmarket taste. Their vehicles of choice include the BMW 3.5, Jaguar XJ, Mercedes C Class and the Range Rover Sport because of their power, speed and durable build.

There are a number of things you can do to lower the chances of your motor being stolen, the following of which have been outlined by Mr Fraser:

1) Awkwardly park your car

A car thief will avoid your car if it takes a lot of effort to move it, so turn your wheels into the kerb when parking on the street, or towards another car when in a car park. Also, try not to reverse into a driveway, instead go in bonnet first and turn the wheels. If you do have a driveway always use it as it means the thief would have to come closer to you to get the car, and they do not want to do that.

2) Take everything out of sight

Untidy cars attract thieves, which includes leaving things on show such as phone leads, handbags, sat nav holders and paperwork. It indicates to a robber that you may have been in a rush and not only left something of value within the car itself, but forgotten to lock the door or closed the window properly. Put all gadgets in the glove box. under the seat or ideally locked away in the boot.

3) Adorn your car with decorative repellents

If a car has flowers painted on it or fluffy toys inside it will be more likely to be shunned by a thief. This is because it draws the wrong sort of attention and lacks ‘street cred’; also they tend to be cheaper cars. Private plates are also a deterrent due to standing out and being easily spotted.

4) Alarms and visible security signs do work, so use them

A car robber doesn’t want to spend an immeasurable amount of time trying to remove an anti-theft security device such an alarm or steering wheel lock, so it’s worth investing in them if you don’t already use them. Even simple stickers will put off a criminal, happily moving onto another vehicle with no visible protection at all. Factory fitted alarms are the best, as cheaper ones on the market are easier to bypass if the thief really tries to.

5) Hide your keys, even indoors

In the old days a thief would just hotwire a car - but modern technology has put paid to that practise and new cars now need the memory chip which is in the key to start. Often, thieves will go ‘letterbox fishing’ or try the back door of the property because so many people leave theirs open. It may seem simplistic, but many people leave their keys in their hallway, on the stairs, in handbags left on the ground floor or in the kitchen, freely available for somebody to grab if they can get access.

The car least likely to be stolen is the Ford Ka, due to its perceived cheapness and lack of power. “The best way to keep your vehicle safe is to put a tracker on it, wheel locking nuts, a sticker saying the vehicle is alarmed, keep the inside tidy, keep the car locked, the windows shut and everything out of sight,” Mr Fraser said.

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