Electric Cars / Employee

A practical guide to car security

Cars are more than engineered metal. Besides the price tag, cars have sentimental value. We develop an attachment with our trusty four-wheeled friend and the thought of losing it to theft or criminal damage is awful. Yet many of us are not doing enough to protect our cars from opportunistic theft or vandalism.

With lockdown enforcing essential travel only for many UK residents, cars are parked up idle for longer periods than normal which is great news for car thieves. Their methods are becoming increasingly sophisticated too. Today’s car thief is both opportunistic and more high tech than ever, with a lucrative market for both parts and false identities (yes, even for cars).


What can you do to help protect your car?

The good news is, a lot. Here’s our practical safety guide on car security and the best preventative measures you can take to keep your car safe during lockdown and beyond.


Choose the right parking spot

Let’s start with where you park, either at home or when you’re out. For many people, garages have become storage space for belongings rather than cars so on street parking can often be the default. Always choose somewhere well lit and in public view. The same applies to car parks – if possible, opt for one that’s security patrolled or covered by CCTV. And, even if it means trickier manoeuvring, always park near other cars rather than in an isolated space.


Never leave your car running

Especially in cold weather, it’s easy to leave the car running while you pop back inside for something. Leaving your car unoccupied and running, even for a minute or two, means you risk having the car stolen. This is the same when you’re dropping someone off, nipping into the shop or collecting the kids. Always lock the car, no matter how little time you are away from the vehicle. It only takes a few seconds for someone who knows what they’re doing to steal it.


Leave nothing of value on show

It might seem trivial but even loose change on show could be enough to make someone think it’s worth breaking in. Although they may not steal the car, vandalism can leave you with a hefty repair bill. Always take your belongings with you and consider removing your parcel shelf to show there’s nothing valuable stashed in your boot.


Don’t keep your logbook in the car (if you own it)

You’re not alone if your logbook stays in your car’s glove box. It seems like the best place to keep it but for all vehicles, we’d recommend not keeping any documents containing personal information in the car as it makes it easier for car criminals to steal your identity and sell the car on.


Make your car less attractive to thieves

There are some simple, low-cost ways to deter would-be thieves. Using a steering wheel lock may be enough to put someone off. And, whilst most modern cars will come with a factory fitted immobiliser, fitting a tracking device increases the chances of the police recovering your vehicle if it does get stolen.


Outsmart the latest tech

Increasingly, car criminals are operating a ‘relay attack’, transferring the electronic signals from a car key inside your home to a box alongside your car, and tricking your car into unlocking. An easy fix is to keep your keys out of sight in a metal box or safe as the signal cannot pass through metal.

Similarly, all modern cars will be fitted with an OBD (on-board diagnostic) port which criminals can use to bypass the immobiliser. You can protect the OBD with a special lock for around £200 or invest in a combined OBD protector, tracker and key-preventer.


Protect your wheels

Alloys can often be a target for thieves so take the time to fit locking wheel nuts which are low-cost, easily available and hard to remove without the correct key. Again, this is a simple measure which could be enough to deter an opportunistic thief.


Spotlight on Tesla

Tesla owners have the advantage of high security features as standard. Drivers need a PIN to drive and benefit from a powerful security alarm. Additionally, Tesla have pioneered a ‘sentry mode’ system that detects suspicious movement around the car, immediately activating the in-car cameras to begin recording.

Whilst the most determined of thieves may still overcome security barriers, most will be keen to find easy targets. Following these simple measures and investing in some low-cost visual deterrents will help ensure that your car remains attractive to you, and not to criminals.


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