We all use our cars for very different reasons. One thing we all have in common, though, is that natural instinct to ensure our car’s safe when we leave it somewhere. But the truth is, we aren’t all taking as many simple steps to guarantee that as we could be. Whether you’re parking up for work or outside your home, there are plenty of steps you can take to make sure your car is as secure as possible.
1. Protect your keys
The easiest way for someone to break into your car is by getting hold of your keys. Keep them out of sight of any windows at home, and avoid leaving them by the front door where thieves could reach them through the letterbox. If your car uses a keyless start system, keep your fob in a pouch or container that blocks the signal. You could even use an empty aluminium drinks can for this, but be careful when cutting the top off.
2. Park smart
Where you leave your car both at and away from home can play a large in keeping it safe. Avoid parking in poorly lit, remote places. Stick to spots which are as conspicuous as possible, such as under street lights or in front of busy buildings like shops and hotels. Car parks with CCTV are usually the safest, but even when using these, try to leave your car in busy spots like near the entrance or by a booth if there is one. It’s also a good idea to drive into a space so your boot is facing out. This stops a potential thief from being able to hide behind your car while they try to break in.
3. Take care of the basics
We’ve all been there. We walk away from our car and feel like we forgot to lock it. It might be annoying to have to go back, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. The same applies to your windows, as leaving them even slightly open makes it easier for thieves to break in. Even if you’re only leaving your car for a few minutes, make sure it’s locked and all the windows are up.
4. Out of sight, out of mind
It may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many people leave their valuables in sight when they’re away from their car. Put things like laptops in the boot, or even better, take them with you. Avoid hiding your valuables under a coat on the back seat, as this is something thieves are well wise to. Keeping your car as clutter-free as possible is a good way to protect it from prying eyes, and this includes leaving wires around which might lead someone to think there are electronic devices stored in your car.
5. Sound the alarm
Most modern cars come with alarms and immobilisers, but if yours doesn’t have this, invest in an after-market system. Thatcham approved is best, and could also help to reduce your insurance premium. It can also be a good idea to fit a tracking device to your car. Often, thieves steal cars to use for only a short time, before ditching them. A tracking device gives you a better chance of being reunited with your car if this is the case.
6. Use deterrents
Sometimes, the most basic things can act as the best deterrents. If a thief sees a steering lock on your wheel, they’re more likely to think your car isn’t worth the hassle, and leave it alone. Steering locks can be particularly useful if your car uses a keyless system, giving you an extra layer of security. You can also get locks for your gearstick and handbrake, while even a blinking red light on the dash could help to deter someone who wants to break in. You could also put a sticker in the window saying your car has a tracker fitted, even if it doesn’t.