It happens thousands of times a week in North America. Another car is stolen. There are a host of anti-theft options available yet many of us simply rely on the capabilities that come built into the vehicle. This can be inadequate especially if you have an older model vehicle. We’ll describe several third party anti-theft options available to you that can suit your security needs the best.
Which anti-theft device is best for you?
The Car Alarm
This option has been around a long time and is now factory installed in most new vehicles. Car alarms are one of the most effective deterrents since they emit a loud signal and flashing lights when the car is tampered with. This can include anything from a breaking of a window, bumping the car, unauthorized entry, or sometimes even a large vehicle rumbling past that can trigger the alarm.
The alarm will (hopefully) alert the owner and anyone nearby, stopping the intended theft. Car alarms should be visible to intruders to act as a deterrent but you do run the a risk of the alarm being deactivated by experienced thieves. Hopefully it will act as a strong deterrent to intended joy riders.
The Steering Wheel Lock
A steering wheel lock is a mechanical immobilizer that attaches to the steering wheel to lock it in place. It prevents someone from driving your vehicle away. There are two primary types. One spans the steering wheel horizontally and attaches to the wheel at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. This lock extends outwards, preventing the wheel from turning. The second type attaches to the top of the steering wheel with the end placed over the front dash to prevent turning. Both of these steering wheel locks are easy to install and are a great visual way to deter thieves. Buy on Amazon …
The Wheel Chock Lock
The wheel lock is another mechanical immobilizer device and is similar to those used by police for illegally parked vehicles. It takes a bit of space in your trunk but the wheel lock is a another way to hinder theft. Attaching a lock is more time consuming therefore is targeted for situations where your car is parked for an extended duration such as parking your vehicle overnight on the street. Your vehicle cannot be driven away. Buy on Amazon …
The Pedal Lock
A pedal lock is a device that fits around the pedals of your car. The pedals are impossible to use until the lock is taken off. A good example of the pedal lock is the Club CL606 Brake Lock. It attaches to both the steering wheel and the brake, making it difficult to steer the car or use the brake. It also locks easily and you don’t need your key for installation. If you’re considering this type of device, check to make sure it fits your vehicles’ pedals before purchasing. Buy on Amazon …
The Car Hood Lock
A car hood lock won’t do much against car theft itself but it will protect your car’s engine from being picked apart and sold piece by piece. The EFORCAR Universal Racing Mount Bonnet Plus Flush Hood Latch Pin Key Lock is a good example. The lock opens with a key, like most car locks do. Hood locks are designed specifically for one make of vehicle, so make sure to check if it’s the right lock for your vehicle before you purchase it. Buy on Amazon …
The Kill Switch
Consider installing a “kill switch.” It’s relatively inexpensive. It disables the electrical system in your vehicle, making it impossible to drive away. A “kill switch” disables the ignition or fuel pump and cannot be de-activated until a series of steps are completed. The kill switch should be concealed. It can be disabled with a key, code, or even just a switch—otherwise, the car won’t start.
Make sure to check the warranty on your vehicle before you install one. Some car manufacturers won’t allow a kill switch to be installed while the vehicle is under warranty.
If you want additional protection, install several kill switches and designate the order they must be flipped. It makes your car virtually theft-proof.
The Immobilizer Device
An electronic immobilizer prevents a vehicle from starting without receiving an RFID signal from the key fob. The signal must be near to be received meaning next or inside the car. This device is not a fully fool proof protection against vehicle theft. An experienced thief might be able to bypass the system. Many newer vehicles have immobilizers built in. If you have an older vehicle, an immobilizer device can be installed.
There are reports of thieves using a booster setup to relay the signal from a key fob located in a house and trick the car into thinking the key fob is next to the car. Watch this short video on how easily this happened to a car owner. Buy on Amazon …
An Electronic Tracking System
In spite of the best precautions, an experienced thief might still find a way to steal your car. If this happens, your best bet at recovering your vehicle is to have an electronic tracking system installed to help locate it.
An example is the LoJack system, that tracks your vehicle almost anywhere using a specific radio frequency. It also integrates with police systems. It can be a fairly expensive system to install and might not work in all areas.
A less expensive tracking option to consider is the Spy Tec GL300 GPS Tracker. The small tracking device is placed in an unobtrusive location in the vehicle to let you track the vehicle from anywhere. It has geo-fencing options, so you are able to set a perimeter and receive a text or email if the car crosses that boundary. It is much less expensive than the professional LoJack system, but there is a monthly fee for the service.
Tracking systems are one of the more expensive options, but they do have high recovery rates. Buy on Amazon …
A Baby Monitor
An unusual anti-theft system is a baby monitor. There are many such wireless devices with night vision and audio capability. Leave the monitor in your car and get live feedback of what is happening. Make sure to have the audio turned up so you can hear if thieves are smashing in a window or discussing the fineness of your vehicle.
This completes our list. Unfortunately, we only have a Top 9 list and not Top 10, so if you have a suggested anti-theft method you are using, it will complete our list. Please let us know.
If they want it bad enough, they’ll find a way
The sad truth is that if a thief really wants your vehicle, they’ll find a way to steal it. And remember that your personal well being is more far important than your vehicle’s. Never confront or fight with a thief and don’t jump on the hood, or in the window to wrestle over the steering wheel. It looks good in the movies, but not so good in real life.
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