In less than 60 seconds a car criminal is able to steal your vehicle and drive it away without a trace. With the days getting shorter and darker nights on the way it’s time to look at ways to improve your car’s security.
Check your car has an alarm, it may sound obvious but many people might not know their car doesn’t actually have one. If you have a car with no alarm, think about buying a Thatcham approved system which is recognised by insurers so can also help cut your insurance premium due to the lower theft risk.
A Thatcham-approved alarm has been passed fit to secure a car to a certain level. Categories range from 1 to 7. Category 1 is an electronic alarm and immobiliser, Category 2 is an electronic immobiliser on its own, Category 3 is a mechanical immobiliser while Category 4 is a wheel-locking device. Categories 5, 6 and 7 relate to post-theft vehicle tracking and location devices.
The electronic devices work by disabling power to the ignition circuit until a special coded fob is picked up in close proximity to a sensor which unlocks the ignition circuit so you can start your car. Mechanical immobilisers, also known as steering locks, usually fit across the steering wheel to prevent it turning and are an effective deterrent in older cars where an immobiliser isn’t fitted as standard.
Don’t tempt opportunist thieves. Loose change, a mobile phone, a sat-nav or even a laptop bag can, if left on view, attract thieves. Lock things away in the glove box well out of sight, put them in the boot or take them with you.
Parking in a locked garage is probably the safest option as a locked garage is harder to break into. If you don’t have a garage, your driveway, or a well-lit area in a spot visible by other houses may deter thieves because even if they do attempt to break in, the noise might disturb someone who sees something.
When parking, think about turning your wheels towards the curb, it makes it harder to tow your vehicle away. If your vehicle is rear-wheel drive, back into your driveway, front-wheel drive vehicles should be parked front end first. On four-wheel drive vehicles the rear wheels sometimes lock, making them difficult to tow.
Lock away your car keys at night, or at least hide them away in a safe place. Don’t keep them in an obvious place for example just inside your front door, thieves check these common spots for keys. If your car is stolen on the key, your insurance company might not pay out.
Alloy wheels are another easy target for thieves. Combat this by fitting locking wheel nuts, a special type of wheel securing device that needs a certain shaped key to undo the wheel.
Fit secure number plate fixings You should also ensure your car’s number plate fixings are secure. It’s all too easy for an opportunist passer - by to undo both your front and rear plates. If this happens, notify the police, to prevent your car being cloned.
Over the years new vehicles have become much more secure and consequently the number of cars stolen each year has fallen. However, car crime still remains whether it’s organised and planned, or an opportunist, it still pays to apply common sense and some of the above precautions to ensure your car is secure.
*Please note: This guide is for information purposes only and does not represent the views of Hyundai Motors. Following this information guide does not guarantee a vehicle will not be the victim of a crime.