Follow these 11 simple rules to protect your car:
1. Lock your vehicle
Locking your vehicle, even when filling up or parked on your drive, greatly reduces the possibility of it being targeted by an opportunist thief. Even if you have locked your vehicle, check you haven’t left any windows or the sunroof open.
2. Avoid leaving valuables inside your vehicle where passersby can see them
This is a very simple but very important step to protect your car and your valuable items.
3. Keep the keys safe
Keep your keys safe, out of view when at home, and away from your front door.
4. Be aware of carjackers
In traffic, drive with the doors locked and when queuing leave enough space in front of your vehicle to enable you to get out of a tight spot. If your vehicle is bumped from behind, wait to pull over – somewhere safe and preferably where there are people.
5. Park responsibly
It’s always advisable to avoid parking in dark and secluded areas.
6. Watch for illegal tow trucks
Thieves often attempt to lift vehicles from the street, literally. So, if you see a towaway crew acting suspiciously – especially if their vehicle isn’t branded or if they’re not in uniform – then report it immediately.
7. Fit good in-car security locks
An added protection would be to install steering wheel, gear lever or clutch pedal security device.
8. Double-check electronic locking
Always manually check your vehicle has locked before walking away.
9. Before you buy, check for cloning
Changing the identity of a vehicle, known as vehicle cloning, can be as simple as adding stolen number plates. When buying a vehicle, always check that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the vehicle is the same as on its documents.
10. Secure your port
Many vehicles are fitted with engine management diagnostic ports, which can be accessed without the thief needing to open the vehicle doors, but which can unlock and start your vehicle. If your vehicle has this type of port, consider fitting a lockable cover.
11. Be aware of test drive thieves
Test drive thefts are where a thief answers an advert for a vehicle sale pretending to be a genuine buyer. When they meet the vendor they ask for a test drive and never return with the vehicle. Always go with the prospective buyer on any test drive and don’t leave anyone alone with the vehicle and its keys.
Sources: www.met.police.uk, Geico