In many countries around the world, vehicle theft is on the rise. In 2017, the FBI reported that 237 vehicles were stolen for every 100,000 people in the United States. In 2018, the United Kingdom saw a record insurance premium payments totalling more than USD450 million due to a rise in keyless car thefts. Meanwhile, Malaysia has consistently been ranked sixth out of the world’s top ten countries for vehicle theft in recent years.
As automotive technology becomes more advanced, car thieves are also catching up, adopting wireless hacking devices in order to get into the latest cars that have recently integrated keyless technology. Below are 5 ways—besides clearing your car of valuables that would interest passersby—you can secure your vehicles and deter car thieves from stealing your cars.
1. Use a steering wheel lock
Securing your steering wheel with a lock is the most effective way you can deter car thieves, as wheel locks make it extremely difficult for thieves to run away with your car even if they manage to get in and, in older car models, hot-wire your car. The latest variants are made of tough steel alloy, making them resistant to sawing. The best ones also have an easy release mechanism and weigh less than 4kg, so they’re convenient and light to use. Car thieves would rather minimise the risk of the added time and effort needed to dismantle wheel locks and move on to a vehicle that doesn’t use one.
2. Install an immobiliser
Old cars are an extremely popular item amongst car thieves—because many of them are susceptible to being hot-wired. Depending on the country you’re in, if you own a car manufactured before 2001, you should install an immobiliser. Immobilisers disable 2 out of the 3 components that allow vehicle movement when your key is not physically inserted into the ignition slot: the ignition, fuel system and starter motor. Even if someone were to break into your car and attempt to hot-wire it, their efforts would be futile.
3. Install a GPS tracker
Automotive GPS trackers like FindMe’s Trackmove Plug & Play OBDII vehicle tracker are capable of real-time location monitoring, as they’re integrated with satellite technology and secure cloud-based platforms. Even if a car thief manages to run away with your car, you’ll be alerted of your vehicle’s location and can quickly alert the relevant authorities to recover it.
4. Park defensively
Car thieves have gotten innovative with their methods, so there is never only one way vehicles get stolen. With some opting to use tow trucks in order to disguise as road authorities, parking your car with the tires turned toward the curb will deter thieves from towing your car, as they would virtually be rendered immobile. Additionally, you should always park your car in well lit areas at night and, if possible, in crowded, open spaces. The last thing a thief wants is to be seen stealing a car.
5. Keep your keys in a secure pouch
In recent years, car thieves have been getting their hands on wireless hacking devices for cars that feature smart keyless entry, with the devices costing as low as USD40. These devices essentially amplify a signal that transmits from the key to the car to trick the vehicle into thinking that the driver holding the key is within a valid radius to unlock the car when this actually isn’t the case. Securing your key in a signal blocking pouch or Faraday bag can prevent such devices from picking up any signal from your key.