How to Prevent Your Car From Being Stolen
Posted on September 23, 2022
It is a nightmare no one wants to deal with; you’re ready to head home after a lovely meal at a restaurant and you swear you parked right there - yes right there - you get that awful sinking feeling and start to check if your car is stolen. Along with the unfortunate amount of time it will now take you to correspond with the auto insurance company/police, get a replacement vehicle and deal with all the formalities - there is of course the feelings of being violated and dealing with anything else you may have lost along with your vehicle that was taken. Plus, you probably also liked your car and cannot help but feel sad for the loss - not just the inconvenience.
A CTV.ca news report from January 2022 confirmed a car is stolen every 48 minutes in Ontario, according to insurance platform HelloSafe.ca. While it may never be possible to guarantee car theft prevention, making it more difficult for your vehicle to be taken by a car thief is often enough to deter criminals looking for an easy target.
If you’ve read this far, you are probably now wondering: How to prevent cars from being stolen from parking lots? How to prevent a car from being stolen from a home driveway? How to prevent car parts (like batteries, tires, Catalytic Converters) from being stolen?
Here are a few car safety tips to reduce the risk and minimize the impact of auto theft.
Car Theft Prevention Hacks:
Sometimes, the simplest advice is the best and that is why the best way to prevent car theft is simply to lock the doors and roll up the windows. It may seem obvious, but many people miss these initial steps that deter petty theft.
You should also ensure any valuables are out of sight. This means placing them in a covered truck, glovebox/console or taking them out of the vehicle completely. Sometimes what is in your car is just as tempting as the vehicle itself. And don’t assume a dirty gym bag is not appealing to a thief. You’d be surprised at what may look enticing to them. You also shouldn’t leave ownership or insurance cards in your vehicle.
Whenever possible, park in a safe spot. That could mean a garage if you have access or in a well lit area of a parking/your driveway or a busier location if available. Also if you park in a driveway, make it more challenging for your vehicle to be towed away by parking rear-wheel drive vehicles backwards and front wheel drive vehicles forward with your wheels turned as well. This will not stop a professional from being able to tow your vehicle, but can stop car thieves looking for easy targets.
Never leave your vehicle running unattended. I know, it’s Canada, warming up your car sometimes seems like a necessity. If this is a practice you like (or need) to do - invest in a remote starter if your vehicle doesn’t already come with one.
Just running into the gas station to pay? Just collecting the mail from the community box? Never leave your vehicle unattended with the keys inside. It takes seconds for someone to hop in your car and they will be gone long before you can react to stop them.
Along the same lines, ensure your key fob and spare keys are not in plain sight (like near a front door or window). Not only will this temp a thief to break into your home to get your keys - but a thief can use this close proximity of your wireless fobs to their advantage.
Keyless car theft prevention can be a little different from the manual and common sense approach. As cars became more tech savvy, so did the criminals who take them. The wireless signal from your fob can actually be copied and your vehicle tricked into thinking a key is present. You can actually turn off your keyless entry so the wireless signal cannot be intercepted (see your manual for instruction). There are also key fob signal blocking pouches you can purchase to keep your keys in that physically block the signal from radiating thus disabling the thief’s ability to copy the signal. They’re readily available on amazon.ca and other sites.
Which are the gadgets for car theft prevention?
If you are in a particularly notorious neighborhood for vehicle theft, your vehicle’s stock car alarms or security system may not cut it - you should consider anti theft device alternatives. Often touted as the best car theft prevention device, investing in a steering wheel lock will make it near impossible to take your vehicle in one piece. Lug nuts are inexpensive and also will make it much more challenging for your wheels to be stolen. Many vehicles on the road today are also equipped with an immobilizer that will only allow the vehicle to start if the right key is present - if your car doesn’t have one you can get one installed to avoid your vehicle from being hot wired. You can also install a cleverly located kill switch that must be activated in order to start your car.
Is a 'Kill Switch' Effective in Preventing Car Theft?
The short answer is a resounding yes! Just be sure that wherever you place the kill switch is inconspicuous - the purpose is completely defeated if the kill switch is easy to see. Are there other types of tools that can prevent vehicle theft?
Are there tracking systems for car theft prevention?
If you do find yourself in a situation where your vehicle has been taken, there are ways you may be able to track your stolen car. First of all, you should report the stolen vehicle to the police, making sure you have all the information they will ask for (most importantly you will need the VIN, details of your vehicle and where you last had it as well as your identification). You may have installed (or have from factory) a GPS monitor that can locate your vehicle - this is a great place to start - however many skilled thieves have ways to disconnect these features and render the GPS ineffective. You may never see your vehicle again, but it is absolutely worth the effort to try and find it. Of course, you’ll need to contact your insurance company too - maybe this article serves as a reminder to check which is the best car insurance for theft coverage available to you.
Need a new car because yours was stolen? Looking for a vehicle that has a remote start, immobilizer or car alarm? Check out our extensive inventory of new and used vehicles here and/or reach out to one of our trusted Product Advisors at carhub.ca/contact.
James Walker is a car nut and motoring writer with a love of all cars fast and slow. He drives a lot, and has been writing about cars for over five years.