Top Tips for Car Security: How to Keep Your Vehicle Safe and Secure
For many of us, our cars are a lifeline, allowing us to get to work, bring home large food shops and visit family and friends in other cities. A lot of people also take pride in their cars, investing a lot of time and money into their maintenance and upkeep, so naturally you want to ensure that your vehicle remains safe and secure at all times.
Unfortunately, we do see high levels of car crime in the UK, but there are plenty of steps you can take to reduce the chances of becoming a victim. Having the right security measures in place could even save you money on your car insurance too, so if you want to find out some of the best ways to protect your vehicle, read on for our handy guide.
Most of us have been woken up by the inconvenience of a car alarm in the middle of the night, but these systems are a vital part of vehicle security. Most modern cars come pre-fitted with an alarm, but if your vehicle is older or if you’ve purchased a car second hand then it’s worth getting an alarm professionally fitted.
Installing an alarm could help you to get cheaper car insurance rates, and while they can’t stop your car from being driven away, the loud noises and flashing lights are often a powerful enough deterrent. Car alarms draw attention to your vehicle and alert any passers by to a potential theft and many thieves will give up and run away if they’ve been caught in the act. Many alarms also send an alert to your mobile if they’ve been activated, so you can keep on top of security even if your vehicle is parked elsewhere.
Hide your valuables
Many thieves won’t bother with the hassle of trying to steal your car and drive it away, but there are plenty of opportune burglars who won’t think twice about smashing a car window if there are valuables left in plain sight. Don’t leave items like sat navs, laptops, mobile phones or other electronics out on the seat or dashboard; always take them with you or hide smaller items in the glove box. Items like designer sunglasses or even briefcases and jackets are also popular, so remove any item of interest just to be safe.
Lock your car
It might sound painfully obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people leave their car unlocked; either due to forgetfulness or because they think leaving it unlocked for a few minutes doesn’t count. Always, always lock your vehicle if it’s unattended, even if you’re just popping in to pay for petrol, as you never know when opportune thieves may be around.
Close all windows and sunroofs and lock your car doors taking the keys with you – you’d be surprised how many people leave their cars unlocked with the keys still in the ignition!
Add an immobiliser
An immobiliser is an electronic security device fitted to your car, which prevents the engine from running without the correct transponder key. An immobiliser can’t stop your car from being broken into, but it makes it much, much harder for criminals to drive the vehicle away. From October 8th 1998 onwards, all UK cars were fitted with an immobiliser as standard, but you can arrange to have an immobiliser professionally fitted if your car is older than this.
Car tracking systems
Car tracking systems use a transmitter hidden in your vehicle so that it can be tracked down if stolen. GPS trackers are a popular choice and many come with additional alarm features and mobile notifications if unauthorised movement is detected. GPS trackers can detect vehicles at street level, but if you’re after an extra level of security, choose a VHF system. These can detect a stolen car even if it’s being stored underground or in a storage container.
Tracking systems can be expensive, but they’re one of the most reliable and effective ways of protecting your vehicle and recovering it if it is stolen.
Upgrade your locks
Car door locks vary greatly, depending on the make and model of your car, but it’s usually possible to upgrade your locks to a newer model with more advanced security features. This is a good option if you’re looking to increase security but can’t afford to upgrade to an entire new vehicle and many people now choose electronic locks for added safety.
Keyless entry system locks are much harder to break into than a standard key entry lock and many have built in security measures which prevent the car from starting unless the key and fob are within a few metres range.
You can also upgrade by adding additional locks to the inside of your car, such as steering wheel locks or handbrake security devices. These locking devices are made of strong durable metal but they’re relatively inexpensive, making them a worthwhile investment for the safety of your vehicle. These locks provide a visual deterrent to thieves, but make sure they fit securely for your make and model of car before using them out on the road.
Where you park your car is just as important as the physical security of the vehicle itself, so if you have a driveway or garage on your property then make the most of it. Cars are far less likely to be stolen or broken into if they’re parked off the street, but this isn’t always possible for car owners.
If you do need to park your car in a public place, choose an area that’s well lit and ideally protected by CCTV. Secure, multi-storey car parks tend to be better protected than open air lots, as they have ticket barriers and security systems in place, so seek out this type of parking out where possible.
Keep track of your keys
Again, it might sound obvious but it’s important to be mindful of where you put your car keys (including spare sets). As mentioned above, always lock your car and keep keys out of sight; it’s simply not worth the risk of leaving them on the dashboard while you pop into a shop, no matter how safe that may feel.
Security experts also advise vehicle owners to keep keys out of sight in their home and away from the front door. While this might seem like the most convenient place, so you can grab your car keys on the way out, thieves have been known to break into houses because they’ve seen car keys through a porch or front door window. Hang keys on a hook that’s out of sight or keep them in a secure key cabinet instead.
It’s also a good idea to have the details of a professional locksmith you can trust, in case you do lose your keys or end up locking them in your car. Locksmiths can provide many valuable car key services, including replacement keys, removing broken keys from locks, 24/7 emergency service, security code retrieval and immobiliser resetting.
Etching or marking
Marking or etching are ways to stamp your car with a unique identifying mark or number, which can help it be traced in the event of a theft. One popular method is known as VIN etching, this involves etching your vehicle’s identification number onto windows or windscreens, so it can be easily traced if it goes missing. Etched cars are also much harder for thieves to sell, as the vehicle is easily recognisable and traceable, so this may put them off an attempted theft in the first place.
If you don’t want to etch your windows then you could simply mark your car with an ultraviolet security pen, or use it to mark any valuables left inside such as GPS trackers or CD players.
Your car keys are an essential part of keeping your vehicle safe and secure, but it can be a nightmare if you find yourself locked out. If you’re in need of a professional car locksmith in Liverpool or the Wirral, get in touch with the team at Campbell & McGovern. With over 35 years’ experience in the industry, we’re proud to provide reliable, high quality services, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our experts can be with you within the hour, and we can help with a wide range of issues, from broken keys to replacement fobs, key cutting or system reprogramming.
We also provide a wider range of security services for your home or business, including home safes, CCTV systems, access control, aluminium door locks, and more. For more information about any of our services or to arrange an appointment, give us a call today or visit our website.