The pandemic has drastically altered the automotive industry in many ways, but one of the most unfortunate side effects has to be the huge spike in car theft, which has taken place since the initial lockdown in March 2020. With cars sitting on the drive for longer periods than usual, it’s reported that crimes of this nature have increased by as much as 60% in certain areas of the UK – so it’s never been more important to up your car security game.
Luckily, there’s a huge variety of products on the market to help you take extra precautions, from affordable everyday solutions to pricey hi-tech gadgets. Below, we’ve put together a list of our favourite security solutions – including tips and products – which can get the job done without breaking the bank.
Park Somewhere Safe
This may sound like obvious advice, but it’s something we often overlook amidst our desperation to find a parking space. If you have a drive to park on – or a garage you keep meaning to clear out, it’s well worth using these spaces, as they’re considerably safer than on-street parking.
When you’re parking in a town or city, using a paid car park is likely to be your best bet, as these often have CCTV in operation. However, if you do find street parking in a public place, it’s worth trying to park under a streetlight, especially if you’re leaving your car there in the evening.
Protect Your Key Fob
One of the most advanced and popular methods criminals use to steal new cars is a special signal amplifier, which uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) and near-field communication (NFC) to hack keyless fob signals.
Blocking these signals is the best way of ensuring your car isn’t vulnerable to this method of theft, and you can do so with the affordable DISLOK RFID Signal Blocking Wallet or the Streetwize Keyless Signal Blocker.
Just put your car key into the pouch after you’ve parked your car – be it at work, home or the supermarket – and both your keys and car will be safe.
Conceal Any Valuables
That doesn’t just mean taking your bag or wallet with you – but making sure that anything which looks as though it could be of value is concealed. Keep the sat nav and its accompanying cables out of sight in the glove box, and put your weekend bag in the boot. Don’t even leave your trolley change in the cupholder if its visible from outside your car – it’s not worth the risk, and repairing a window will cost far more than a parking ticket.
Lock Your Steering Wheel
Steering locks are another inexpensive and effective deterrent against potential car thieves. These aren’t foolproof, but they’re well worth the investment for the additional layer of protection they provide, as well as the peace of mind.
The Stoplock Original Steering Wheel Immobiliser fits the vast majority of steering wheels, and snaps shut in seconds – there’s no need to have the key on hand to lock it. This security gadget comes with instructions for locking and unlocking, as well as a 5 year guarantee in case you encounter any problems.
Alternatively, the Streetwize Double Hook Steering Wheel Lock is a double hook steering wheel lock with a heavy-duty design and a unique cross key locking mechanism which helps increase vehicle security. It’s easy to install and comes with 2 keys, locking and unlocking instructions.
Lock Your Car Every Time
When you’re popping into the garage to pay for petrol, it can be tempting to leave you car unlocked – but a lot can happen while you’re at the counter. Locking your vehicle every single time you leave it unattended will hugely increase car security, and it’s completely free.
Before you wander off, double check all your windows are closed too, as well as your sun roof (if you have one). If you’re leaving a furry friend to wait in the car, keep the window open a crack, but don’t leave it wide enough to make your vehicle vulnerable to intruders.
Install a Parking Barrier
If you have a designated parking spot at your home, or just like to park where you can keep an eye on your vehicle, but you still feel that your car is a bit more accessible thank you’d like, the Streetwize 3 Leg Parking Barrier could be the perfect security solution.
This foldable barrier is also ideal for designated parking spots, plus it’s just as quick and easy to install as it is to remove, so you can get going in no time when you’re in a hurry. Not only can you stop other drivers from taking your spot, but when your car is parked overnight, the barrier will deter any potential thieves.
Lock & Clamp Your Car Wheel
If you want to take it one step further and clamp your car wheel, the Sealey PB397 Wheel Clamp with Lock & Key could be the product for you.
The wheel clamp is manufactured from quality steel and zinc plating which resists corrosion. Fully lockable and supplied with two keys, the simple and quick ratchet action makes protection easy, keeping your vehicle safe and secure.
Install a Vehicle GPS Tracker
If you’ve purchased one of the products mentioned above but still want a contingency plan if your car does end up stolen while you’re at home, work or out shopping, the Streetwize Vehicle & Personal GPS Tracker is here to help.
Once installed in your car, the tracker sends you the GPS location on request. The tracker measures approx. 5 x 5 x 2 cm, so due to its size, it can be used to track other items such as pets and personal belongings like backpacks or handbags.
How to use:
-Insert a Pay-As-You Go sim card into the tracker.
-Charge up the tracker or connect to a vehicle battery or vehicle in use.
-Send the tracker a text message from your mobile phone and it will reply with a map with the GPS location.
Try VIN Etching
VIN etching is a method employed in an effort to make stolen vehicles easier to recover – rather than to deter the theft from happening in the first place – but it’s still a valuable countermeasure, well worth considering.
It’s a simple process whereby your vehicle’s identification number is etched onto the windows and windscreens of your car. This can be done at plenty of local dealerships, which will carry out this service for a reasonable price.
So there you have it – a few simple tips to keep your car as safe as possible, and some affordable security solutions if you want to take extra measures.
For more useful information on protecting your vehicle, consumer advice, buyer guides visit the Euro Car Parts blog.