Our car, our precious. For a lot of us, our cars are the result of years of saving and several sacrifices of drinks at Watson's on Saturday nights. Thus, keeping your vehicle safe and secure at all times should be of prime importance. Prevention is better than cure, and since none of us obviously ever want to face the situation of our car being stolen, it's important to safeguard your vehicle effectively.
We've put together some ways to protect your car from becoming someone else's means to a quick buck, so do read on, and try implementing at least some of these suggestions.
1. Lock and roll
Very often, we don't lock our doors or roll up the windows if we're ‘just popping across the road to the shop'. But that's all the time a miscreant needs to grab stuff from your car, or worse, make off with your vehicle. Keep windows rolled up as well, since you're only inviting trouble otherwise.
2. Garage it
Parking you car indoors inside a garage is one of the best ways to protect your car, since it is a huge deterrent for thieves, since breaking into a garage can be noisy and time consuming, thus making towing or driving the car out all the more difficult. Unless it's Nicholas Cage you're dealing with.
3. Valuables for money
Never leave valuables out in the open in your car, because that's going to tempt someone to break into your car. So audio system head units, laptops, iPods, handbags and purses, and even fancy thumb drives are all attractive to thieves because they're all easy money.
This is an extremely effective means of protecting your car, because even if the burglar is able to break into the car, driving away becomes all the more difficult. Immobilisers use a key containing a computer chip which communicates with the car engine, and renders it useless if someone tries to start it if the engine doesn't recognise the chip in the key.
5. Track ‘em down
Although a bit pricey, this is possibly the best bet to protect your car, since in the unfortunate event that your car is actually driven away, the system uses GPS to track your car's movement and will be able to provide the location of your car, making it easier for authorities to take action.
6. Stick ‘em up
Although most thieves will know how to turn off a car alarm, they may not choose your car over another to break into if they see an alarm sticker or blinking red light, since they know they will have to spend valuable seconds deactivating the alarm. You can have dummy ones installed too, even if don't have a security system.
7. Park safe
Even if you're only parking for half an hour or so, try and park in a well-lit, populated area where actions out of the ordinary will be noticed more easily. If you need to park your car outside for a significant period, turn the wheels towards the pavement as it will be harder to tow away the car that way.
8. Steer clear of trouble
While steering wheel locks are not the hardest devices for a thief to get around, it is a good deterrent since he will need to spend precious time and effort to unlock the steering wheel, before getting the car started. Locks for the shifter, brake pedals, external spare tyres, and the such are also good ideas - the harder it looks to steal the car, the safer your vehicle is.
9. VIN over
This is done commonly in countries like the US, since the value of the car in the burglar's eyes will immediately drop since he will have to replace those parts before selling the car. So etch the car's VIN number on the windows to begin with, and anywhere else you think it might make a good theft deterrent.
10. Accessory access
Things like those nice Light Force lamps or pricey rims you shelled out a bomb for are huge temptations for thieves, so make sure you've secured them properly with locking nuts, for example, or you'll end up like the owner of this jeep. Also try and park with the vehicle facing a wall or obstacle with as little gap as possible, to make them harder to remove.
11. Save document
Try not to leave documents like registration, insurance and licence papers in the car, because it makes it easier to sell the car. Also important personal paperwork like bank correspondence must never find their way into the glovebox, since even if your car isn't stolen, your personal information may find its way into the wrong hands.
12. Gone in 60 seconds
In India, the most commonly stolen cars are said to include the Mahindra Scorpio and Bolero, Chevrolet Tavera, Hyundai Santro, Toyota Qualis, Honda City, Tata Indica, Maruti Esteem, Maruti 800, and surprisingly, the HM Ambassador and Premier Padmini too. So be extra careful, and install effective protection if you own one of these cars.