Without your car, traveling across town for groceries or ferrying the kids to and from soccer practice becomes a major hassle. But your car doesn’t just make your life more convenient—it also represents a major investment of your time and money. Unfortunately, the more time and money you put into your car, the more attractive it can become to potential thieves.
No one wants to wake up to an empty driveway or return to an empty mall parking space. Instead of worrying about the potential for car theft, use our tips below to safeguard your car and reduce its attractiveness to would-be thieves.
1. Always Lock Your Car
This first tip is the most obvious. However, many people neglect this key step. Some people accidentally leave their doors unlocked in the rush to park in a busy lot. Others don’t have automatic locks, which means they have to lock each door manually—an easy task to forget if they have a four-door car or if they frequently travel with guests. Still others assume that since they live in a safe neighborhood, they can leave their car unlocked overnight.
Don’t take your car’s safety for granted. Instead, always lock your car, even if you run into a store for five minutes or fewer. Similarly, don’t leave your car idling in a parking lot, even if you can see it from the store window. If you don’t have automatic/electronic locks, talk to your locksmith about installing them.
2. Don’t Leave Your Keys in Your Car
Many owners leave their keys in the car, especially if they park their car in a garage or if they only plan to stay inside for a few minutes. But if you leave keys in the ignition, you create an open invitation for thieves. Always lock your car and take your keys with you, no matter how long you plan to shop.
Along those same lines, you should always know where your car keys are. To minimize your chances of losing your keys, put them on a lanyard or clip them to your purse or pocket. If you lose your car keys, call a reliable locksmith immediately. He or she can repair or replace your key and help you get into your car if you’re locked out.
3. Add Security Features
If you have a newer car model, it might already have an advanced security system. However, you can improve your car’s system by adding other devices. Consider installing a protective steering column or steering wheel lock. You can also add systems that keep cars from starting, like ignition cut-off systems. In some instances, tracking devices installed directly into your car can help police find it.
4. Choose Your Parking Spot Wisely
Where you park can determine whether or not thieves target your car. For maximum security, always park in well-lit areas, including parking lots with bright lights and beneath street lights. If possible, park your car in a place where you can keep an eye on it—right outside a gas station’s window, for instance.
Along with parking wisely, park well. If you park on the curb, turn your wheels towards it to make the car harder to tow. Use your parking brake for the same reason.
5. Hide Valuables
After an expensive shopping trip, put your valuables in the trunk instead of laying them on the seats. Avoid leaving items like purses and wallets in your car as well.
6. Don’t Leave the Title in the Car
If you keep your car’s title in the glove box, a thief can easily display it if he or she gets pulled over by a police officer. The same is true of your car’s registration. Keep your title at home, and store your registration in an area thieves are less likely to check than the glove box.
Some car thieves are simply determined to get the job done, no matter how much you try to deter them. However, when you employ these six tips, you make your car less of a target. For more tips on car security, talk to your local locksmith.