With the amount of money we spend on our cars, and how dependent we are on them, the last thing we want is to have them stolen. If you’re looking for ways to secure your car, there’s a range of car accessories and devices available to give yourself some peace of mind. In this guide, we’re going to take you through PassMeFast’s top ten accessories to keep your car secure!
10. Security post
We’re kicking off the list with a handy device that could literally stop car thieves in their tracks. That’s right, we’re talking about security posts (or bollards). Though you’ll typically see them in business car parks and the like, they’re also available to purchase for domestic use. The important thing to note here, however, is that they’re only a viable option if you’ve got a driveway. If you don’t have one, there’s no way in which you could make a security post work. Don’t worry, though: we’ve got plenty of other devices for you to sink your teeth into below.
You’ll find a wide variety of security posts in the market—ranging from fold-downs to lift-outs to automatic. Your choice will depend entirely on your budget and how quickly you want it installed. To ensure that your security post is installed in the best place possible and stands no chance of malfunctioning in some way, you’d be better off getting an expert to sort it out for you. After all, regardless of the type you opt for, you’ll need to have someone dig up the ground to set it up.
Ah, the humble steering wheel lock. Though it might be one of the oldest car security accessories around, it’s still as handy now as it was back in the day! It’s no wonder they’re so ubiquitous—it’s a simple, portable, yet effective, security tool to have at your disposal. All you’ve got to do is attach the lock to your car’s steering wheel and it will prevent anyone from driving off. Obviously, there are ways in which potential thieves might be able to get past it, but it will make it a more time-consuming process. The longer it takes to crack your car, the more likely it is that thieves will give up or not even bother at all!
It might seem a bit obvious to point out, but before you set your heart on a particular model, you’ll want to read the product description. Some locks might be too long or small for your steering wheel.
8. Tyre lock
If you’ve ever seen a tyre lock before, it’s likely been in association with the police. However, you may not have realised that they’re also a great way to deter car thieves. After all, if someone wants to break into your car and drive off with it, they’d need to unlock the tyre lock or dig out a pair of bolt-cutters to get through it!
Obviously, you’d only really use your tyre lock when you intend to park your car for a long duration of time. You wouldn’t lug it out and attach it every time you stop off at the shop! Before you fork out for one, make sure you check the size of your car’s tyres in your vehicle handbook. You don’t want to buy one that’s too small! Once you’ve bought one, you can keep it in your boot with your other essential car items until it’s needed.
Next on our list is an oldie, but a goldie, in the world of security. You won’t find many thieves who are particularly interested in being recognised or identified in CCTV footage. If you take care to position it in a noticeable place (make sure it’s out of reach), you’ll likely deter many potential car thieves right off the bat. If you’re feeling fancy, you could fork out for one that comes with automatic floodlights—a great way to scare off anyone who gets too close to your car!
No matter how much security you put in place, there’s never a 100% guarantee that your car will never get stolen. If you have CCTV, however, you’ll at least be able to potentially catch a glimpse of the culprits and possibly help the police in their attempts to recover your car.
6. Brake lock
While you might be familiar with steering and tyre locks, we’re willing to bet you’ve never heard of a brake lock. Interestingly, however, this device probably offers even more security. So, how does it work? As the name suggests, it has something to do with the brake pedal. The brake lock bar extends from your steering wheel to the back of the brake pedal, and will only retract once you’ve unlocked it. (It can also be used for the clutch pedal.) This consequently makes it all but impossible for anyone to drive off with your car.
As with the steering and tyre locks, however, you’ll want to carefully check the measurements of any brake locks you’re eyeing up. They tend to vary in size depending on your particular car model.
Next on our list is a device that is great to have up your sleeve: a vehicle tracker. Though it can’t prevent your car from being stolen, it can play a vital role in the recovery of your vehicle. When you report your car as stolen, the tracker can be activated and the signal can then be used by the police to recover your car.
There are two main types of vehicle trackers: one that uses a VHF signal and one that uses GPS. If you have a VHS tracker, it will allow your car to be tracked even if it’s in an underground car park or a garage. A GPS tracker, by comparison, can often have its signal jammed. If you’ve got enough money saved up in your piggy bank, you could even opt for a more advanced tracker that will enable you to disable your car remotely!
You should know, however, that vehicle trackers can be an expensive purchase. Not only do you have to fork out for the fee of the tracker itself, you often have to pay a subscription fee for the tracking service. Fortunately, it can help you save money as well—some insurance companies offer lower premiums if you install a tracker.
One of the main ways in which car thieves are able to break into vehicles and steal them is by exploiting the use of keyless fobs. By using a relay device, thieves can amplify the signal from your fob in your home to a transmitter next to your car. Essentially, it tricks your car into thinking that they are using your fob. And the worst part? Once they’ve broken in, they can just use the start-stop button to drive off!
So, what can be done about it? There are countless types of signal-blocking bags and pouches that you can use to shield your fob from thieves. If you buy one, be sure to place it where you usually throw your fob—it will remind you to put your fob away properly before you go to bed. (If you don’t fancy forking out for one of these bags, many drivers swear by using a biscuit tin to store their fobs instead!)
3. Window etching and car marking
When it comes to selling a stolen vehicle, most thieves will opt to break it down and sell the spare parts. Then can run into problems, however, if the vehicle they’ve stolen has a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched onto the windows and windshield. Most auto parts buyers will avoid buying parts that have been etched. With the high risk involved, some thieves might decide to avoid your car if they see your etched windows.
Window etching isn’t just a great thief deterrent—it’s also beneficial if the worst case scenario does happen and your car is stolen. It can increase the chances of your car being recovered by the police. Think of it as a trail of breadcrumbs leading them right back to you. Similarly, if you mark your car with your VIN using an ultra-violet pen, or using micro-dots, you can throw a wrench into the plans of any car thief!
If that wasn’t enough to persuade you, you should know that some insurers will reduce your premiums if you etch your windows. Remember: when it comes to car insurance, you get rewarded for keeping your vehicle safe and secure!
2. A Thatcham-approved alarm
The runner up on our list is a Thatcham-approved car alarm. Thatcham is an independent group that rates how secure alarms and immobilisers are. Their scale is from 1 to 7, with 1 being the most secure type. Think of category 1 alarms as the crème de la crème of car alarms. If you want your car to stay as safe and secure as possible, you’ll want one of these babies installed.
You don’t want to settle when it comes to car alarms. Opt for a Category 1 device, which is a combination of an alarm and an immobiliser. It comes with shock and movement sensors, along with perimeter and interior detection. Though an installed alarm won’t stop a thief from attempting to steal your car, it could potentially stop them in their tracks once it’s set off—blaring lights and shrieking sirens are enough to deter most thieves!
As with some of the other security devices and measures on our list, you’ll find that many insurance providers will offer you lower premiums if they find that you have a Thatcham-approved alarm installed. So, you get peace of mind, and you can enjoy cheaper insurance! What’s not to like?
1. Kill switch
Coming in at first place on our list is the kill switch. Yes, we know: it sounds like something right out of a James Bond movie. We’re not making it up, though. Kill switches are one of the most advanced car security devices out there. (They won’t give you a licence to kill, though.) They work by disrupting the flow of electricity to parts like your fuel pump, ignition coil and fuses. This will make it impossible for anyone to start the car, unless they flick the switch first.
You need to keep your kill switch hidden away. You don’t want any potential car thief spotting it, just in case they know what they’re dealing with. As such, they’re usually best placed under the dashboard. As you’d imagine, kill switches aren’t exactly something you can sort out in mere minutes. Some finesse is needed when installing them. So, if you’ve forked out for one, make sure you get someone who’s familiar with car wiring systems to sort it out for you!
And there you have it—PassMeFast’s top 10 accessories to keep your car secure! Did you spot any that you use? Or did we miss something important? Do let us know in the comments below! If you enjoyed reading this, check out our top 10 gifts for car lovers.
Keep your eyes peeled on the PassMeFast blog. We’ve got plenty more coming!