The safest place to keep your car is a locked garage, and this is reflected in the premiums you pay for your car insurance, which go down as the security of your overnight car location goes up. A driveway is also safer than parking on the road, even more so if you have CCTV that covers the front of your house. Even if you already keep your car in a garage there are still some things you can do to prevent car theft from happening.
It may seem obvious, but you should always lock your car when it is in the garage, and keep the garage door(s) locked too. Many people with an internal door from their home into the garage leave this door unlocked for easy access, but this means a burglar can get in just as easily. If you have left your car keys on view in the home and your internal garage door is unlocked, it won’t take much for the thieves to open the outer garage door from the inside and make off with your vehicle, using it to transport all the other things they have stolen from you.
You should also ensure that the external garage door is secure. Some can be manually opened with a coat hanger, while others with an electronic entry system can be hacked or overridden. If you have an electronic garage door keep your key fob safe and secure; ideally on your person at all times and not left in the car where it can be seen or stolen.
An immobiliser is a good way of stopping your car being taken if it is hotwired, while a steering wheel or gearstick lock adds another level of protection – this is especially important if you park your car on the street, where it is a more attractive target. A steering wheel lock inside a locked car, inside a locked garage is about as safe as you can get, as most thieves will give up trying when they realised there’s yet another security device to overcome.
If you have keyless entry and engine starting on your car make sure you keep your keys in the house, out of range of the vehicle, and ideally in a keyless car signal blocker box which prevents thieves from overriding this feature. It is also important to update the car’s software regularly with the dealership to install any patches and upgrades that affect the security of the keyless technology.
A vehicle tracker can be a useful way of locating your car should it get stolen, and this can help the police locate the vehicle, as well as the culprit if they are still in possession of your vehicle. These can be bought from most automotive part retailers and are simple to fit, with the added bonus that if you forget where you’ve parked your car you can use the tracker to locate it!
Lastly, never leave valuables visible in your car, and if you are loading or unloading anything valuable do so out of plain sight as this could be a temptation to opportunistic thieves. With the rise in prevalence of mobile pay parking fewer people carry cash in their cars, but phones, satnavs and dashcams can all be a very tempting prospect to a petty thief so take these with you, or leave them hidden in the glove box or under a seat.