Consider adding some or all of these anti-theft devices to help protect your vehicle.
- Ignition Kill Switch. Splice an inexpensive toggle switch into your ignition wire or to your starter. The trick is hiding the switch well. Keypads, pressure pads and more expensive "Immobilizers" and "Passkeys" can also be used.
- Fuel Kill Switch. The valve that halts the fuel supply is closed.
- Visible Steering Wheel Lock. Prevents the steering wheel from being turned.
- Floorboard Locks. Devices that disable the gas or brake pedal.
- Gearshift Locks. Disables shifting of the transmission.
- Tire/Wheel Locks. Prevents the vehicle from moving.
- Hood Locks. Prevents the thief from gaining access to your security system and battery.
- Armored Collar Around the Steering Column. Protects the column and ignition.
- Alarms. Security systems which make loud warning sounds when doors/hood/trunk are opened. Optional sensors detect glass breakage, motion, tampering, and towing. Panic buttons, back-up batteries, flashing parking lights or headlights, and automatic engine-disable features are also popular.
- Vehicle Tracking. Transmitter hidden in a car enables police to track car (may not be available in all areas).
No Cost Precautions
- Hide your valuables from plain sight to avoid attracting thieves.
- Never hide a second set of keys in or on your car. Extra keys can easily be found by thieves.
- Park in well-lighted areas or attended lots. More than half of all vehicle thefts occur at night. Auto thieves do not like witnesses and prefer unattended parking lots. If you park an attended lot, leave only the ignition or door key.
- Never leave your car running, even if you’ll only be gone for a minute. Vehicles are commonly stolen at convenience stores, gas stations, ATMs, etc. Many vehicles are also stolen on cold mornings when the owner leaves the vehicle running to warm up. Leaving your key in an unattended motor vehicle is a crime in Texas.
- Don’t leave the registration, title, or insurance card in your car. A car thief will use these to sell your stolen car. File the title and registration at your home or office, and carry your insurance card in your purse or wallet.
- Park with your wheels turned toward the curb and use your emergency brake. Make your car tough to tow away. Wheels should also be turned to the side in driveways and parking lots.
- If you have a garage, use it. If you have a garage, take the time to use it rather than parking outside where your vehicle is more vulnerable. Lock your garage and your vehicle doors.
- Disable your vehicle when leaving it unattended for an extended period. Remove the electronic ignition fuse, coil wire, or rotor distributor, or otherwise disable your vehicle any time thieves may have extended access to it.
- Lock your car and take your keys. Approximately 50% of all vehicles stolen are left unlocked.
Engrave your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or personal I.D. number on expensive accessories and parts. Stolen Cars/parts are more easily traced when VINs have been etched on car windows, major parts, and expensive accessories.
VIN etching is a relatively new deterrent for auto theft. When etching the VIN number of a vehicle, a stencil is made of the vehicles VIN number that is placed on the window of the vehicle. An acid is then applied over the VIN number that permanently etches the VIN number into the window. The etched number is about ¼ inch high and is placed in the lower corner of the window. Due to the fact that the number is placed in the lower corner of the window, it does not block the driver’s sight at all.
Having your vehicle etched is a good deterrent for auto theft for several reasons. If someone is looking to steal a vehicle, they will be more likely to take one that does not have the windows etched versus one that does. Why is this so? Well, if a car thief is looking to sell the parts of the vehicle for money, they will not be able to sell the windows because of the etching. Also, if a car thief is looking to keep the car but change the identity by swapping the VIN plate and the license plates, he/she will have to get all new windows as well so that the vehicle does not have the correct VIN number in a visible place. Replacing the windows in a vehicle can cost several thousands of dollars. Having your vehicle VIN etched also counts as an insurance discount! Many insurance agencies will give their customers anywhere from a 5% - 15% discount on their policy because they consider having the windows etched a security device.