The average new car today costs $40,000, according to USA Today. This represents a big investment whether you’re paying the full cash price or financing the deal. You want to drive your vehicle for as long as you want to by protecting it from theft. Here are a few guidelines.
Don’t Leave Valuables in Your Vehicle
While thieves may not be interested in your vehicle, they may like what’s inside it, and the crime of opportunity may be too enticing to resist. Remove any temptations by keeping valuable items at home instead of your vehicle. If you must temporarily leave something in your car, such as if you just bought it, keep it out of sight in the trunk or glove compartment. However, do this just before you drive off the parking lot because thieves may be watching the lot to spot potential victims.
Never Leave Your Keys in Your Car
It doesn’t matter whether you’re just leaving your vehicle quickly to pay for gas or have locked it up for the night with a smart key. Never leave your keys in your car. A thief can simply open the door or can break a window before driving off. This also applies to any spare keys that you store in a "secret" spot somewhere on your vehicle. A thief knows where all the good locations are.
Lock Your Doors
It may seem fairly obvious, but many people still leave their doors unlocked, reasoning that without the key, the thief cannot start your vehicle. But someone intent on stealing a car will often try several doors in a parking lot to find one that is unlocked. Then he can easily hotwire the ignition to start your car without ever needing your key. While you’re at it, keep your windows closed as well to prevent anyone from reaching in to unlock the door.
Put On a Car Cover
Put on a car cover if you have to leave your vehicle parked outdoors for any length of time. They are available from CarCare4U, among other manufacturers. You not only hide the make, model, and condition of your vehicle from thieves but you also protect the interior from nosy passersby. A thief will not bother with trying to remove the car cover just to reach the interior if there are other cars nearby that are uncovered. A car cover also guards the exterior finish and keeps the interior cool from the heat of the sun.
Install A Security Alarm
If a security alarm does not already come with your vehicle, it is usually a worthwhile option to get either at the dealer or at an auto supply store. Be sure to buy one that will produce a loud noise to attract attention if your vehicle is disturbed. Other security devices to consider are etching on the window or a steering wheel lock. Insurance companies often offer discounts to vehicles with alarms.
Add a Tracking System
Also available from the dealer or an auto center is a tracking system. If your vehicle is stolen, this device relies on GPS or other wireless methods to summon the police while delivering its location. This enables law enforcement to find your vehicle more quickly and return it to you.