Next to buying a home, a car is usually one of the most expensive items each of us purchases. When a car is stolen, even though most of us have insurance against this event, there is usually a financial loss and considerable inconvenience. In order to deter thieves who are becoming more prevalent in this economy, there are a number of protection devices on the market.
Before installing a protection device, there are three things to consider. First, find out what devices already exist on your car. There is no point to duplicate what is already present. Some cars come with OnStar, for example. This system has anti-theft device built in that uses a GPS locating device. Secondly, talk to your car insurance company before installing any device. Many companies offer discounts for some types of protection devices, but there are also devices that insurance companies do not allow on a car. Do not risk not having insurance if your car is stolen. Thirdly, educate yourself about what types of cars are stolen most often and the rates of car theft in your area. Obviously, if your car is one often subjected to theft, or you live in an area with a high crime rate, more protection against theft is needed.
The most efficient protection is one with several layers involved. This means relying on several different devices for protection. It is not necessary to install all devices at once, but something is better than no device. This is especially true in a high risk area. Most professional thieves can bypass anti-theft systems. This takes time, however, and thieves will often move on to a car that is faster to steal. No thief plans to be caught.
One of the most common devices used is a steering wheel locking device. This is a device that a driver installs each time he parks the car. The steering wheel cannot turn unless the device is removed. These devices cost less than $50. Most people are familiar with The Club. These devices can also help prevent air bag theft from the steering wheel.
Electronic engine immobilizers are becoming quite popular. This device prevents the engine from starting unless neutralized by a radio signal from a key or other device carried by the driver. A similar approach is used by remote entry devices. These devices can be installed for around 400 dollars.
Starter disabler switches can be set by the driver or take hold when the car steering wheel is turned without the key. There is a switch hidden in the car that the driver needs to press to operate the car. The better hidden the switch is, the more useful this device is. A car alarm is a similar device designed to go off when the car is touched. Since most thieves know how to disable a battery on a car, the alarm should be rigged to a second battery in another part of the car. These deterrents can be installed for less than $200.
GPS devices are newer to the marketplace. These devices track the location of a car and are not easily disabled by a thief. A thief may not even know they are present. The devices are now able to send a message to the car owner each time the car changes location. These devices should allow the police to quickly locate a stolen vehicle before too much damage is done. GPS devices can be expensive to install, and require a monthly maintenance fee.
Long used car theft prevention methods are still effective. Tire lock devices make it difficult to move a car. Police use these devices to prevent owners from moving cars they want to tow. Hood or trunk locks can prevent a thief from reaching the engine compartment to remove parts or start the car. Even a car cover can make getting to a car difficult because removing the cover often attracts attention and takes extra time.
The best protection for a car is to install several of these devices. Then park your car in a well-lighted area where the car can be seen. Each of us needs to think about the investment in our cars, and then determine how much we are willing to spend to protect that investment.