It takes less than a minute for a thief to break into your vehicle and steal it or your belongings inside.
More than half of car crime is opportunistic but by taking a few simple steps you can outsmart thieves and reduce the chances of your car being targeted.
Follow our advice to help keep your vehicle safe. Don’t give thieves an easy ride!
Catalytic converters are also a target for thieves. Protect your vehicle by following our advice on catalytic converters.
Park in safe areas
Choose somewhere busy and well lit with good surveillance. Areas where there are few people about, several escape routes and cars hidden out of view are attractive to thieves.
Try to use car parks with Park Mark status. These car parks have been certified as meeting minimum standards in layout and design, lighting, surveillance and controlled entry and exit.
Although it’s not a guarantee of safety, figures show parking in a secured car park reduces the chances of vehicle crime by 70%.
You can find out where these car parks are on the Park Mark website.
To reduce the likelihood of your vehicle being stolen from your driveway, take the time to clear enough room in your garage for your vehicle to be parked in there overnight. Lock your garage too and never leave your car keys on show by your front or back door. Thieves can put implements through your letter box to reach them.
Use security devices
Think about wheel protection. Thieves target alloy wheels and tyres from steel wheels so protect them using locking wheel nuts which are inexpensive and easy to fit.
Fitting an immobiliser or alarm system is a sure way to prevent your vehicle being stolen. Consider using Thatcham approved systems or Sold Secure products which have been tested to certain standards, but check with your insurance company first as they may have particular conditions.
Steering wheel and gear lever locks are effective, inexpensive and easy to fit.
Etch your vehicle registration number onto all glass surfaces. This service may be free from a vehicle glaziers but check your car insurance details first.
If you have a car stereo, choose one that’s removable or has a removable front cover. Make sure you take it with you when you leave the car and mark the stereo with a unique identifying reference.
Keep doors locked and windows shut
It may sound obvious but unlocked doors and open windows are invitations to thieves so make sure your vehicle is secure even if you are only popping into a shop, paying for petrol or getting car park ticket.
Don’t forget to lock the boot and sun roof too. It only takes seconds for a thief to make off with your belongings.
If your vehicle has remote locking, please check that the doors have locked before you leave it. Thieves in the area may use a device to block the remote locking signal so check your vehicle is locked by pulling the door handle before leaving it.
Don't leave anything on display
Thefts from vehicles greatly outnumber thefts of vehicles so never leave your property on display on the dashboard or front or back seats. Removing valuables like radios, sat navs, mobile phones and laptops helps remove temptation.
Don’t forget to wipe away the marks left by the suction pad on your sat nav as they may lead thieves to believe it’s in your car somewhere. Keep an eye out for devices on the market that can hold sat navs in place without using sucker pads.
If you are unable to remove your property from the vehicle, lock it out of sight in the boot or a vehicle safe.