Top 10: Ways to prevent car theft
Having your car stolen or burgled is a gut-wrenching experience, both emotionally and financially - but there are a few ways to make sure your vehicle is as secure as possible. We've also included a few measures to specifically prevent keyless entry theft considering that's a growing problem in itself.
Monojoy faraday bag
One of the best ways to prevent keyless theft is to stop the key from being vulnerable by blocking the signal. Thieves use relay devices to amplify the signal from the key fob in your home to a transmitter near your car, which essentially tricks your car into thinking the key is present. This allows them entry into the car, where they can use the start-stop button to start the car without the key. The key also doesn't need to be present within the car for it to continue running - so they can keep driving as long as the ignition isn't turned off at any point.
For £8, you can get some peace of mind about leaving your keyless entry car outside your house by buying a signal-blocking bag, sometimes calls a faraday bag/pouch. Just remember that you get what you pay for, so this isn't exactly a bullet-proof solution. The Monojoy pouch - like many others on Amazon - also falls apart after a while because of cheap materials, so bear in mind that once the metal lining is torn, the pouch will no longer work as it's intended.
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Disklok steering lock
In a time of smartphone-linked immobilisers and GPS trackers, the Disklok is an old-school way to protect your car from thieves - especially if you have something that thieves are keen to target, like a Land Rover Defender or a motorhome which is parked up for several months at a time. It's essentially a large reinforced steel disc that you lock around your steering wheel. Even if someone breaks into your car and starts the engine, they would not be able to steer it as the disc spins around.
There are three sizes - small, medium and large - so it will suit most cars as well as pick-ups, vans and campervans. It can be tricky to fit at first - and it's heavy - but it soon becomes something that only takes a couple of minutes to do. If you're always running late or in a rush you'll find it a hassle, but those few minutes could prove the difference between someone stealing your car or not.
You might think this is a joke, but trust us - it isn't. In fact, a quick browse of any comments section below any keyless theft feature will likely be littered with the same suggestion from those that don't want to spend a penny. If you're looking for a free and easy solution, you can actually just put your keys in a tin with a sealed lid and that often stops the signal from the key fob being picked up - preventing relay devices that are commonly used in keyless car thefts.
It's also very easy to test if it works: simply lock your car and then put your key in a tin (like an empty biscuit tin). Walk out to your keyless entry car and if it doesn't unlock when you're close by then it isn't picking up the signal.
Ghost Autowatch immobiliser
A good aftermarket immobiliser is a pricier solution than old-school steering locks and parking posts, but they're definitely something to look into if you're worried about keyless theft and don't trust a signal-blocking bag to protect your car.
For example, the Autowatch Ghost immobiliser uses the buttons in your vehicle, like those on the steering wheel, doors and centre console, to allow you to make a unique PIN sequence that must be entered in order to start the car. There's also an iPhone app that connects to your vehicle and allows you to get in and drive without having to enter the PIN.
For expensive cars, many insurers require a tracker to be fitted and, while this might not be a necessity for your everyday runabout, it's still a smart idea for those worried about theft - especially if you have a car/van that thieves will target. Rewire Security's Spytrack Nano is a small tracker for keeping tabs on your car or anything else for that matter. The app integrates Google Maps and the topography can utilise satellite imagery if you choose. Using the desktop site you can set up ‘geofence zones’ that allow you to place markers on the map so that if the tracker goes outside of them you’ll be alerted. Aside from that, you can set up alerts if the tracker moves or travels beyond a certain speed.
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Turn off keyless entry and ignition
Some keyless entry systems can be turned off, but it depends on the make and model of your particular vehicle. The best place to start is with your vehicle handbook as some models allow you to do this yourself through the menu systems or by pressing the key’s buttons in a particular order.
It may be necessary for you to contact your dealer in order to have the keyless function switched off if this is possible. Be sure that you understand what functions will be disabled along with the keyless operation, as it will likely require another trip to the dealership if you want to have it restored.
Security cameras come in many forms - ranging from traditional home security cams to Hive cameras and Ring doorbells. Whether you get a dedicated security camera fitted onto the side of your house or a free-standing cam to sit on a windowsill - there's a lot of choices out there. Our top picks would be the often-discounted and well-rated ieGeek security camera for around £50 (at the time of writing) or the Victure indoor camera.
For those that park vehicles on the road or away from the house, we'd suggest a wildlife camera hidden from prying eyes - like this £40 unit. Or if, like us, you park on your driveway and the front door faces your car - a doorbell camera like the well-known Ring Video Doorbell 2 can be hardwired or rechargeable-battery powered to keep an eye on your pride and joy. The Ring doorbell camera lets you see, hear and speak to visitors from an app on your phone, tablet or PC - as well as sending a notification when movement is detected or when visitors press the doorbell. Review coming soon.
A dash camera left in a car can be a bit of a double-edged sword when it comes to security. In some ways, a dash cam will be a good deterrent from thieves who may spot it and leave your car well alone. However, it can also attract unwanted attention from those who want to nab the camera, which is why many dash cams clip off from the windscreen or mount easily to be tucked away safely in a glovebox while you aren't in the vehicle.
If you do want to use a dash camera from security purposes, make sure you get it hardwired (this can be done quickly and cheaply at Halfords or a local garage) or you risk your car getting a flat battery.
Foldable security post
Parking posts - also called security posts - aren't exactly a common thing these days, but they still serve their use when needed. You'll most often see them outside of businesses or shared accommodation where parking is difficult to regulate, leading to designated parking spaces being taken. However, they're also a wise buy if you're worried about your car, van, caravan etc being nicked. The posts will obviously only work in some instances, on driveways where there's no way to get out without folding the post down.
Maypole's Removable Security Post provides a robust block to stop access or exit. The post can be removed once the lock is unlocked, just make sure you can dig the pole partly into the ground because that's necessary for installation.
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Stoplock Pro steering lock
The Stoplock Pro takes just a few seconds to put into place and the same to remove it; once secured the wheel can’t be turned even if the standard steering lock is defeated because the bottom section of the bar will collide with the seat or the legs of the person sat in the driver’s seat. The lock itself is also clearly robust, and the Stoplock Pro has Thatcham Category 3 approval.
Where the Stoplock may not suit all vehicles is in the overall design. The Pro model sits in the middle of the range and does not offer as great a degree of universal fitment as the more expensive Stoplock Pro Elite so it may not suit your car. Particularly large or small steering wheels may not accommodate it, nor wheels with a particularly thick rim. Some sports cars where the distance between the seat and the steering wheel is very small may also struggle, so if you are unsure see if your local car accessory store will let you trial-fit before you buy, or keep the receipt and check the returns policy.
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