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The Best Ways to Keep Your Car Safe – Automotive Blog

Keeping your car safe is a top priority for many people, so here are some do’s and don’t’s for keeping your vehicle safe.

In 2021, it was reported that over 48,000 cars were stolen; that’s one vehicle every 11 minutes. There are many reasons cars are stolen, and there are some ways to avoid this and help recover the car should you ever be in this situation. 

What do car thieves look for?

Car thieves will be looking for various characteristics when picking a target. It might be the type of vehicle, whether it’s considered a more prestige car, a rare model, a modified vehicle, if the car will get a good return for spare parts, or more commonly, looking for items that are kept within a car such as money or mobile phones. 

Valuables left within cars are sometimes more motivation to steal a car than the car itself! So, what do people steal from vehicles? The most commonly stolen items from cars, sitting at 39%, are valuables, such as handbags, wallets, purses or cash. Other everyday items include tools from work vans, phones, radios and even wheels.

There are no statistics behind why thieves target certain cars, but from looking at the lists of the most stolen cars from previous years, we can make some judgements. In the list of the top 10 most stolen vehicles in the UK, you won’t be shocked to find that Land Rovers, Range Rovers, BMWs and Mercedes are all included within this list, but you might be surprised to find that none of them has taken the number one position. Taking first position, the most stolen car in the UK is the most common car to see on the road; the humble Ford Fiesta. With it holding the top spot for being UK’s best-selling car for the past few years, it might make it easier to steal and more difficult to be caught, as there are simply so many of them on the roads at one time that are the same colour and model.

The more prestige cars in the list include the Range Rover, which is popular for exports, the Mercedes C-Class as it has all the bells and whistles you could ever ask for in a car, the BMW 3-Series, and the Mercedes E-Class. 

How can your car be stolen?

Frustratingly, there’s more than one way that your car can be stolen, with some of them being a little more technical than others, with this usually coming from methods that are meant to protect your car, as opposed to making it a target for theft. 

Possibly the most prevalent type of vehicle theft, keyless car theft is carried out using external equipment that can be purchased for as little as £100. Requiring two offenders, they’ll use a relay transmitter and an amplifier to trick your car into thinking that the key is closer than it is, meaning that it can be opened and driven away without damage to the vehicle.

This is the type of theft that we would stereotypically think of when it comes to stealing—breaking and entering a property, taking the keys and driving off.

If you thought that manual entry cars were safe following the theft of keyless cars, you were wrong. Turbo decoder theft uses what you would call a modern skeleton key to fill the shape of the keyhole, unlocking the car with ease.

With transponder key cloning, this is unfortunately exactly what it says on the tin. Your car key is taken and cloned to be stolen. This tends to happen more in places such as garages, where you don’t think twice about leaving your car unlocked and your keys behind. 

  • On-board diagnostics (OBD) compromise 

This device is usually used to check the health of your car, commonly used for MOTs. If this device gets into the wrong hands, however, it can be used to duplicate codes for electronic keys.

This method of theft requires a bit more planning and waiting around than some other methods. Using a special device, criminals can capture the key code as the victim locks the car, which can then be downloaded onto a blank key. 

This type of theft targets additional security features as opposed to the car itself. Often people install a GPS tracking system so their car can be located if it’s stolen. Unfortunately, offenders can use a device to jam the tracking device signal at the time of the theft, so it can’t be tracked.

How can you prevent your car from being stolen?

There are plenty of ways to help prevent your vehicle from being targeted for theft.

This may sound painfully obvious, but locking your car can prevent immediate and opportunist theft. As well as this, it’s essential to check that you’ve shut all your windows and sunroof. 

  • Keep your keys safe and away.

If you have keyless car entry, this is particularly important for you. To ensure that your car is safe, keep your key as far away from your car when you’re not in it as possible. If you are parking your car at home, don’t leave the key near the door, as there’s a chance it could open easily during a theft, and ensure that you have a spare key. You can also purchase signal-blocking pouches, with can help prevent theft.

Once again, this does sound obvious, but it’s an easy point to overlook. Parking in a well-lit, secure place can reduce your chances of your car being stolen. 

Personalised Registration Plates

In some criminal cases, personalised registration plates can be a reason to commit car theft, as any criminal activity undertaken within the vehicle will not be tracked back to them and can be used as a direct target for a person. However, personalised number plates can be a blessing in disguise if your car has been stolen.

You can report your stolen vehicle to the police and the stolen number plate to the DVLA, so your car can be tracked by both authorities and then can much more easily prove that if anything happens in that car, that it is not you if it’s been reported. 

What to do if your car is stolen?

If your car is stolen, you need to contact the police immediately, especially if physical harm has been done to you, your vehicle, or someone else. You’ll also need to call your insurance company to make a claim. Following this, if the insurance will pay out for the vehicle, you must contact the DVLA to let them know the car now belongs to that insurance company. 

Source: automotiveblog.co.uk

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