Alarms & immobilisers
Most modern cars roll off the production line pre-fitted with an alarm and immobiliser. But if you drive an older car, and particularly if you own a valuable classic, your pride and joy could offer easy pickings for criminals. An alarm is the most obvious type of deterrent, but an immobiliser offers a more practical solution, as it prevents the would-be thief from starting the engine and driving your car away. So if your vehicle doesn’t have an immobiliser, you might want to consider investing in one. You can get a good-quality immobiliser kit supplied and fitted for around £170, while more expensive options come with additional protection to prevent tech-savvy thieves from hacking your car’s security.
A vehicle tracking system provides the last line of defence against car thieves, because even if criminals manage to get around all your security measures, a tracking system will enable the security company to monitor your car’s location and alert the police. Tracking systems start at around £200, and most require an annual subscription too, with budget options available for around £150 a year. More expensive options come with features like Automatic Driver Recognition, which instantly alerts the security company if someone other than the registered driver starts the car.
Mechanical locks might look like old-school anti-theft technology, but they still have a role to play in beefing up your car security. There’s a variety of locks to choose from, including heavy-duty gearstick and handbrake locks, which prevent thieves from putting the car in gear and releasing the parking brake. While simple bar-style steering locks are easy to install but tough to crack. Mechanical locks may not prevent a professional car-snatcher from making off with your motor, but they’ll certainly slow a thief down – which could be enough to make them look elsewhere. Plus locks can prove a strong deterrent for opportunistic thieves.
Stealing cars off the owner’s drive is an increasingly common tactic deployed by car thieves. Yet despite all the high-tech security solutions on offer, perhaps the most practical deterrent is to install a bollard or post at the entrance to your driveway. Lightweight removable parking posts start at around £25, while a more robust telescopic bollard will be more expensive. But if you live in an area that’s been targeted by car thieves, it could be a good investment. Just remember to remove the obstacle before you drive off to work in the morning!