6 Ways to Prevent Car Theft and Protect Your Vehicle

Find out what you can do to reduce the chances of your car being stolen.
Published on December 1st, 2020
  Written by 
Adrian Edlington
Adrian Edlington is PR & Communications Manager at Savvy. With a keen interest in personal finance, car loans, the mortgage industry, cost of living pressures, electric vehicles and renewable technology, Adrian's research includes conducting primary data surveys and analysis of up-to-the-minute secondary Australian data sources. His work on behalf of Savvy has been featured on ABC.net.au The Conversation, the Sydney Morning Herald, AFR, News.com.au, The Age, Herald Sun, Adelaide Now, SBS On The Money, 7News, Car Expert, Which Car, Drive.com.au and more. In his spare time, Adrian enjoys mountain biking and business podcasts.
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   Reviewed by 
Bill Tsouvalas


Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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Car theft is on the rise in Australia. In 2021, a car was stolen every 11 minutes, resulting in a total of 38,187 cars stolen in that year alone. Safeguarding your vehicle against theft is therefore paramount. While no security measure guarantees absolute protection, there are several proactive steps you can take to deter thieves and reduce the risk of car theft. In this blog, we explore six strategies to help ensure the safety of your vehicle.

1. Employ effective security measures

Your car's security system is your first line of defence against theft. Consider these options:

  • Install a car alarm: opt for a system with a loud alarm and flashing lights to deter potential thieves and alert you or others in the vicinity. Look for systems with additional features like motion sensors, door and trunk sensors and tilt sensors that detect attempts to tow the vehicle.
  • Invest in a steering wheel lock or wheel clamp: these visible deterrents make it physically challenging for thieves to steal your car. Look for high-quality, robust options that are difficult to break or tamper with.
  • Consider a tracking device: installing a GPS tracker allows you to monitor your car's location in real-time in case of theft. This can be invaluable for assisting law enforcement in recovering your stolen vehicle.
  • Upgrade your car’s locks: consider replacing the factory-installed locks with high-security options that are more challenging to pick or bypass. Consult a trusted mechanic or car security specialist for recommendations.
  • Use window etching: etching your car's VIN onto the windows can deter thieves, as it makes the car less desirable for resale due to the increased difficulty in removing the etching.

2. Use smart solutions

Modern technology offers innovative ways to enhance your car’s security:

  • Explore smart car features: many newer cars come equipped with built-in security features like remote locking and unlocking, immobilisers that prevent the engine from starting without the correct key, and even smartphone apps that allow you to monitor your car's location and status remotely.
  • Leverage dashcams and security cameras: installing a dashcam can not only provide valuable video footage in case of an accident but also act as a deterrent to theft. Consider installing security cameras at your home or parking location to monitor your car and capture potential theft attempts.

3. Park wisely

Where and how you park your car significantly impacts its vulnerability to theft:

  • Park in well-lit, populated areas: avoid parking in isolated, dimly lit areas or on deserted streets. Instead, opt for well-lit parking lots, garages or driveways whenever possible.
  • Use secure parking options: if available, consider investing in a secure parking space, especially if you live in an area with a high rate of car theft. Gated communities, guarded parking lots or even renting a secure parking space can significantly reduce the risk.
  • Park strategically: when parking in public areas, park your car in a way that makes it difficult to tow or steal. Avoid parking close to curbs or exits, and if possible, choose spots near building entrances or security booths. Thieves are less likely to target cars parked in high-traffic areas or locations with security personnel nearby.

4. Be mindful of your valuables

Leaving valuables in plain sight inside your car is an open invitation for thieves. Here's what you should do:

  • Keep valuables out of sight: if you must leave something in your car, ensure it's stored out of sight. Lock valuables in the trunk or glove compartment, and consider using a car safe for particularly valuable items.
  • Empty your car regularly: get into the habit of removing any unnecessary items from your car, especially overnight. This includes work bags, shopping bags or even empty drink bottles.

5. Undertake routine maintenance and awareness

Regular car maintenance can deter theft in unexpected ways:

  • Maintain your car's locks and windows: ensure your car's locks and windows function properly. Faulty locks or windows can create vulnerabilities that thieves can exploit.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: when leaving your car unattended, be mindful of your surroundings and observe any suspicious activity. If you see someone tampering with your car, don't hesitate to report it to the authorities.

6. Embrace community and collaboration

Building a sense of community and collaboration can create a protective network around your car:

  • Inform your neighbours: let your neighbours know if you'll be away for an extended period and request them to keep an eye on your car and report any suspicious activity.
  • Join a neighbourhood watch program: participating in a neighbourhood watch program connects you with your neighbours and promotes collective vigilance against crime, including car theft.
  • Report suspicious activity promptly: if you witness any suspicious activity around parked cars in your neighbourhood, don't hesitate to report it to the authorities.

Additional tips

While these six strategies form a strong foundation for protecting your car, consider these extra tips:

  • Invest in personal property insurance: while car theft can be devastating, having comprehensive car insurance that covers theft and damage can provide financial assistance in the unfortunate event your car is stolen.
  • Stay informed: keep yourself updated on car theft trends in your area and any specific models or features that may be targeted by thieves. This information can help you adapt your security strategies accordingly.
  • Be cautious with spare keys: avoid leaving spare keys hidden inside your car or in easily accessible locations. Consider keeping spare keys in a secure location at home or with a trusted individual.

Car theft is often a crime of opportunity. By employing a multi-layered approach that combines a number of different measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of your car becoming a target. By implementing these strategies and remaining vigilant, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing you've taken proactive steps to safeguard your valuable investment.

If you’re in the market for a new car, you can compare hundreds of loan options from more than 40 lenders through Savvy. Our team is on hand to help you throughout the process and find you the best available deal. Get started today!

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