The National Insurance Crime Bureau recently released their annual Hot Wheels report, which lists the ten most stolen vehicles in the United States. Have a look below and see if your car was among the most coveted models:
If your car is on that list, you might have reason to worry — car thieves seem to like your ride as much as you do. Even if your vehicle didn’t make the list, there’s still the possibility that it’s in danger of being boosted if you’re not taking the proper precautions. We consulted automotive expert Lauren Fix, also known as “The Car Coach ®,” for some advice on burglar-proofing our cars. Here are her top tips:
#1. Park in a well-lit area at night. It might seem like a no-brainer, but cars parked on dimly lit streets are easy targets. If a parking spot isn’t particularly well-lit, it’s worth taking a few minutes to find another one.
#2. “Don’t leave valuables in plain sight,” insists Fix. When leaving your vehicle, take your possessions (handbags, jewelry, electronics, etc.) with you, or hide them in the glove compartment or trunk. Not only will this help deter car theft, but petty theft as well.
#3. Install an engine immobilizer. “Alarm systems by themselves don’t work,” says Fix. “They’re easily bypassed, and most people ignore the sirens.” Fix instead recommends installing an engine immobilizer, which is a device that prevents your engine from starting unless a specific transponder microchip — often implanted in the key or key fob — is within range of the vehicle.
#4. Park your car in your garage. “You’d be surprised how many vehicles are stolen from owners’ driveways in the middle of the night,” says Fix. Her advice is to clean out your garage (if you own one) and use it for parking instead of storage.
#5. Disconnect the battery. This anti-theft method might not be a plausible everyday option, but it’s good to get into the habit of disconnecting the battery when leaving your car unattended for extended periods of time. Employ this tactic when you go on vacations, or when parking in the long-term parking section at the airport.
#6. Get a car cover. It might seem like a huge pain to place a fitted cover over your parked car, but that’s exactly the point. “A thief will not take the time to remove it,” Fix says.
#7. Slap on some stickers. If you can’t be bothered to install an engine immobilizer, or cover your car, or even park in a well-lit area, Fix offers yet another (albeit less effective) alternative. “At the very least," she urges, "put alarm stickers in your windows even if you don't have one.” According to the expert, that might be enough to fool a potential thief.
Practicing Fix’s methods will help to safeguard your vehicle against theft, but remember that no anti-theft measures are guaranteed. “If professional thieves want a certain kind of car badly enough, they'll go to just about any lengths to get it,” she says.
The only other option, according to Fix, is to purchase a vehicle that car thieves generally ignore.
(We're looking at you, Volvo V70.)