Although car thefts are on the rise, there are plenty of innovative ways that you can keep your vehicles safe from criminals at a relatively low cost.
As car thefts surpassed a total of 1 million in the US last year for the first time since 2008, it’s clear that drivers are having to face up to epidemic levels of carjackings once again. But as technology continues to evolve, the options available for drivers to keep their cars safe are also growing.
Today, it’s possible to tap into technology that wasn’t readily available in 2008 at a relatively cheap cost and to prevent, deter, and protect against thieves targeting your motor.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best budget approaches to keeping your car safe from theft for less today:
Invest in a Steering Wheel Lock
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to keep your vehicle safe from theft is to install a steering wheel lock. This is a classic approach to providing an extra layer of protection for your car.
Although it can seem like a clunky process to position and remove your steering wheel lock at the beginning and end of journeys, it can serve as an excellent visual deterrent to thieves looking at stealing your vehicle.
At this stage, it’s worth noting that most modern cars have some form of built-in wheel locking systems, but for prices starting at around $25, there aren’t many stronger visual deterrents available at a lower cost for drivers.
Invest in a Smart Car Alarm
Smart car alarms are an excellent innovation in helping to alert you faster when something isn’t quite right. This type of alarm means that you don’t need to listen out for your car alarm sounding, and are sent an instant alert to your phone to tell you that something has triggered the alarm.
Alongside your smartphone alert, you can still rest assured that your car will continue making the same loud sounds to ensure that everyone around is aware of what’s going on.
There’s a growing range of car alarm apps available to purchase with lower-cost options ranging from $25. However, more advanced options like Carlock can be useful for displaying further information, such as whether the engine has started or the vehicle has been moved.
Install an Immobilizer
Although it’s likely that your car will have an immobilizer built-in as standard, it’s certainly worth checking out whether you can add one to your vehicle if it needs it.
This form of security technology is an excellent deterrent to car thieves and can keep the vehicle from being hot-wired or stolen by someone who isn’t holding the key to start the engine.
Immobilizers can help to reduce instances of vehicle theft by up to 40% according to figures published in The Economic Journal. So it’s certainly worth taking a moment to double-check your vehicle handbook to see whether an immobilizer is installed.
If not, it’s worth arranging with a garage to install an immobilizer on your vehicle, which can cost around $300 for parts and labor. In addition to this, you can use specialist auto locksmiths for programming a car key fob to ensure that you can enable and disable your immobilizer on demand.
Utilize a GPS Tracking System
Another great way of keeping your car safe using technology that wasn’t quite as widely available and cost-efficient during 2008’s peak in car thefts, is through utilizing a GPS tracking system.
Although this approach won’t actively prevent your car from being stolen, it can be excellent for ensuring that it’s recovered quickly. Modern tracking systems use wireless GPS technology to emit a signal that can be used by police or a dedicated monitoring service to quickly locate your car and track it down quickly.
Entry-level GPS trackers can start at prices of $20, but if you’re interested in more efficient coverage, it may be worth setting your budget a little higher.
Keep Your Data Port Secure
Particularly for more modern cars, your data ports can be a highly important part of your vehicle. When mechanics aim to retrieve diagnostic data for modern vehicles, they can use data ports to plug their devices in and view the relevant information.
In addition to this, your data ports can also be used to unlock and start your car. This means that skilled car thieves may be able to gain control of your vehicle solely through your data ports.
One way to remedy this at a low cost is to buy a lockable port cover to prevent unwanted access. Although these lockable covers will vary in cost depending on your car and individual requirements, but more rudimentary locks can be bought online from $15, with more intricate versions ranging into the $100s.
The threat of falling victim to car theft can feel deeply cruel and personal for car owners everywhere. Crucially, measures can be taken to prevent and deter thieves from breaking into your vehicle at relatively low prices.
While car theft statistics are reaching 15-year highs, the quality of technology available to keep our motors safe is far more intricate than in 2008–giving us a better opportunity to keep our most valuable possessions safe.