Parked car

Top tips for keeping your car safe and secure

For all of us car owners, safety and security are always a concern. Our vehicles aren’t cheap, so it makes sense to go to certain lengths to ensure that it comes to no harm. But beyond making sure that you have picked up temporary insurance for your car, what else can be done to prevent criminals from doing what they do? Well, in this guide we are going to highlight a handful of top tips for keeping your car safe and secure, helping you to have the peace of mind you need when leaving your car unattended.

Be careful where you put your keys

Car keys

One thing that car owners can do to help with security is simply being careful about where keys are left. It’s easy to throw your keys down on the nearest available surface as soon as you get in the door, but if they can be seen through a nearby window then you are asking for trouble. You especially want to be sure not to leave keys where they can be reached through a cat flap or letterbox. Identify a safe place to put your keys every time your home – this will also help with remembering where they are whenever you need them!

What about when it comes to keyless entry fobs? Well, Patrick Crow, the owner of retailer Carnoisseur suggests the following: “We’ve been trading for over 40 years, so we’ve seen lots of car crime trends and provided cutting edge technologies to help protect our customers’ cars. However, the recent rise in car theft is shocking and driven by modern keyless entry systems which criminals are ruthlessly exploiting. Keep keyless entry fobs in a signal-blocking pouch, often called Faraday bags, especially overnight. This prevents criminals from boosting the signal, plus they’re pretty cheap to buy.”

Use a steering wheel immobiliser

Steering wheel lock

One way to reduce the need for a tracker to be used is to make sure you utilise a steering wheel immobiliser/lock. Criminals will have a hard time getting away with your car if the wheel is clamped down. These take just minutes to attach and for the security conscious they are an excellent way to improve peace of mind each time you leave your car. Retailers such as Carnoisseur are great places to look for such devices. Patrick suggests: “Invest in a good quality steering wheel lock. This is a visible and practical deterrent and means the car cannot be driven away. We recommend Disklok as it’s the most robust and complete solution we’ve tested. Other steering wheel locks secure firmly and jam the car’s steering, but you can remove them by cutting the steering wheel. Disklok is different, you literally cannot get to the wheel which is why it’s won so many tests and awards.”

Install Autowatch’s Ghost Immobiliser

Autowatch, experts in branded vehicle security systems, have a solution for car theft in the shape of their Ghost Immobiliser system, which protects your car from key-cloning, hacking, and key theft. The team at Autowatch describe the product to us: “We have a solution to cover all aspects of vehicle security. We always advise a customer to at least have an effective immobiliser system installed to prevent the vehicle from being stolen. The Autowatch Ghost Canbus immobiliser system is specifically designed to counter any new Key Cloning or Keyless Signal boosting modes of theft and can be linked to a tracking or alarm system or both. The Ghost Immobiliser is the only security product on the market today that has a Money Back Guarantee which comes standard with the product. If your vehicle is ever stolen with a Ghost Immobiliser on it, and not recovered, we will reimburse you for the full amount it cost you to have the Ghost Immobiliser installed. T&C apply.”

Park in a safe place

One of the first things that you can do to help keep your car secure is to watch where you park it. By not leaving your car parked in dangerous places such as on quiet streets and away from public areas, you can reduce the risk of theft significantly. If people can see your car at all times, criminals are far less likely to target it. Parking in car parks that have CCTV will also help and at home, parking in a garage or driveway will certainly be beneficial. Patrick from Canroisseur suggests another great tip for once your car is parked: “If the car isn’t used very often, then consider using a good quality car cover. This makes it hard for passing criminals to spot the specific make and model of the car, plus it also makes it more difficult to gain quick and easy entry to the car.”

Be vigilant about locking your car

Another top tip is to be extra vigilant about locking your car. There is no need to be paranoid but, as the saying goes, “it’s better to be safe than sorry.” So, whenever you park up, either on a street or at home, double-check that the car is actually locked. It’s easy to be distracted and think that you locked your car when it’s actually open. Make sure that your windows are rolled up, especially in summer when you might have opened one at the back for the kids and have forgotten to close it. The idea is not to give thieves any opportunity. By being vigilant, you can at least be comforted by knowing you’ve done all you can.

Keep valuables out of sight

Wallet on car seat

If you leave your valuables in plain view of passers-by, you are only highlighting yourself to criminals. Do yourself a favour and either avoid leaving anything of value inside your car or, at the very least, make sure these items are hidden out of sight whenever you leave your vehicle. Make sure nothing is on the seats as this is the easiest spot to see from the outside. Utilise a lockable glove compartment, your boot, and bags to keep your precious items out of sight.

Utilise a tracking system

Obviously, we want to do everything we can to ensure our cars don’t get stolen, but, if a thief does get away with your vehicle, you will want to have a precaution in place. This is where tracking systems come in like a black box (which helps with reducing insurance premiums) and other systems available, helping the police to track your stolen car. Autowatch’s aforementioned Ghost Immobiliser is also a good partner for a tracking system. As the company explain:

“If a vehicle is stolen, a tracking system will improve your odds of ever getting the vehicle back by being able to track it. These systems can be jammed by the professional thief if using a signal jammer but are still an extremely effective tool in securing a vehicle. The highest form of security would be to have a combination of 3 systems inter-connected to each other to be able to alert the owner to any form of attack on the vehicle. An alarm can be connected to the tracking system to alert the owner via SMS or email as the alarm is activated. The tracking system can also be connected to the Ghost immobiliser to alert the owner that someone is trying to start the vehicle or push-start the vehicle. If the vehicle is being towed away or lifted onto a trailer the tracking system can also alert the owner that the vehicle is moving without the engine running.”

Install an alarm system

Car parked

All cars these days must come with a factory-installed alarm system as standard but if yours is an old vehicle that doesn’t have one you should certainly make sure to get one installed. For those who already have one, there are more advanced systems that can be purchased for that extra level of security. Pandora Car Alarms has been in this space for nearly 20 years, installing high-end security systems to UK vehicles. Their flagship V2 car alarm comes with all the bells and whistles, including a remote that monitors your vehicle’s parameters and an app that can arm and disarm the system as well as monitor engine temperature.

The team at Pandora Car Alarms spoke to us about what they can offer those who are concerned about car security: “Thieves are becoming bolder, smarter and are not afraid to steal a vehicle regardless of their surroundings. Every vehicle is an opportunity to a thief, traffic lights, car parks and driveways are favourite spots for carjacking. Pandora Car Alarms offer a range of products combating hi-tech thieves of today, including 128bit encryption, engine immobilisation, anti-hijack, GPS tracking and telematics, smartphone control and notifications. Pandora Car Alarms offer a multitude of security layers to protect your vehicle using the most sophisticated and advanced technology on the market today.”

How to keep your car safe and secure

  • Be careful where you put your keys
  • Park in a safe place
  • Use a steering wheel immobiliser
  • Be vigilant about locking your car
  • Keep valuables out of sight
  • Utilise a tracking system
  • Install an alarm system

We hope that the above tips have been helpful. Make sure to utilise our advice so that you can keep your vehicle secure at all times, even if you aren’t in the best place for drivers. You can’t control the actions of others but by implementing the above, you can at least stay one step ahead of the game.

Ahead of your next day trip, make sure to take out our one day car insurance for complete peace of mind on your travels.