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Stealing a car is no longer as simple as learning how to hot-wire an ignition, but technology isn’t driving the number of car thefts down. Thieves are simply learning new ways to drive off in your ride. If you routinely park in an unsafe area, or if you regularly leave valuable belongings in the cabin, we suggest investing in an anti-theft device. They’re not always cheap, but the peace of mind they bring is priceless. Here are the best anti-theft devices for 2020.
Steering wheel lock
Steering wheel locks are one of the oldest and best-known theft prevention devices on the market today. A steering wheel lock attaches to the steering wheel of the car to lock it in place, preventing someone from driving away. There are two main styles for this lock. The first goes across the steering wheel horizontally and attaches to the wheel at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. On one side the lock extends farther, preventing the wheel from turning very far. The second style attaches to the top of the wheel with the end extending over the front dash to prevent the wheel from turning. The Club is one of the most popular models.
You have probably seen these used by police if a car is parked illegally, but they are also useful as an anti-theft device. If you have space in your trunk, a tire lock (or boot) is a great way to prevent a carjacking. This is only feasible if you are parking your car for an extended amount of time, though. It just doesn’t make sense to attach a boot every time you stop to fill up your tank or run into your favorite coffee shop for a double espresso. This also won’t prevent anyone from breaking in and stealing things, so continue locking your doors.
And, if you get a tire lock, remember to invest in locking lug nuts. Otherwise, anyone with a spare wheel can steal your car by jacking it up, removing the lock and the wheel it’s on, and putting a new one on.
Video cameras are great deterrents, as would-be thieves don’t want to be caught on film breaking into your car. Unfortunately, cameras can be expensive and may not be able to show you a real-time picture of what’s happening. Baby monitors are great for this purpose because they’re mostly affordable, can transmit pictures, and can run on a separate battery to keep them off of your vehicle’s power supply.
One of the more advanced anti-theft devices is the kill switch. It works by disrupting the flow of electricity to the fuel pump or other critical systems. This interruption makes it impossible to start the car without flicking the switch. A thief needs to finish his robbery quickly, so anything that makes his task more challenging will encourage him to move on to the next car.
A kill switch needs to be hidden to be effective. Otherwise, a thief can discover and disable the system and take off with your vehicle, defeating the whole purpose. You want to keep the kill switch close to the car’s other vital elements, so it’s typically a good idea to keep it beneath the dashboard or under the driver’s seat.
You can decide where the kill switch should be installed, but unless you’re a mechanic yourself, you’ll want to leave the actual work to a professional. Properly installing a kill switch requires a lot of work with the car’s ignition, which is something you don’t want to botch.
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Electronic tracking system
Most security devices only prevent drive-off theft, but resourceful car thieves use various techniques to acquire cars, like towing or trailering their target vehicles. Using GPS is an ideal way to keep track of your vehicle, and you only have to pay a monthly subscription fee for the benefit.
Law enforcement can track the location data from your GPS, which means they can find your car and possibly get vital information to help track the thieves. A GPS tracking device can help you recover your vehicle no matter where the thief tries to hide it.
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