How to prevent your car from being stolen

Last Updated 23 April 2019, 13:23 IST

Buying your first car gives a great sense of joy and fulfilment to anyone. In most cases, the first set of wheels will be a small car and there is little doubt as to how excited one will be about it.

There is one thing that has to be kept in mind – car security. Starting from the slightly more expensive hatchbacks onwards, the car might have good security features like engine immobilisers. But for the smaller cars, it might be worth investing in some extra aftermarket security gadgets.

Here, it should be noted that additional electronic security gadgets should be installed at the showroom where the car is purchased. If it is done by a third party, manufacturers usually do not honour warranty claims of any sort.

Physical locks on the steering or gear shift lever can prove to be deterrents for car thieves. There is every chance that a thief will just move away after seeing these locks.

Pedal lock
This is a simple U-shaped metal bar with holes on the sides. The lock is placed on one of the foot pedals and a locking bolt is inserted into the holes. This prevents the pedal from moving down.

Steering wheel lock
This is fastened on the steering wheel. It prevents the wheel from being turned when the driver is sitting because the lower part is long and the seat or the driver’s leg will get in the way. The steering wheel can be turned all the way to the left or right side before locking.

Gear shift lever lock
One end of the main unit is mounted on the centre console next to the gear lever, while the other is fastened to the floor of the car. A U-shaped metal piece is locked to the main unit with the gear lever in between. This prevents the gear lever from being shifted.

Some may not prefer to install this because it involves making holes in the floor of the car to fasten the main locking part.

Wheel lock
This is just like the one the traffic police put on cars that are left in no-parking zones. It is a heavy U-shaped piece of steel with a thick rod attached. It is locked in such a way that the rod is in contact with the road. There is no way that a thief can drive the car away with this lock fastened.

Tyre nut lock
One major problem is thieves targeting car tyres, thanks to a thriving second-hand market. Car alloy wheels are particularly vulnerable because they are expensive. One solution is to get tyre nut locks. One of the four or five on each wheel will have a lock that can be opened only with a special key that is supplied with the lock nuts.

Kill switches
These are great ways to ensure that the car does not start even if a thief manages to enter the car. The first option is to install a regular switch in series with the main fuse. In the off mode, this switch will ensure that there is no continuous circuit for the car to start. The second option is to have a switch in line with the ignition starter. Again, it will prevent the car from starting because the circuit is not complete.

In this method, the switch has to be hidden well. In case a thief finds this switch, it will result in the car being stolen.

This can be done by any car mechanic but doing so with the car under warranty will result in the document becoming void.

Electronic locking systems
Electronic locking devices are aplenty in the market and at various price points. From simple devices that set the alarm off when the car is being forced open to engine immobiliser systems. The immobiliser systems work by disabling the engine from starting when the lock is engaged.

Simple alarm systems cost about Rs 4,000, while engine immobiliser systems could cost up to Rs 10,000.

These systems should be installed by authorised manufacturer showrooms to keep the warranty intact.

Further to these, a wide range of devices is available that have cameras. These will record driving so that there is proof in case of an accident. Some of these devices can be controlled through an app and a SIM card in the car camera. These are also useful to ensure that family members are safe if they are being driven by a chauffeur.

(Published 23 April 2019, 12:34 IST)

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