How to Theft-Proof Your Vehicle Comments52 Comments

The following is a guest post. If interested in submitting a guest post, please read my
guest posting policy and then contact me.

When guarding your vehicle against theft, it’s just as important to protect the valuables inside your vehicle as it is to protect the vehicle itself. And while no car or truck can be completely theft-proof, there are ways to reduce the chances of your vehicle becoming a target. Each protective measure you take will lessen the chances of a break-in or car theft. Here are a few ways to theft-proof your vehicle:

  • Lock your vehicle: Whenever you’re away from your vehicle, lock the doors and roll up the windows. Even if you only plan to be gone for a short time, or don’t have any valuables in the car, an unlocked vehicle can be a tempting target.
  • Don’t leave valuables visible: One of the simplest ways to avoid a vehicle break-in is to keep valuables out of sight. Many car break-ins result in stolen property rather than a stolen vehicle, so remember to keep things like wallets, purses, computers and mobile phones out of sight when you leave your vehicle.
  • Park in a garage or well-lit place: Keeping your vehicle in a garage overnight adds an extra level of security to your vehicle, especially if your garage is kept locked. If a garage is unavailable, park your vehicle in a well-lit place to discourage theft.
  • Install an alarm system: A vehicle alarm system has been proven to reduce the chances of car theft. Most car alarms produce a loud noise if the car is broken into, which draws attention to the vehicle and usually scares off the car thief.
  • Install a GPS tracking system: A more high tech solution is to have a GPS device installed in your vehicle that allows it to be tracked. LoJack is a popular vehicle security system that alerts the police to the location of your stolen vehicle so that it can be retrieved. These services usually require an up-front installation fee, plus a monthly service fee, but these fees are often much lower than the out-of-pocket expense of a vehicle theft.

Knowing how to theft-proof your vehicle is especially important if you’re still making payments on a used auto loan. If your vehicle is stolen, you could be required to continue your monthly payments, since car loans don’t go away just because the vehicle does. To make sure you’re not stuck paying for a car you no longer own, ask your insurance provider about an auto policy that covers theft and break-ins. And to reduce monthly payments on your vehicle, call your lender to refinance your auto loan. You may even qualify for a discount on your insurance policy by having an anti-theft device like an alarm installed in your vehicle. Whichever prevention methods you choose, avoiding car theft and expensive monthly car payments is easier than you think.

Have you had any bad experiences with vehicle theft? It’s only personally happened to me once and I lost all my cds and some spare change.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed or you are welcome to leave a comment below.
By : Adam | 9 Aug 2012
Tweet this article :
Div line

52 thoughts on “How to Theft-Proof Your Vehicle

  1. Greg@ClubThrifty

    Hmmm…I never thought about having to still make payments on a vehicle that was stolen. I guess it makes sense that the loan doesn’t go away. Would that be something that insurance could possibly cover, though?

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Most people would likely opt for theft insurance, but if you don’t get replacement value insurance, it might not cover how much is left owing. Or some people may skip out on theft insurance assuming they live in a safe neighborhood or that their alarm is sufficient.

      Reply
  2. John | Married (with Debt)

    I mistakenly left a bag in my back seat, and my window was busted out and I was robbed. Too bad they missed the window on the first try and hit the body. That was expensive.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Ouch that sucks that they also managed to damage the body of the car. I’m sure that would be more expensive than the window or the bag contents. Sometimes a bag left in clear sight is just too tempting for thieves.

      Reply
  3. Jessica

    My solution is to drive an old, P.O.S. car with absolutely NOTHING in it that anybody would want to steal. I always leave the doors unlocked because I’d rather someone who wants to steal open the door than break a window I’d just have to pay to get repaired later.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      That is one way to avoid the problem. I’ve heard of people leaving their doors unlocked for this reason too. There is still the risk that someone might want to take an easy to steal car out for a joyride or to do other crimes with.

      Reply
  4. Justin @ The Family Finances

    When I had my old car, I just left it unlocked. I never carried anything valuable in the car, so I’d rather a thief just come in through the door than bust out a window.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      The thieves must’ve appreciated that. I’ve heard of some thieves doing unthinkable things inside a car when they take the time to break in and can’t find anything to steal.

      Reply
  5. TB at BlueCollarWorkman

    In my younger and very troubled days, I used to steal stuff from inside cars (and hood ornaments from cars), we did it fast too. And after awhile, you get good at it. Really good. So car owners should really follow ALL these steps because a car with nothing in it to steal that’s locked is not a great target for a car thief. Put your interesting and cool stuff in the trunk or glove box and I would’ve been more likely to move on to a car that actually had something in it that I could see! But if yo’uve got something good in there, we could break the window, swipe what we want (stereos included) and be gone in less than 60 seconds. Scary, huh? P.S. I did get caught by the police a lot and got in trouble and did my time. And now I look at young dudes who are walking the troubled path I took and just shaking my head. It’s a bad road that leads to nowhere! Well, except jail.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Wow surprising to hear that about your past TB. Thank you for sharing that. I started to hang out with that kind of crowd for a bit, but usually didn’t get involved with that stuff. Luckily I moved on quickly.

      It is a very quick process that even an alarm won’t always protect you from. Hiding valuables is an easy way to at least get thieves to move on to a more obvious target instead. Sometimes though, even if stuff is hidden, thieves may assume based on your type of car or just take the risk based on other factors.

      Reply
    2. Ornella @ Moneylicious

      That’s crazy…less than 60 seconds!??? Wow. Well even though what you did wasn’t right, you had some very interesting skills.

      Reply
      1. TB at BlueCollarWorkman

        Haha, “interesting skills”, that’s one way to put it. The first time I/we did it, it took a whole lot longer, but you do get better with time until you got it down to a science. And since people don’t realize that it can all be done in 60 seconds, they’ll leave their windows down or doors unlocked “for just a sec” when they pick something up somewhere or whatever. Don’t do that, people! Easy easy target!

        I guess some of those “skills” translate to all the contracting work that I do today, but overall I think what I mostly got out of it was a police record and a hard time finding a job because of it. :-( Dumb kid. It’s pretty awesome that you didn’t do that stuff, Jeremy!

        Reply
    1. Jeremy

      A GPS unit would be a tempting item to steal. I think having their doors unlocked may have saved them having to replace a broken window. Of course it could’ve been a crime of opportunity where they only stole it because it was easy.

      Reply
  6. Jason @ WorkSaveLive

    Like Jessica, we’ve always believed that nobody in the world would want our car. It’s in awful condition and we don’t leave anything in there…if they want to take it for a joy ride then by all means!

    We’ve been lucky though and haven’t had any issues with theft or people breaking in. I’m sure it’s simply a matter of time though…

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      In your case you’re probably hoping it does get stolen and never found again. Then you’d probably get an insurance payout for more than the true worth of the car. I know I’ve had friends who would be hoping for that kind of situation when their car isn’t in the best condition.

      Reply
    1. Jeremy

      It depends on how old. In my case, my car is new enough that it is extremely difficult to steal. I think they would actually need to get their hands on the key. Some older model cars are just so easy to break into that they become good targets for joyrides. Thieves may assume that a more expensive car likely has more expensive items inside to steal though.

      Reply
  7. John S

    Great ideas! My roommate, years ago, had his car broken in to numerous times and eventually stolen. Unfortunately he had a car that was easy for thiefs to get into. He tried a number of things, but none worked as the thief would just find a way around the deterrant.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      That is too bad that with some cars you are just doomed. I’m sure insurance companies recognize that fact too and charge higher rates for those cars.

      Reply
    1. Jeremy

      I rarely leave anything in my car either. I do leave some spare change though since it usually comes in handy for parking. Someone has stolen that change before. The way I see it though, I’ll pay that thief $5 or whatever to make him not want to take a piss or worse in my car.

      Reply
  8. Jacob @ iheartbudgets

    We’ve got theft/fire/towing insurance for like $3 a month. Our cars are paid for, so no need to worry about a loan. No one would want our cars, though. Both have over 250,000 miles on them and haven’t been washed in a year. ;)

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      lol I don’t think someone looking for a joyride would care much if your car hasn’t been washed. Up here in the northwest the rain keeps cars relatively clean anyway. A lot of times cars are stolen for other reason besides reselling them or using them for parts.

      Reply
  9. Ornella @ Moneylicious

    I haven’t had experience with theft, but I will say I don’t allow any valuables to be visible.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      You are very lucky then. Or perhaps you just live in a very safe neighborhood. It seems that most people have some kind of experience with car theft.

      Reply
  10. MoneySmartGuides

    Around my area thieves target those with GPS systems that you suction cup to your windshield. Most people hide the unit in the glove box, but leave the suction cup on the windshield. That just encourages the thieves to break in. The moral of the comment: hide everything, including accessories.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      That’s funny that they would leave the suction cups in sight thinking that thieves won’t realize what that’s for. Obviously most people would still want to leave their GPS in their vehicle rather than bringing it inside all the time. Considering the price of a GPS unit, those thieves probably do quite well with that strategy and manage to avoid wasting time on vehicles without obvious signs of having one.

      Reply
  11. Shannon-ReadyForZero

    Luckily, this has never happened to me. However, I’ve recently moved to a city that experiences almost guaranteed car theft if you leave anything visible so these tips are very helpful to have!

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Being aware of the problem and taking preventative steps is the best way to protect yourself. So many people are careless that a lot of thieves won’t bother with vehicles where nothing of potential value is in sight.

      Reply
  12. Liquid

    That would suck to still make payments on a car you don’t have anymore lol. I like the idea of paying for a used car with cash. Something I do to deter bad guys from breaking into my car is I never wash it. I think the dirtier something looks, the less desirable it is. I don’t drive much and we get lots of rain here so it doesn’t get super dirty though. I’m good with tennis next week if you’re down.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      I’m surprised you’re in favor of paying for cash for a vehicle. I figured you’d rather get a low rate loan while you invest the cash instead. As I mentioned to Jacob, cars don’t get too dirty around here with all the rain. So I think lots of people don’t bother washing their cars regularly. I think around here there might be too many people walking around for it to be a good area to break into cars. And yeah I’m down for tennis next week.

      Reply
  13. Edward Antrobus

    I have a friend who’s car got broken into once. The thief took the broken ipod and left behind a $300 film camera!

    The only time I’ve ever had a vehicle-related theft, somebody stole my tire in the middle of the night.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Yep, some thieves aren’t too smart. They’re just in a rush to grab anything that looks valuable in as little time as possible. Maybe they decided the camera looked too outdated or more bulky than other items they could steal.

      That’s funny about your tire. Perhaps a thief just got a flat and needed a new one lol.

      Reply
  14. Shilpan

    I’ve LoJack installed on my vehicles. I also was able to lower my insurance bill due to LoJack, which is an added bonus. Even without the insurance discount, I think LoJack is a good investment to protect your vehicle from possible theft.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Anything that can help lower your insurance rates is always good. Here is BC I don’t think they give you any kind of discount for any anti-theft devices. Then again out insurance is run by the government. So they kinda screw us over and charge as high as they can.

      Reply
    1. Jeremy

      That’s crazy they got in with your window barely down. I guess some windows can be forced down further when they’re open. That or they have some kind of tool to reach the lock. Some of them even have the same tools that a tow truck driver has and can get in without breaking a window.

      Reply
  15. Michelle

    My top tip you forgot to mention: just drive an older car that no one wants! That’s what we do. :o) These are good tips. Jeff’s cd’s (he had about a billion, I think) were stolen out of a rental car that he forgot to lock. His cd book that was as big as a trapper keeper was just taken right off the front seat. He was early 20′s and really into the music scene….so I’m pretty sure there were tears from my big baby that night!

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Losing a cd collection is an especially big blow. You have so many memories tied to that music and really enjoy all of those albums. Whoever stole it will likely just try to pawn them for 50 cents or try to use them to leverage a discount on some crack. I had my cd collection stolen from my car once. Unfortunately for them it was mostly burned cds. So I hope they personally like that kind of music lol.

      Reply
  16. JP @ My Family Finances

    Reminds me of the SNL skit for the Ford POS.

    I’ve found that so long as you don’t give a robber a reason to break into your car (aka valuables), you can usually be fairly certain your car will be left alone. It also helps to live out in the sticks; not many car thieves.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      One of the times someone broke into my car I had no valuables visible at all. The only thing they got was some spare change in my center console. The fact that my car was one of the more expensive ones in the parking garage must’ve just made it too tempting a target.

      Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Even if it just appears to be valuable someone might steal it. Just like Edward’s friend who had their broken ipod stolen. It was the same deal with a thief who stole my cd case full of burned cds. They assumed there was something they could resell inside.

      Reply
  17. Amanda Smith

    My car was recently broken into, nothing valuable was in in sight and the items they took seemed weird, come to find out there is a dirty security guard who the day before accused me of stealing makeup from a high end store that I clearly paid since I had the recept in hand. Well what was taken out of my car? The makeup, and I have nothing as far as evidence goes to get justice. :/

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Geez someone is trying to take their job way too far. Maybe he’s disappointed that he couldn’t become a real cop and was trying to play detective. I guess he decided to take some other random things just so that it was a tiny bit less obvious.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>