Driver Knowledge Tests

How to reduce the chance your car will be broken into

Up to two in five people leave valuables on display in their car when they leave it, and young people are more likely to leave valuables in their car than older people. Even items you think might not be worth anything could be quickly stolen and traded or sold on Ebay.

Often, the cost of fixing the break-in is not covered by insurance and, if you didn’t leave your car secure, your insurance might not pay out.

So, here’s how to deter thieves from breaking into your car.

  • Never leave anything of value on display in your car. This includes thinking that covering them with a blanket or jacket will stop thieves’ curiosity. If you need to leave anything in your car it should be stashed in the glove box or in the boot (make sure your boot blind is effective if you have a station wagon or hatchback). Don’t think that opportunistic thieves won’t take an item worth just a few dollars if they think they can get something for it.
  • Think about when you will have to put things in the boot. If you need to move things into the boot and you are likely to be parking in a place which is not that secure, stop somewhere before you get to your final destination because if thieves are watching you put your valuable stuff in the boot and then you leave the car, you might as well not have tried to hide it.
  • Always lock your car, even in the driveway. It’s not necessary to lock it in a locked garage, but don’t leave the keys in it. When you are filling up with fuel, lock the car and take the keys with you when you go in to pay (unless there’s someone else in the car).
  • Take high-value items with you – your wallet, phone, laptops, etc. Even if a thief does break in, these kinds of items will be safely with you and you’re not at risk of losing a set of bank cards or some irreplaceable photos on your phone.
  • Remove any sat nav (GPS) cradle and phone charger from view. People are lazy and often take their GPS off and put it in the glove box. Leaving the cradle there advertises this.
  • Put the detachable faceplate of your stereo in the glovebox.
  • Get an alarm and immobiliser and place the warning stickers on the windows.
  • Inform your neighbours if your car has been broken into because thieves often target cars in the same street.
  • Park in a well-lit, busy, open area. If possible, use a car park with a security attendant or security cameras.
  • Avoid buying a car with a small quarterlight window (a small window in the back door) as these are easy to break with minimal noise.
  • Use a wheel lock if you want to deter car theft.

And if you come back to your car with one of these in it, it’s probably best you don’t tackle it yourself:

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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Posted in Advice, Car