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15 Tips on Protecting Your Car

Updated on August 14, 2017
davidlivermore profile image

David has had a variety of life experiences which he loves to share with his readers.

Walking up to your car with a broken window can be a very scary thing.
Walking up to your car with a broken window can be a very scary thing. | Source

Protecting Your Vehicle

People treat their car like they do their homes. Some people have to live out of their car to function in their daily lives. The problem is that cars are so much more exposed than a house is. It's easy to see what's inside of a car through the windows, doesn't take long to break in, and takes even less time to steal what could be inside of the car, or the car itself.

If you think locking the doors of your car is enough of a deterrent, its not. Protecting your car from being broken into is not as simple as locking your doors and walking away. There are steps you can take to further protect your vehicle from being broken into or stolen. Some of the steps are quite easy and require little to no effort at all.

The overall goal is to make other cars more enticing than yours when it comes to a break-in. If the next car offers a better opportunity for a thief, then they will go for that one and leave your car alone.

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Keeping your car clean and free of items will help keep your car safe from break-ins.
Keeping your car clean and free of items will help keep your car safe from break-ins. | Source

Preparing Your Car to Avoid Break-Ins

Before anything else, you need to make your car less enticing to thieves. They will take anything, including the car, if you give them an opportunity to do so. So before you leave your driveway, evaluate your car according to these tips:

  1. Keep your car clean. Get regular washes, clean up the trash, etc. If you let debris build up in your car, chances are that you will leave something behind that at thief will want. Thieves aren't picky, if they see a few cents in your car, they will break into it to steal your money and whatever else that could be of value.
  2. Keep your car a pigsty. Alternatively, thieves won't want to sift through a huge mess to try to find something of value. They need to be in and out of your car quickly. If you keep your car a huge mess, then a thief won't be interested in breaking in. Just keep in mind no one else will want to be in that car either.
  3. Repair any problems with the car. A broken door, unhinged window, etc. Something broken could just make it easier for someone to break into your car. Keep up the maintenance on your car to keep it as secure as possible.
  4. Tint the windows. If allowed by law, tint your windows as dark as possible. That will make it harder for someone to look inside of your car to see if anything valuable is laying around to be stolen.
  5. Install a security system. If you haven't done so already, install a security system. Try to get one installed that has a light or other device inside. If a thief sees that light, they will suspect it's due to a car alarm, and will avoid your car because of it. There are some fake lights you can purchase for your car that look like a device for a car alarm, but isn't an alarm at all.
  6. Don't drive an expensive car. The higher dollar value of the car, the higher the chances of a thief will target your vehicle. Remember that you are trying to make your car less enticing than other cars. Just be aware of the risk if you do get an expensive car. Buying a common car may also make your car more of a target.
  7. Buy a car with devices installed into the vehicle. If you wait to buy a GPS until after you purchased your car, it usually means the device will be easily detachable. You could forget and leave it in one day, then poof, it's gone. Instead, get devices installed directly into the console of your car so they are much harder to steal.

The trunk can be a good spot to store things you don't want seen, but store them before you park in a public area.
The trunk can be a good spot to store things you don't want seen, but store them before you park in a public area. | Source
The glove box isn't the best spot to hold valuable items.  Keep it as empty as possible.
The glove box isn't the best spot to hold valuable items. Keep it as empty as possible. | Source
The front windshield is the biggest window in your car.  A sunshade is a great way to block the view from potential thieves.
The front windshield is the biggest window in your car. A sunshade is a great way to block the view from potential thieves. | Source

Deterring Against Car Break-Ins

Once you are out and about, you have to worry about the safety of your car. There are further deterrents you should do to protect it once you park and leave your car in a sometimes unknown place.

  1. Lock your car and take your keys with you. You think this would be obvious, but it isn't. Even if you are going inside of a place for a minute, that's all the time a thief will need to take your car. Take your keys and lock your doors. Keep your windows rolled up as well.
  2. Hide all of your belongings. The worst place you could pick is the glove compartment. Why? It will be the first place thieves will look. By all means hide your things away completely. You can use the trunk, since that can be harder to get into and a lot more obvious. But, you could use the center console if it looks like there wouldn't be an opening, or a secret compartment if your car has one. However, do this before you park the car, and not after. If someone sees you moving stuff to your trunk, they will know to look there.
  3. Use The Club. The Club can be easy to get around for an experienced car thief, but it still takes time. Thieves won't want to mess with it even if they know they can get around it. So place it on your steering wheel. It's a pain to deal with, and bulky, but it's very much worth it. Other devices can work just as well if they are visible. I use one in my car at all times.
  4. Park in a well lit area. Parking where there will be light on your car at all times will be a huge deterrent to a thief. They don't want a spotlight shinned on them, so they will avoid your car at all costs.
  5. Park in a public area. If there are lots of people around, then a thief will not even think about going after your vehicle. Even if it means you have to walk to get to your destination, then so be it. Your car will still be there when you get back.
  6. Use a sunshade. The front windshield of your car gives the world full view of what is inside of your car. A sunshade can make it harder for thieves to look inside of your car, even if they are casually just walking by.
  7. Ensure to arm your alarm. Don't walk away from your car until you know it's armed with the car alarm. Look inside to ensure the indicator light is on. No point in having an alarm unless you use it.
  8. Install a dash cam. Dash cameras can be triggered to record video when someone walks by or touches the vehicle. The ironic thing is that a thief may want to steal the camera, but not if it's hard wired or installed securely in your vehicle.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Center console in a vehicle.  Hard to tell if it opens up or not.With a little effort, it does open up.  Not meant to store times, but could be a good hiding spot.The passenger side of a vehicle.  Glove box below, but nothing else seems to stick out.Pressing on the panel produces a hiding spot.  It can't hold a lot, but it's not obvious.
Center console in a vehicle.  Hard to tell if it opens up or not.
Center console in a vehicle. Hard to tell if it opens up or not. | Source
With a little effort, it does open up.  Not meant to store times, but could be a good hiding spot.
With a little effort, it does open up. Not meant to store times, but could be a good hiding spot. | Source
The passenger side of a vehicle.  Glove box below, but nothing else seems to stick out.
The passenger side of a vehicle. Glove box below, but nothing else seems to stick out. | Source
Pressing on the panel produces a hiding spot.  It can't hold a lot, but it's not obvious.
Pressing on the panel produces a hiding spot. It can't hold a lot, but it's not obvious. | Source

Secret Compartment in the Mini Cooper

© 2013 David Livermore

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