Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Keep Your Vehicle Safe From Theft

person peering into car

With over a million cars stolen each year in the US, vehicle theft has become a concern for vehicle owners. Fortunately, you can increase the chances of keeping your vehicle safe from theft by taking a few simple steps, including keeping some basic precautions in mind, using immobilization devices, and being mindful of where you park.

Method 1 of 3: Taking basic precautions

It doesn't really matter where you park your car if you take some basic precautions. By following a few quick and easy steps, you can make it much more difficult for thieves to sneak away with your car.

Step 1: Lock your doors. The first step toward preventing theft includes locking your vehicle's doors. This makes it much harder for a thief to gain access to your vehicle and could provide just enough time to discourage the theft of your vehicle in the first place.

purse laying on a car seat

Step 2: Hide your valuables. Keep valuables out of sight when leaving them in your car while you are away. Sometimes thieves look for parked cars with bags, phones, and expensive equipment in them. Instead of a thief leaving your vehicle alone, visible valuables could lead them to breaking into your car and taking your personal items.

  • Warning: In addition to your personal property, money, and other items, thieves can also gain access to items that could allow them to steal your identity, such as your driver's license, bills with your address, and other important documents. Never keep such items in your vehicle, regardless of how long you plan on being away from your car.

Step 3: Turn on your car alarm. Turn on the alarm system if your vehicle is equipped with one. Thieves might avoid a car they think is protected by a car alarm.

  • Tip: Make sure to let thieves know that your car is protected by a car alarm by displaying a sticker stating this fact on your vehicle windows.

Method 2 of 3: Use immobilization devices

yellow pedal locking device installed

Materials Needed

  • Immobilization device such as a steering wheel club or pedal lock

In addition to locking your vehicle's doors, there are some other steps you can take to make your vehicle harder to steal, including immobilization devices, such as a steering wheel club or a pedal lock.

Step 1: Lock your steering wheel. Devices such as The Club make your vehicle virtually undriveable by limiting the range of motion of the steering wheel. Once secured into place, short of cutting the rim of the steering wheel, thieves cannot turn the vehicle left or right when attempting to flee in the vehicle.

Step 2: Lock your pedal. You can also utilize other devices, such as a pedal lock, which either locks the brake pedal into place or secures the brake and gas pedals together. This makes it impossible to operate one without operating the other, so that when you push the gas the brake is also applied, and the vehicle won't move.

Method 3 of 3: Parking in the right spot

Where you park your vehicle is often just as important as the other precautions you take to prevent car theft. Whether you park on the street, in a parking garage, or a car lot, by keeping some simple steps in mind, you can ensure that any thief thinks twice before messing with your car.

Step 1: Park in a monitored lot. While this costs a small fee, it is one sure way to make sure that your vehicle is protected while you are away.

parking lot with people around

Step 2: Park away from parking garage and lot exits. Parking in a spot in heavily traveled areas can deter theft. By parking next to an exit, you give potential thieves a quick way to get away with your vehicle.

Step 3: Park in well-lit areas. Park in well-lit areas when you must leave your vehicle, especially at night or in darker areas. Thieves like obscurity, and areas where others can easily see their activities discourages them.

  • Tip: If you leave a spare key somewhere on your vehicle's exterior, put it somewhere inconspicuous. If placed in an area that most people leave a spare key, more than likely the thieves can find it easily as well. In general, it’s best not to do this at all.

By taking a few safety precautions, you can keep your vehicle safe from theft. When having an alarm system installed in your vehicle, consult with an experienced mechanic to ensure that you get the system you want and that the job is done properly the first time.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.

ASK A QUESTION

More related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...


Related questions

Q: The anti-theft is always on in my 1999 Mercury Sable, can I turn it off?

The easiest way to disable the security to your vehicle is to remove both battery cables on the battery. Leave the cables off for about 12 minutes. Hook up both cables and make sure that they are tight. Take the...

Q: Security system on my new to me car has been toggled on.

Hi there. Try taking the key and putting it in the driver door and unlocking and locking the door 3 times. This will make the computer acknowledge the key and finalize the programming. For the dash sound, that could be...

Q: I think the anti theft system is at fault, can we disable it?

Do you get a different response when unlocking the vehicle with the key fob first? In this case, there may be some confusion in the anti-theft system which should be looked into by your local dealer. Often disabling the anti-theft...