Anyone who has had anything stolen from them knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach. That wrenching disappointment, which soon turns to anger and anguish.
It doesn’t matter how big or small the item, the thought of someone taking what you’ve worked hard for is infuriating. We all invest significant sums into our touring setups, so if you aren’t adequately insured, you could lose much more than simply the value of the vehicle.
Here are some tips to help get on the front foot and prevent your pride and joy going missing.
1. Park Aware
Believe it or not, many thefts are born from opportunity. Yes, we’ve all watched Gone in 60 Seconds and seen the affable characters scope out vehicles to be stolen to save the day, but this would be the minority. It pays to have a think about where you park your prized possession. During the day, make sure it’s in a secured location or at very worst, somewhere where it is in plain view of the public. At night, if you can’t get your rig into a garage or a carport, consider parking it in with another vehicle or put it behind a gate in a backyard where thieves may feel less comfortable trying getting to it.
2. Lock it up
If you are parking your vehicle anywhere, even out the front of your house, lock it up. As mentioned above, most thefts are born from opportunity, so an open door might be just what a would-be thief needs to be enticed. Interestingly, many insurance policies out there will not cover you if your vehicle was unlocked when stolen, so hit that button and lock her up.
These days, as mentioned, thieves are breaking into houses to steal keys to take your vehicle, so don’t leave them in an obvious place at home where they are easy to grab – get into the habit of not keeping them together and keep them out of sight.
3. Let there be light
Judicious use of sensor lighting is a good deterrent for theft from overnight parking. The options range from inexpensive all-in-one units through to separate sensor and light units that can be placed to suit your needs. Just make sure any electrical work is done by a licensed tradesman!
4. I can see you
It seems everyone has cameras around their properties these days. There are differing community views regarding CCTV, but there’s no doubt that they can be a useful deterrent and a valuable source of information when apprehending would-be thieves. We’ve heard of cameras that have motion sensors and will notify you of activity directly to your phone! What’s more, you can actually talk through the camera, no matter where you are! Imagine the look on a would-be thief’s face when you tell them to get out from the other side of the city!
Almost all newer vehicles these days have some form of engine immobilisation built in. Usually these systems work in the form of a transponder in the key, which interacts with your on-board ECU. The addition of this has seen a significant reduction in theft over the years. Unfortunately the criminals have caught on and it’s not uncommon for the more sophisticated thief to have master codes that can be used to trick the ECU into allowing ignition. This becomes all the more tricky when many new cars can be accessed without a key. A quality aftermarket immobiliser can be installed at various points in your vehicle’s vital systems, such as ignition and fuel pump. Many of these systems can be run simultaneously with an alarm system or have a proximity sensor, where unless you have the transponder in the car the immobiliser wont disarm.
6. Alarms and GPS Tracking
These go hand in hand with immobilisation, but the advancements in GPS technology warrant a separate section. Obviously alarming the vehicle where unwanted entry is notified either by sirens or notification to your phone is a great thing to have, particularly where you need to leave you vehicle unattended for long durations in less desirable locations. GPS tracking is an interesting one that has been around for some years but lately has become much more accessible to the masses. Do your research and ensure it’s exactly what you need though. The higher end systems will allow you to turn the vehicle off remotely, helping law enforcement locate the vehicle and the perpetrators of the theft.
7. Dash Cam
A bit of an outsider and definitely not fool proof, but we’ve certainly noticed parked cars at night that have a red or blue flashing light emitting from the dashcam. Yes, a thief could pretty easily remove and destroy the camera if they really wanted to take the vehicle – I guess it’s a risk the thief would need to take. In the meantime, it may be a deterrent to amateurs. We recently tested a Uniden dashcam that had a mode that woke the dashcam up to record for a minute whenever a jolt or vibration was sense by the inbuilt gyrometer, such as someone trying to get in or remove an accessory.
Unfortunately, sometimes despite all of your best efforts, the worst will happen. This is where having the right coverage is absolutely imperative. If your vehicle were to get stolen today, how much would your payout be? Would that payout be enough to rebuild?