How can you secure your car?

Published 09 February 2015

Once upon a time, in about 1991, car crime was an epidemic. Security was pretty lax, making theft easy for anyone with a screwdriver and a basic knowledge of wiring. The result was an endless series of news reports depicting joyriders, burnt out car shells and teenagers in baseball caps.

Nowadays we just blip the keyfob and go home, safe in the knowledge that our car is probably going to be there come morning. Car theft still happens, though – and thieves are getting smarter and more selective. So in this era of high-tech criminals, what can you do to keep the baddies away? Well these are your options...

Any one of these devices can be beaten by a particularly intelligent and experienced thief, but they all add an extra layer of security, giving criminals a good reason to avoid your car and move onto someone else’s less secure example.


A tracker might not keep a car criminal from stealing your car, but it’ll give you a much better chance of getting it back. There are various types of tracker for all kinds of budgets, ranging from basic systems from eBay to much more expensive bits of kit that will lower your insurance premium.

A proper, professionally fitted tracker will be hidden away and wired into the car. If the car is stolen then the owner contacts the provider and the police. At this point the tracker is activated and its signal can be traced by police, giving a much better chance of catching the criminal and retrieving the car.

Trackers can be overcome by more advanced car thieves, though. That said, they’re certainly worth spending money on if you own a particularly rare of valuable car - but for an old banger they're not very cost-effective. 

Alarms and immobilisers

Alarms, like anything in this list, can be purchased for very little. Some cars have them installed as standard, of course, but they can also be installed aftermarket. Cheaper ones make a lot of noise and work as a deterrent, but can usually be beaten quite easily.

Spending more means getting a better alarm which is more difficult for thieves to deactivate – and the best systems immobilise cars. Thieves are getting increasingly advanced, with the ability to effectively trick a car into starting via its diagnostic port, then drive off in it were their own. An aftermarket immobiliser adds an extra layer of security for thieves to content with. 

Cobra is a well-known alarm and immobiliser provider and has systems to suit most budgets. A high-quality, approved alarm and immobiliser will lower insurance premiums, which helps offset some of the initial cost. Again, an expensive system isn't a very sensible choice if you have an old banger worth peanuts.


Traditional security

Back in the 1990s you wouldn’t dream of leaving your car parked up without a steering or transmission lock – but these old, mechanical security devices have more or less died out. Having said that, they still have their place as a low-tech solution to high-tech thieves.

Steering, handbrake and transmission locks still exist and they provide an extra obstacle for thieves to overcome. While they are fairly easy to overcome with the right tools, they do at least offer an extra deterrent. A Thatcham approved lock will help reduce your insurance premium, though only very slightly. On the plus side, these devices are fairly cheap to buy. 

Additional garage security

If you’re lucky enough to have a garage then you’re on to a winner as far as insurance companies are concerned. Keeping a car garaged will seriously lower your premium, since the vehicle is hidden out of sight and locked behind a door.

However, garages are pretty easy to get out of once you’re inside. Most can be unlocked without the key, so if someone gets in through a window or the pedestrian door they can usually escape without any trouble.

The solution is a bit of extra locking that requires a separate key. A good, heavy-duty choice is a garage defender, which prevents the door from being opened unless you have the key to a solid, shackle-free padlock. It’s a lot of effort to get past one of these, so it offers a good deterrent. Just remember to keep the key separate from your car keys, in case you’re a victim of key theft.

 Garage Defender


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