Vehicle ownership is an important step in life. Once you’ve made the decision to purchase a vehicle, you want to protect your investment. Society has become so conditioned to the sound of a vehicle theft alarm that, beyond the noise, those devices aren’t much of a deterrent. Luckily, you have options beyond a simple lock on your vehicle to ensure your automobile and its contents are as safe and secure as possible.
We’ve composed a list of the best car theft prevention devices to enhance your vehicle’s security. Sometimes an extra step to protect your car, truck, or SUV is enough to deter thieves and keep your vehicle from being stolen. In making our list, we considered expert opinions and product reviews from real consumers. Here’s our list of the best car theft prevention devices that are the most effective and cost-efficient.
Steering Wheel Locks
One of the most popular devices on the market, because of its ease and visibility, is the steering wheel lock. This device attaches to a car’s steering wheel and locks it in place. This makes it impossible, or at least extremely difficult, for someone to drive away. Before exiting the vehicle, you attach it to your wheel and lock it in place, taking the key with you. Because of its placement, the wheel turns only minimally. The vehicle is hard to maneuver, and often can’t make a complete turn.
Hidden Kill Switch
A hidden kill switch is a button in a secret place on your vehicle that is connected to the automobile’s electric system. It interrupts the vehicle’s electrical current and doesn’t allow it to start unless this secret switch is pressed. Sometimes it’s combined with an existing function, such as the high beam or turn signal switch so that you must turn on the high beams or turn signal in order to start the car. This is counterintuitive, and something a thief won’t know how to do, unlike a more obvious extra button or switch.
Installation is a bit difficult, as it entails working with the vehicle’s ignition and wiring. The use of this switch makes it impossible for a thief to start a car quickly because they don’t know the secret. Because the kill switch must be depressed in order to start the car, the delay, and inability to find the switch, maybe enough of an obstacle to stop a theft from happening.
A tire clamp is a device that locks onto the wheel of your vehicle and doesn’t allow it to rotate. This device is often used by police officers on vehicles that have many parking violations or have been impounded. Also known as a tire boot, this can be a viable option for you if you have the space in the trunk of your car to carry it around. It is ideally used when you are parking your car for an extended period of time because it doesn’t make sense to attach a tire clamp to your vehicle while running daily errands.
A brake lock is similar to a steering wheel lock. It attaches to both the bottom of the brake pedal and the steering wheel, making it difficult to turn the steering wheel and press on the brake. Before exiting the vehicle, you attach it to each and lock it in place, keeping the key with you. It does not require a trip to the mechanic and is a visual deterrent to any thief looking for a quick lift.
Tilt and Glass Break Sensors
A vehicle tilt and glass sensor will alert you if your glass is broken on your vehicle. If someone moves your car, the sensor will also go off and give you a warning. These affordable options can help you be proactive in securing your vehicle and allow you to take action before your investment is stolen.
Battery Disconnect Switch
A battery disconnect switch enables you to disconnect your automobile’s battery power, making it difficult for a thief to turn on your vehicle and drive off. These devices can be helpful in theft prevention and are also used when working on vehicles as a safety measure to help turn off the entire vehicle and work on the electronics safely. This device is not as well hidden as the kill switch mentioned above, but the only way for a thief can start your car is to look for and flip this switch under your hood or in your trunk. Sometimes the thief may just assume you have a dead battery and give up.
A device like this is often under twenty dollars, making it a great choice to protect your vehicle if you are on a budget. You can often find it available from retailers that sell racing parts, as a battery disconnect switch is usually required on race cars.
Electronic Tracking System
An electronic tracking system helps you keep track of your vehicle’s whereabouts. While some car theft prevention devices are helpful in preventing car theft, an electronic tracking system is a valuable resource in the case that your vehicle is stolen. Because some thieves will use methods of theft that don’t require a vehicle to be driven, such as towing, a GPS tracking system is an ideal way to monitor your automobile. This is a service that requires you to pay a monthly or yearly subscription.
If your car is stolen, law enforcement can use the system to locate your vehicle no matter where it is hidden, and possibly find information to locate the thief.
Multiple Layers of Protection
The best solution is to use several of these anti-theft devices at the same time. A steering wheel lock alone will only slow an experienced thief down, not prevent the theft. But a steering wheel lock combined with a kill switch, tilt and break sensor, and a vehicle tracking system in case a thief is successful will deter a thief from stealing your car. A typical thief is looking for a fast and easy hit, which minimizes their chances of getting caught. If you make your car quite difficult to steal with several anti-theft devices, the thief will skip your car and try a less well-protected one.
Understanding your available options when it comes to the best car theft prevention devices for your needs can help you add a layer of protection to your car’s anti-theft protection system. Although each of these options can be a deterrent, simply locking your car, being aware of your surroundings, and ensuring all loose items are placed out of sight, is the first step in keeping your belongings and vehicle safe. Ultimately, your final decision should keep your individual needs and preferences in mind.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.