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Theft Prevention Tips for Your Vehicle

Updated December 5, 2016 . AmFam Team

With a little proactive prevention, you can avoid the stress of a stolen car and keep your ride right where it belongs.

A stolen car is an extremely stressful situation. You walk outside, expecting your ride to be right where you left it, only to see an empty spot where it used to be. 

Here’s hoping it never does happen to you. And you can play a role in making sure. With a little proactive prevention, you can avoid the stress of a stolen car and keep your ride right where it’s supposed to be.

Car Theft Prevention Tips

You’ve probably learned some good habits over the years — like parking in well-lit places and not leaving your keys in the car. But are you doing all you can to stop a car theft? Use these smart tips to stay a step ahead of car thieves.

Lock your doors. Seems simple, right? But it’s so often ignored. Don’t make it easy for a thief to get in. Lock your doors every time you leave your car — even if you’re just running in for a second. And don’t “give” them a key by leaving a spare up in the wheel well or tucked next to the windshield wipers — they know where to look.

Warming up. Be watchful in the winter when you warm up your car. Even in the driveway, your car is vulnerable, so keep an eye on it whenever you leave it running. Better yet, lock it and use your spare keys to get in once it’s warm.

Use the emergency brake. Car thieves know their stuff, and sometimes they even use tow trucks to stealthily steal cars, so turn your wheels toward the curb and lock that e-brake. It might just be the deterrent they need to walk away from your car.

Be careful with your key. Be sure you have a good feeling before you hand off your keys to just anyone — even when it comes to valets and parking attendants.

Hide your stuff. Any valuables in plain sight can be a beacon to thieves, and once they’ve smashed the window what’s to stop them from taking the whole car. Hide any valuables you absolutely must keep in the car. You might want to consider tucking your spare change away too.

Park in busy areas. Parking by a light may not only protect your vehicle, it may also protect you. But you can go a step further and try to find a parking spot by a busy entrance or security camera. This extra diligence may be all it takes to make your car less appealing.

Take care of your car. A well-maintained vehicle can be a deterrent for well-trained thieves. If they see a car that’s taken care of, they may assume you’re an owner who cares enough to install an alarm.

Drive protected. Be wary even when you’re driving. Keep your doors locked when you’re on the road. Look out for “bump and run” car thieves. If you are in a minor fender bender and feel threatened, drive to a well-lit, populated area or call the police before you even get out of the car.

Consider comprehensive. Without comprehensive insurance, you’ll have to pay out of pocket to replace a stolen car, so ask your agent (Opens in a new tab) how this important car coverage can offer added peace of mind.

Now you have a list that helps protect what belongs to you. You’ve worked way too hard to put your dreams at risk. Don’t give thieves an opportunity to take what’s not theirs.

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