If you’re anything like Kim, you’ve poured a ton of time, money and love into your cars. That’s why it’s devastating when you slam the gas pedal and your car refuses to start, screeching instead. When you hear that roar, consider it a calling card from a carjacker.
Thieves are cutting out catalytic converters across the country. State Farm alone saw a 293% increase in converter theft claims from mid-2020 to mid-2021. Not only that, but car thieves are also using Apple AirTags to steal cars. Tap or click here to find out how.
Since used car prices are through the roof, you need yours to last as long as possible. Luckily, we’ve got some gadgets and tips you can use to keep your car safe.
1. Key signal blocker
Key fobs are handy, but thieves can trick your car into thinking the fob is present. Tap or click here to find out about the security flaw in key fobs that lets hackers unlock your car.
Fortunately, there’s a way you can isolate and block the signals thieves use. Aluminum foil can do in a pinch. It blocks some of the signals, but you need something more sturdy for complete protection.
We recommend taking it a step further and using a faraday cage. If you didn’t know, this is a shield that blocks electromagnetic fields. If thieves try to pick up and relay signals from your key, this gadget shuts them down:
If you want to learn more about how hackers use electromagnetic signals to manipulate your car, we get it. Tap or click here for seven clever ways hackers are stealing keyless cars.
2. Go a step further to secure your keys
Now you know all about keyless car theft. Don’t forget about the old-fashioned methods, either. If you post your car key online, a criminal can use that picture to create a real-life replica.
If you ever lose or misplace your key, you should be on the lookout for thieves. This is especially true if your vehicle is older and only uses traditional keys. Follow some common-sense precautions, too.
Don’t leave your keys right near the door where someone could pop in and take them. For this reason, it’s wise to have a camera on the porch or a doorbell cam to deter and catch anyone up to no good. Tap or click here for Kim’s favorite video doorbell to keep an eye out.
3. Add a wheel lock
Another great way to boost your car’s security is installing a steering-wheel lock. This way, you’re using layers of security instead of putting all your eggs into one basket.
If you’ve never heard of one before, it’s a device that works like a locking rod. It locks across your car’s steering wheel. If a criminal breaks into your vehicle, they won’t be able to steer it properly — thus, they can’t drive off with the goods.
Of course, don’t just buy a wheel lock and think you’re good to go. Add more layers of protection by following the steps below.
4. Keep a photo of your insurance, VIN and license plate on your phone
You’re putting yourself at risk if you keep all of your important paperwork in your glove compartment. These are essential documents you can’t afford to lose. First of all, we recommend making photocopies to store with the rest of your files. Tap or click here to digitize your most important documents.
Of course, making physical copies isn’t the only way to go. If a tornado or a fire hits your home, your backups are toast. That’s why you should take advantage of tech and use digital systems as another form of backup.
Snap a photo of your insurance card, VIN and license plate. That way, if your car is ever stolen, you have critical information at hand. This helps you act quickly just in case the worst comes to pass.
5. Be careful where you park
Earlier, you learned that criminals use tiny Bluetooth trackers to stalk cars they want to steal. According to Canadian police, there have been five such incidents in the York Region alone.
Over the past several months, thieves have hidden AirTags on parked cars. They used tracking technology to keep an eye on the vehicles to steal them later.
Here’s why criminals are using AirTags instead of Tile trackers. Most trackers have a limited range. AirTags connect to a more extensive network so that you can track items across long distances. That’s why criminals like them — they come with a lot of flexibility.
Police advise people to use a steering wheel lock and install a lock on the data port to be safe. They also recommend parking your car in a locked garage. It’s not safe if you leave it out in the driveway.
Parking in a garage or behind a gate is always safer. If you have to park in a driveway or on the street, remove valuables and ensure there is good light. A motion-activated camera is a good deterrent.
6. Get a tracker of your own
Sure, criminals are misusing Bluetooth trackers. But you can also use them for their intended purposes. These gadgets are designed to help you keep track of lost things.
A Bluetooth tracker can help you hunt it down ASAP if your car is ever lost. An AirTag will work just fine, but you could also get a specialty tracker like this model:
Bonus: Your insurance company may give you a discount if you have anti-theft devices installed
Car insurance costs can include all sorts of liabilities. If you add anti-theft features to your vehicle, you could get a discount of 5% to 25% off your coverage, Forbes reports.
GPS-based systems, VIN etching and other stolen vehicle recovery systems could all help you lower costs. You’d need proof of installment or use for some of these, though. Contact your car insurance company to see what you’re eligible for.We may receive a commission when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.