Common Sense Security Tips

A security system can do only so much. Despite the new gadgets and available technology, common sense remains your best defense against car thieves.

Auto theft experts from the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Highway Loss Data Institute recommend a number of common sense, no-cost measures to ensure the well being of you and your vehicle:

  • Remove your keys from the ignition. This is common sense, but not doing so is an open invitation to car thieves.
  • Never leave your car running unattended not even in your driveway no matter how quick the errand.
  • Don't leave spare keys in the car or in hiding spots; experienced thieves know even the best hiding places.
  • Lock your doors and close your windows.
  • Keep your registration card in your wallet or purse instead of the glove compartment. Make photocopies to keep at home.
  • Park your locked vehicle in a locked garage. If you have no garage, consider investing in a secured parking area. As with parking in any commercial lot or garage, leave only the ignition key with the attendant. If you must park on the street, select safe, well-lit areas and park with the front wheels turned sharply to the curb. This makes it difficult for thieves to tow your car. In the driveway, park facing the street so anyone tampering with the car is more noticeable. Put the emergency brake on and leave the transmission in Park. Manual transmissions should be left in gear.
  • Use paint or an indelible marker to put the vehicle identification number under the engine hood, on the trunk lid and on the battery. The VIN is found on the dashboard on the driver's side of the car.
  • Lock personal property, especially valuable items such as cell phones and cameras, in the trunk or hide them where they're not visible to passersby. If you lock items in the trunk, do so in a secluded area.
© Cars.com 4/30/13