According to insurance companies the frequency of car thefts where one or more parts of a car are stolen is on the increase. The statistics show that this is most likely to happen if you leave your car out on the street overnight – so the importance of locking your vehicle in your home garage cannot be overstated if you want to make life hard for criminals. What are the most commonly stolen car parts – and what steps can you take to make it harder for the thieves to target your vehicle?
There’s nothing like pimping up your car with a set of smart looking custom rims. However, these are like magnets for thieves who easily jack your car up and use special equipment to quickly remove these expensive additions to your vehicle. If you think locking lugs will deter such criminals, then think again as these can often be broken with a considerable amount of brute force. Fancy looking car rims also alert thieves to the fact that you’ve probably got an expensive media centre in your vehicle too – whilst it might be cool to stand out, it’s not cool to advertise your car as the one with the richest pickings on the inside. The simplest way to deter thieves from stealing your expensive rims is by simply not buying them in the first place – it’s very difficult to hide something that’s designed to make your car stand out.
DVD and Media Entertainment Systems
Everyone likes to travel in style these days. There’s nothing that keeps the kids quiet quite like a Disney movie whilst you’re dealing with the difficult task of keeping your eyes on the road as you drive from A to B. These systems are very popular with thieves who often have a number of tricks to remove them from the seating in your vehicle. In order to make things difficult for the thieves out there you can purchase special DVD players and media centres with detachable screens that won’t function without them. Carrying a screen round with you whilst your car’s parked might not seem the most convenient thing at the time, but trust us when we say it’s a lot better than having to buy a whole new device – and a new side window too.
Just as car rims are a favourite target of the car part thieves – so are expensive tyres. These can be removed from your car in a matter of minutes and before you know it you’re not only down the cost of a new set of tyres, but you may also have to get your wallet out for a costly ride home. It’s very difficult to stop thieves from taking your tyres if they’re really committed, however you can make your vehicle less of a target by parking in well lit areas and avoiding backstreets. Ideally you should always try to leave your car in a public parking facility and if you’re worried about thieves attacking it late at night, then you can always take a taxi for those midnight runs.
Global positioning systems that help drivers find their way are a popular target for thieves. Even if you go to the trouble of hiding your Tom-Tom or similar device, the holders, which often use a suction cup that’s attached to the windscreen, leave a tell-tale ring on the glass. This alone can be enough incentive for robbers to break into your car to look in the glove-box and under the seats for this expensive piece of tech equipment. The best thing to do is to lock it away in the trunk of your car, and make sure you use a cloth to wipe away the any marks the holder has left on the windscreen.
Believe it or not many thieves are on the look out for catalytic convertors. These large systems sit underneath the car and remove harmful particles from its exhaust fumes. However, these robbers are not interested in environmental issues – they’re just after the large amount of expensive metals and alloys that are used in the composition of this equipment. It’s easier than you might think to quickly jack up a car and get under it to remove the catalytic convertor, which in today’s world of ever rising metal prices can prove a decent haul when sold to a less than reputable scrap-yard.
Any part of your car that will wear out over time is likely to be targeted by thieves. Expensive high intensity xenon headlamps and the gas cylinders that are used in airbags are now almost as popular with robbers as stereo equipment and DVD players. The black market trade in these items has risen considerably in recent years as both parts commonly need replacing on cars. Of course, in order to steal these parts the robber will usually have to gain entrance to your car – by making sure that you’ve got a good alarm system or that your car is safely locked away from public access you’re making it difficult for the thieves to get into your vehicle.
If there’s one thing you should take away from this article it’s that the best form of prevention is down to where you park your car. Really committed thieves can break through most forms of car alarm – and many people in urban environments are also oblivious to the noise they make, leaving no one to notify the police about a car alarm until its been going off for long enough to become an annoyance. Immobilizers are also no help in these situations as the robbers aren’t trying to steal your whole vehicle. Do whatever you can to make life difficult for thieves and you’re less likely to get targeted – it really is that simple.
Justin Smith blogs regularly at second hand car parts finders – BreakerLink