Kwik Fit | Tuesday 5th February 2019 12:00pm
Between cleaning your vehicle inside and out and taking it for its annual MOT, itís likely you spend a fair amount of time caring for your car, and thereís no doubt youíd be upset if something was to happen to it, such as having it broken into, or worse stolen.
To ensure that your vehicle is as safe as possible, itís worth thinking about the measures you can take to protect it. Below, we suggest five simple ways you can reduce the risk of your car being targeted by thieves.
1. Install a tracking device
While itís likely that your car already has a secure locking system and an inbuilt alarm, this is not always enough to stop crafty criminals from breaking into or even stealing your vehicle. So, to take your car security up to the next level, you could install a tracking device in your car.
Using GPS, a tracking device allows you to monitor your vehicle and its location at all times. This means that, if your car was stolen, you would be notified immediately. In most cases, tracking devices consist of a small black box which is fitted in your car and then connected to an app on your smartphone or tablet. If the device recognises that your car has been stolen, youíll receive an alert. Some tracking technology has the ability to automatically notify the police too.
2. Always park in a safe place
Ideally, you should always try to park in a safe place. For instance, if your home has a garage or driveway, make sure you utilise it. Alternatively, if you have to park your car on the road, make sure itís positioned in a well-lit area, such as by a lamp post. You should also try to park your car near to your home. Ideally, you should position it so that itís in clear view of your property, such as in front of a window. Aside from enabling you to keep a watchful eye, doing this should deter a thief from approaching your vehicle.
When youíre out and about, itís important that you think carefully about your parking spot. For example, if you intend to park in a public car park, try to find one with a ticketed barrier or someone who is monitoring the area. You may also want to park up close to other cars, or somewhere that has CCTV surveillance in operation.
3. Be careful where you put your keys
When you arrive home, you might not think twice about where you put your keys. However, leaving them near an external door, window, letterbox, on the stairs or somewhere where they can be seen from a window could provide a thief with the ideal opportunity to snatch them and in turn steal your car. So, to make sure your vehicle is safe, itís important to think about where you set them down. Instead of leaving them on view, you should get into the habit of putting your keys somewhere out of sight, such as in a drawer or cupboard.
If youíre out and about, itís just as important to keep your keys safe. For example, if youíre at a restaurant or pub, avoid leaving your keys on the table. It can only take a few seconds for someone to take them if youíre distracted. Ideally, you should keep your keys close to you at all times, such as in a zipped pocket.
4. Never leave your vehicle unattended with the engine switched on
Even if youíre gone for only a couple of minutes, leaving your vehicle unattended with the engine switched on provides a thief with the opportunity to take it. So, if you need to go back into your house before you leave, itís worth turning off the engine and locking the car until you return. You should also do this if you need to de-ice your vehicle on a frosty winter morning. While you wait for the ice to melt, you should get in or stay near to the car the whole time.
If your car was stolen as a result of you leaving the engine running unattended, itís important to bear in mind that you might not be eligible for a payout from your insurance company. The truth is, leaving your car idling could invalidate your policy. So, to avoid being caught out should the worst happen, you should always turn the engine off and lock the car before walking away.
Aside from jeopardising the safety of your vehicle and potentially invalidating your insurance, did you know that leaving your car running unattended could get you in serious trouble with the law? According to the Highway Code, the act of walking away from a vehicle with the engine turned on is considered to be an offence. If youíre found to be doing this, the authorities have the power to request that you switch off your engine, or issue a penalty if you refuse. To find out how else you might be breaking the law without realising, why not check out our blog Ď6 driving violations that could land you in big troubleí?
5. Don't leave your valuables on view
Itís no secret that if you leave your valuables on display in your car, itís more likely that it will be broken into. With this in mind, you should always make sure that items such as your mobile phone, handbag or wallet are completely hidden from view, such as in the glove compartment or boot. You should avoid storing possessions on the backseat, under the seats or in the footwell too.
If you have a sat nav, make sure that you remove it when itís not being used, and itís a good idea to detach the cradle it sits in too. You may also want to wipe away any marks that may have been left on the window. Leaving these smears can give away that the device is hidden in your car, encouraging thieves to break in.
To be on the safe side, you may want to get into the habit of not keeping any valuable items in your car at any time.
By putting these tips into practice, you should find that youíre able to avoid the inconvenience of something happening to your car.
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