Each year, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) releases statistics on the most popular makes and model of cars among car thieves. Of course, even if your ride isn’t on the most-at-risk list, it still may be a target for thieves. E3 Spark Plugs and the NICB offer a few tips on keeping your car in your driveway and out of a thief’s garage or chop shop:
- Don’t rev and run: You’d think this one would be a no-brainer. You’d be wrong. Statistics show that half of all stolen cars are easily lifted because they’re left unlocked and/or running while you make a quick run to the ATM or to the mailbox. Cold mornings present a huge opportunity for thieves, too. How many times this past winter did you start your car so it could warm up while you ran back inside to grab a cup of coffee and remind the kids to grab their homework?
- Hide yo’ keys, hide yo’ stuff: Okay, we won’t tell you to hide the wife ala Antoine Dodson. But we can’t emphasize enough the need to hide your keys. And we don’t mean in the glove compartment, center console, sun visor or that nifty magnetized box inside your tire well. Those are the first places a thief will look for the key to your prized ride. Always take your keys with you and keep your spares in your wallet or at your mom’s house. And hide your valuables, too. A wallet, nice piece of jewelry or high-dollar gadget sitting on the seat or dashboard screams “take me, please.”
- Post a warning: Would-be thieves will keep moving if they can clearly see or hear that your car is armed with an anti-theft device. As annoying as those incessant siren sounds and horn beeps are when they emanate from the mall parking lot, they’re effective theft deterrents.
- Immobilize it: If a thief can’t start it, he can’t steal it. Kill switches, fuel cut-offs and smart keys are proving increasingly effective in keeping your car where you put it, even if the window’s smashed when you return. It’s much easier to replace a window than your prized ride.
- Track it: Installing a tracking device in your vehicle will help police quickly pinpoint its location and move in for a bust. Look for a model that uses telematics, a technology that combines GPS and wireless features. If your car moves, the system immediately alerts you and can be tracked via your computer.
- Park smart: Parking in the back of a sports arena, movie theatre or mall might well keep your paint job from being dinged by absent minded teenagers and runaway shopping carts. But keep in mind that car thieves like it nice and quiet, away from the crowds. And your shiny, ding-free car looks all the more tempting now. Kids in a candy store. Also, be sure to park in an area that’s well-lit at night.
Got a great story about how you foiled a would-be car thief’s plans? E3 Spark Plugs wants to hear it. Post it on the E3 Facebook fan page. Meanwhile, here’s a list of the current most stolen cars according to the NICB:
- 1994 Honda Accord
- 1995 Honda Civic
- 1991 Toyota Camry
- 1999 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
- 1997 Ford F150 Series/Pickup
- 2004 Dodge Ram
- 2000 Dodge Caravan
- 1994 Acura Integra
- 2002 Ford Explorer
- 1999 Ford Taurus
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