Car security: everything you need to know (2023)

Written by Seth WaltonPublished: 1 June 2023Updated: 1 June 2023

Perhaps one day we’ll live in a world where balaclava-clad hoodlums approach driveways for no other reason than to inform car owners that their lights have been left on. Until that day, for the sake of your peace of mind and the protection of your wallet, we recommend investing in some car security.

Cars are the second most valuable items we’re likely to own in our lifetimes. They take care and financial investment to keep on the road, not to mention the emotional bond that many motorists develop with their cars after years at the wheel. Van driver? Check out our advice on how to keep your van safe.

We think all that makes them worthy of a few additional security measures. Car security needn’t be expensive, but a few extras will go a long way in bolstering your car’s safety, all while elevating your overall ownership experience.

On this page, we’ll break down which security measures are available for both cars and garages, how you can best protect your car at night along with other top tips to help keep your car safe.

Car security

If you’re interested in protecting your car from theft or damage, there are many effective products worth checking out that won’t bust the bank. When considering which product is right for you, it’s worth thinking about where and how your car might be vulnerable.


Car security: everything you need to know (1)

For example, if your car features a keyless entry system, you will want to protect your key from emitting signals that could be hijacked. If you keep your car in a garage at night, you may want to consider reinforcing your garage door locks or investing in some security cameras.

(Video) What Car Security System should you get?

Here are a few products that we think are worth checking out:

Faraday pouches

Great for:
Cars with keyless entry systems

Keyless entry systems are convenient but they can leave cars vulnerable to keyless car theft when parked on a driveway. Armed with a signal amplifier and a signal transmitter, two strategically placed thieves can replicate the signal emitted from the keyless entry key inside a house then amplify it to connect with the keyless entry system inside the car.

Without touching the key, two thieves could have the car unlocked within a matter of minutes. Faraday pouches are small key fob container pouches that block the signals emitted from a keyless entry key by containing them in a metallic lining. Without a signal from the key, the electrical boxes can’t transmit anything to unlock the car.

They may be simple and affordable but they can be very effective pieces of car security. If your car features a keyless entry system, pick up your Faraday pouch or Faraday box today.

Car trackers

Great for:
All cars

In the unfortunate event that someone successfully makes off with your car, a pre-installed car tracker will allow you and the police to monitor its movements, offering the best opportunity to get it back.

Most car trackers use either GPS or Very High Frequency (VHF) technology to track cars, the latter providing a more competent service as it can follow signals underground or into a metal container.

Basic models start from around £30 while the more expensive examples may set you back several hundred pounds. However, the top models usually offer 24-hour tracking support that extends to mainland Europe.

Wheel locks

Great for:
Old cars
Cars with keyless entry systems


A wheel lock may be a bit of a throwback security precaution – a relic from the days of rudimentary car security systems when doors could be unlocked with the back end of a spoon – but they’ve once again found their place on the market with the rise of keyless entry thefts.

Vehicle security systems are far more competent now than they used to be, but as keyless entry thefts have risen sharply, more people are resorting to wheel locks as a last line of defence.

If you own a classic car with a basic security system, poor alarms, or an ineffective immobiliser, we highly recommend investing in a wheel lock. Just the sight of a wheel lock could deter a potential thief from enquiring in your car, or grant you the extra couple of minutes to catch them in the act.

Wheel clamps

Great for:
Campervans and motorhomes

Like wheel locks, wheel clamps may seem a bit antiquated but they’re still nonetheless effective today. Wheel clamps come in different sizes to fit most wheels and range from the quick-fitters to the you’re-going-nowhere wheel nut protection models.

Wheel clamps remain popular among motorhome owners as they can prevent motorhomes from making any unexpected journeys after parking up, with or without anyone onboard.

If you’re interested in picking up a wheel clamp, be sure to check whether your chosen clamp will fit on the wheels of your vehicle as one size does not fit all. For the best protection, make sure you pick a clamp that offers wheel nut cover, lest any thieves just remove the wheel to which your clamp was attached before making off with your car.

Garage Security

If you keep your car in a garage or on an enclosed driveway at night, it’s already safer than it would be on the street. However, that isn’t to say that your car is entirely safe from theft or damage while in the garage.

(Video) Improving Vehicle Security

Any determined thief will make light work of a basic garage security system, so maximize your odds of safety by investing in some additional measures.

Garage door security

To prevent a thief from getting into your garage, start by reinforcing your garage door lock. You may think that your car is safe behind a padlocked garage door, but most standard door locks are easily surmountable, offering little beyond a light deterrent.

As most garage lock upgrades use stronger materials and more inventive methods to keep unwanted people out, consider investing in a new garage door lock for a stronger hold. Alternatively, you could install an additional alarm system to frighten thieves away.

Home CCTV systems

No matter how many security measures are in place, some people can’t relax until they’ve checked up on the contents of their garage. If you’re away from home, this can be difficult, so why not consider a home CCTV system instead?

There are plenty of stick-up monitoring systems you can buy for cheap, but for the best cover, we recommend investing in a set of wired CCTV cameras. Most of the top models offer users the opportunity to monitor their garage contents remotely via an app – great for keeping an eye on things while away.

A home CCTV system will also ensure you have the evidence you need to correctly identify thieves in the event of a break-in. The better the footage, the better chance you’ll have of spotting who’s who, so opt for 4K quality if you can.

Solar security lights

Exterior lighting is a necessary expense to ensure crooks can be correctly identified on home CCTV footage. However, keeping conventional lights on all night can become very expensive, so invest in a set of solar security lights instead.

Solar security lights harness solar energy to keep driveways illuminated, deterring potential thieves from approaching the house while ensuring anyone leaving the house can see where they’re going.

Better yet, solar security light systems feature motion sensors that only switch on when someone is outside.


What should I do if my garage or car is being broken into?

If the break-in is in progress, dial 999. Do not try to apprehend the perpetrators yourself as you may end up getting injured or landing yourself in trouble. Instead, call the police immediately and leave it to the professionals.

(Video) Unlocking Car Security Secrets: The Must-Have Faraday Bag!

If you return home to find that your car has been stolen or your garage raided, dial 101 for the non-emergency response line.

What should I do if I find my car has been broken into?

If you return to your car to find it has been broken into via a smashed window, don’t panic.

Begin by photographing the break-in site along with any other evidence if you can – this may be handy to rely on later in court.

Next, call the police on the non-emergency helpline, 101. Inform the police of what has happened, along with any stolen goods that have been taken from the car. It may be helpful to have your driving license and insurance information to hand first to save you some time.

Once the police have been made aware, contact your insurance company and let them know what’s happened. You might be able to file a claim, but even if your excess exceeds the price of the fix, you must let your insurer know.

Finish by creating a temporary window cover to prevent water from leaking into the car. Start by removing any broken glass with a vacuum cleaner then wrap a thick cloth or towel around your hands to push any glass still in the window frame away.

Cut out a cardboard cover to shape then tape it to the outside of your window frame. This should provide a temporary fix, but we recommend calling either your garage or your dealership as soon as possible to have it fixed professionally.

What should I do if my car has been stolen?

If your car has been stolen, dial 101 and ask to be put through to your local police station. They’ll ask you for your vehicle’s registration number, make, model and colour.

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To read more on car theft, check out the government advice page on what to do if your car has been stolen.


Car security: everything you need to know? ›

Thieves will steal anything valuable, but the most common items stolen from cars tend to be electronics, personal information, and accessories.

What do car thieves look for in a car? ›

Thieves will steal anything valuable, but the most common items stolen from cars tend to be electronics, personal information, and accessories.

What is the #1 most effective active safety device in your car? ›

But today we have seat belts in every seating position of every passenger vehicle. Many tout the three-point seat belt as the single most effective safety measure ever.

What is the #1 safety device in cars? ›

1. Airbags. A car's airbags will deploy in a crash and cushion both the driver and passengers from common impact points, like the steering wheel, dash, and sides of the vehicle.

What stops thieves from stealing cars? ›

Visible devices create a visual threat/warning/deterrence, such as the use of steering-wheel locks, as well as theft-deterrent decals, flashing lights, and window etching. Immobilizing-Type Devices: These prevent thieves from bypassing a vehicle's ignition system and hot-wiring the vehicle.

How do you outsmart car thieves? ›

Protecting your car from theft
  1. Use steering wheel locks or other audible or visual deterrents such as decals, horn alarms, and flashing lights.
  2. Install computer chips in ignition keys or use other immobilizing devices that prevent thieves from starting your car.
Jul 27, 2022

What is the hidden operating space? ›

Hidden Operating Space refers to the area around your car that's impossible to see while you're sitting in the driver's seat. When you're taking your driving lessons, take a moment to recognize the spaces around your car that you don't have visual access to. Think of it as an invisible bubble engulfing your car.

What is the best protection in a car crash? ›

Head restraints

Select a car with a top head restraint and seat rating to prevent whiplash injuries that occur in an event of a rear-end collision. Seat/head restraints that are rated as good by the IIHS have 15 percent fewer accidents resulting from neck injuries than those with poor ratings.

What is the single most effective device for preventing death and injury in a car crash? ›

Seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers. Being buckled up during a crash helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle; being completely ejected from a vehicle is almost always deadly.

Does steering wheel lock prevent theft? ›

A steering wheel lock is a device that hooks onto your steering wheel to make difficult or impossible to operate. Visible anti-theft measures like a steering wheel lock tell thieves that your car will be difficult to take without a lot of noise and effort. More often than not, they'll move on to an easier score.

How do I add more security to my car? ›

  1. Keep your car doors locked and windows closed. ...
  2. Secure your car keys. ...
  3. Park your car in secure areas. ...
  4. Remove valuables from the car. ...
  5. Protect your car's wheels. ...
  6. Activate your car alarm. ...
  7. Install safety devices. ...
  8. Properly insure your vehicle.
May 12, 2021

Where should I keep my car keys at night? ›

To prevent keyless car theft if you have a keyless entry car, we recommend storing your car key fob at night in a signal blocking pouch ( also known as a faraday pouch ) to stop your car key fob signal being received, also place your car keys far away from any doors and windows.

What three things are all vehicles to be equipped with? ›

General requirements. All vehicles shall have a service brake system, an emergency brake system, and a parking brake system.

What are 3 safety devices in a car? ›

Drivers are protected by more car safety features than ever, including airbags, shatter resistant glass, anti-lock brakes, stability control, and more.

What is true of the latest safety technology in newer vehicles? ›

Most New Cars Have Safety Technology That Prevents Crashes, Report Shows. More than 12 major automakers equipped nearly all their 2021 vehicles with automatic emergency braking (AEB), a technology that has been proven to reduce crashes and injuries by stopping or slowing a vehicle if a collision is imminent.

How not to steal your car? ›

Additional Vehicle Theft Prevention Tips
  1. Always lock all of your vehicle's doors and windows after entering and exiting it.
  2. Never leave your vehicle unattended with the engine running, even for a few seconds. Turn off the ignition and take the keys with you.
  3. Vehicle Contents: ...
  4. Invest in anti-theft devices:

What is the most stolen vehicle? ›

These were the 2000 Honda Civic, the 1997 Honda Accord, and the 2007 Toyota Camry. According to the NICB, the number of stolen vehicles in 2021 reached almost a million. That's an 8% increase from 2020 numbers. 14% of all stolen vehicles in 2021 were full-sized pick-ups.

How do cars get stolen without keys? ›

Today's vehicles are key-less and rely on fobs to open, start, and drive away. But criminals are now able to do this without the fob—using a commercially available software tool which can be bought on the open internet.

Where do thieves look in a car? ›

While your glove compartment will hide money or valuable items, they are common spots that thieves will look should they break into your car. In fact, your glove box, the center console, and your sun visors are the three places they will look first.

What are 3 reasons thieves steal cars? ›

Below we outline the top 5 reasons why cars were stolen.
  • Keys Left in Vehicles. Last year, 209 vehicles were stolen every day because the owner left their keys in the car. ...
  • Valuables Left in Plain Sight. ...
  • Newer Vehicles Can be Stolen in Less than 10 Seconds. ...
  • Parking in Areas Without Surveillance. ...
  • Lack of Vehicle Security.

How do thieves steal push to start cars? ›

Key programming

Whether thieves use the relay technique, use a jamming device or simply break a window, once they're inside the car, those vehicles with a start button rather than an ignition key can be simple to steal.

How many zones are there around your car? ›

Vehicle operating space – space surrounding a vehicle that is visible to the driver. There are six areas of space around a vehicle: front left, front, front right, rear left, rear, and rear right.

What side of the car is most likely to get hit? ›

Dangers Of The Passenger Side

While front-end and rear-end collisions are the most common types of traffic collisions, the passenger side is more likely to be hit in a side-impact collision.

What is the safest car in America? ›

According to the IIHS, which is funded by the insurance industry, Toyota and Lexus rack up the most awards, followed by Honda and Acura. Mazda comes in next. Both small SUVs and midsized luxury SUVs take home the most wins, although the list includes vehicles of all types. A Rivian R1T after a front offset crash test.

What is a crush zone in a car? ›

Crumple zones are typically located in the front and rear of a vehicle, and it's designed to crumple or crush upon the impact of a powerful force. Crumple zones transfer some of the vehicle's kinetic energy into a controlled crumpling upon impact while preserving the integrity of the passenger cabin.

What is the safest way to sit in a car crash? ›

The safest position in a car is to sit upright, like you would in a chair. Sit with your feet flat on the floor with your back resting against as much of the seat as possible. Car companies design airbags and other safety features under the assumption that all passengers will sit in an upright position.

What type of vehicle collision is considered the most lethal? ›

By far the deadliest accident type is the head-on collision. Head-on collisions consider both vehicle's speed at the time of the crash, which means even an accident at lower speeds can be catastrophic.

What collision safety devices are the most important? ›

Safety-belt features

While the seatbelt is arguably the single most important piece of safety equipment, enhanced features help seatbelts do their job more effectively. Seatbelt pretensioners instantly retract the belts to take up slack during a frontal impact.

How do thieves bypass steering wheel lock? ›

You can steal a car with a steering wheel lock by removing the lock. Most steering wheel locks can be disabled in under a minute by drilling a hole through the keyhole. The best way to secure your vehicle is to park it in a safe place like a parking garage.

How do you turn wheels to prevent theft? ›

Turn Your Wheels

When you park your car, turn the wheels to a 45-degree angle. This will make it difficult for a thief to get the lug nuts off, because the inner fender will likely be in the way.

Does removing car battery prevent theft? ›

2) foolproof theft prevention. Simply connect this cable to your positive or negative battery terminal, then when you leave your car just remove the green knob and the power is disconnected. Thieves will not be able to start your car.

Are car security systems worth it? ›

But false alarms and lack of bystander action doesn't necessarily mean car alarms are worthless—they're theft deterrents, and if they do in fact deter would-be criminals, they've done their job. Those 99% of activated alarms can be false if thieves don't bother with alarmed cars in the first place.

What extra security can I put on my car? ›

You can do the basics; always make sure your car is locked, never leave valuables on display, try to park in a well-lit area and make it look as empty as possible, but adding an extra level of security such as a wheel lock, smart alarm, or steering lock, may just save your car from becoming a target.

Can a car be broken into without setting off the alarm? ›

You have to open the vehicle [to set off the alarm],” Borges said. He explains most car windows are not connected to the car's security system, which is why no alarm is triggered when glass is shattered. “If I didn't want to set off the alarm, I would just [break the glass], jump over the window, grab and run.

What does wrapping your car keys in foil at night do? ›

Your car waits for a signal from the fob and thieves can grab fob signals. Wrapping the fob in tinfoil decreases the strength of the signal and the range of the fob. This means you'll need to be closer to your car to start it. But it also means potential thieves can't steal the signal from an inconspicuous distance.

Should you leave your key fob in your car? ›

Leaving your car key in your car overnight or even on a hook near the car is not recommended. If the fob is too close to your car, it can continue to communicate with it, which could drain the battery.

What blocks car key signals? ›

When at home, storing keys in a metal-lined “Faraday box” or pouch will block the signal being sent out from your key fob, thus preventing thieves from being able to capture it.

What things should always be carried with you in your vehicle? ›

Things to keep in your car
  • Jumper cables. Don't assume the person who stops to help will have cables. ...
  • Car registration. Chances are it's in your glove compartment, but maybe you removed it to prevent identity theft. ...
  • Owner's manual. ...
  • Flashlight. ...
  • Weather radio. ...
  • Fire extinguisher. ...
  • Multitool. ...
  • Duct tape.

What is the most common thing in all vehicles? ›

The most important part must be the engine. The engine is considered the heart of a vehicle. Along with the engine, the transmission is also one key car part of a car.

Which of the following is required before securing the car? ›

Make sure that you are stopped within a legal and secure parking space. Set the parking brake. Put the car gear in park for automatic transmission. For manual transmission put the car either in first or reverse gear.

What are 5 common safety devices? ›

Face masks, goggles, dust masks, respirators, hearing protection, proper gloves for specific tasks, ventilation devices for airflow, and dust collectors are recommended.

What is the perfect crash? ›

The "Perfect" Crash

Surviving a crash is all about kinetic energy. When your body is moving at 35 mph (56 kph), it has a certain amount of kinetic energy. After the crash, when you come to a complete stop, you will have zero kinetic energy.

How are thieves getting into my car? ›

Some popular methods used by car thieves include signal amplification and relaying, code grabbing, and radio-frequency jamming. Signal amplification involves intercepting the key fob's signal and amplifying it, allowing the thief to access the car from a distance.

How do thieves steal cars without keys? ›

An increasingly prevalent method employed by thieves involves the use of relay devices. In this approach, one thief aims the relay device at the front door of a residence, where proximity keys are often left. The device then transmits the key's signal to an accomplice near the driver's door of the vehicle.

What state has the most car thieves? ›

Top 10 States With The Most Number Of Motor Vehicle Thefts, 2021-2022
RankState2022 (1)
6 more rows

Where do thieves look first? ›

The main bedroom is known as the most common place for valuables to be kept, which is why it's often the first port of call for the burglar on the lookout for cash. They'll look for cash in cupboards, drawers, under the mattress and also in those places you thought they'd never look, like shoe boxes or vases.

How far can a car go without the key fob? ›

How far can a keyless car drive without the key? Generally speaking, there's no limit to the distance a vehicle with keyless entry and start can go without the keyfob being in the car. The vehicle will often just beep without the key present.

How do thieves copy key fobs? ›

What is key signal cloning? Keyless cars unlock automatically when their key is physically close to the car. Smart criminals are using relay devices to make car systems believe a key is nearby by cloning its signal. They intercept and then relay the signal from the car key using two receiver/transmitters.

Do car thieves have a master key? ›

Just as it sounds, a master car key can open the doors and start the ignition on multiple vehicles. This type of key is reserved for automobile professionals and locksmiths, but there is also a criminal element. Car thieves are well-known for possessing master car keys and use them in the commission of stealing cars.

What's the easiest car to steal? ›

Thieves steal the car in mere seconds, and that's especially true given that about 52,244 units disappeared in a single year quite recently. This makes the Honda Accord the easiest car to break into, according to the numbers.

What makes a car hard to steal? ›

Make your car harder to steal by adding a steering wheel lock, tire lock, or brake lock—or all three. You can also install a hidden kill switch to confuse anyone who tries to steal your car. They're likely to give up when the car won't turn on.

What is the easiest car to steal with a shaved key? ›

For example, Toyota, Honda and Saturn vehicles between the model years of 1980 and 2000 are the most common ones taken using shaved keys. These earlier model cars and trucks used very similar ignition systems, making them easily defeated with the use of a shaved key.

Are keyless cars easier to steal? ›

– Reprogram your Keys

There are some car manufacturers that have introduces key fobs that work with a motion sensor. Others provide a Faraday bag. While keyless entry makes it easier for the car owner to get into their vehicle, it also allows thieves to do the same.


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