Cars are becoming more advanced, but they’re not necessarily more difficult to steal — technology is merely forcing thieves to learn new tricks. If you routinely leave your vehicle in an area known for crime, we suggest taking a handful of basic measures to protect it and the belongings you leave inside. An anti-theft device isn’t always cheap, but it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ll find your car where you left it.
Here are the best vehicle anti-theft devices for 2020.
Steering wheel lock
Steering wheel locks are one of the oldest and best-known theft prevention devices on the market today. A steering wheel lock attaches to the steering wheel of the car to lock it in place, preventing someone from driving away. There are two main styles for this lock. The first goes across the steering wheel horizontally and attaches to the wheel at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. On one side the lock extends farther, preventing the wheel from turning very far. The second style attaches to the top of the wheel with the end extending over the front dash to prevent the wheel from turning. The Club is one of the most popular models.
You have probably seen these used by police if a car is parked illegally, but they are also useful as an anti-theft device. If you have space in your trunk, a tire lock (or boot) is a great way to prevent a carjacking. This is only feasible if you are parking your car for an extended amount of time, though. It just doesn’t make sense to attach a boot every time you stop to fill up your tank or run into your favorite coffee shop for a double espresso. This also won’t prevent anyone from breaking in and stealing things, so continue locking your doors.
Video cameras are great deterrents, as would-be thieves don’t want to be caught on film breaking into your car. Unfortunately, cameras can be expensive and may not be able to show you a real-time picture of what’s happening. Baby monitors are great for this purpose because they’re mostly affordable, can transmit pictures, and can run on a separate battery to keep them off of your vehicle’s power supply.
One of the more advanced anti-theft devices is the kill switch. It works by disrupting the flow of electricity to the fuel pump or other critical systems. This interruption makes it impossible to start the car without flicking the switch. A thief needs to finish his robbery quickly, so anything that makes his task more challenging will encourage him to move on to the next car.
It’s best to hide the kill switch out of view, like under your dashboard, for maximum effectiveness. Kill switches can be difficult to install, so we recommend doing this only if you or a friend has advanced knowledge of your vehicle’s wiring systems.
Electronic tracking system
Don’t underestimate the power of desperation: It can make a thief do whatever it takes to steal your car. Sometimes this means loading it onto a trailer and hauling it elsewhere. In cases like this, stopping the theft may not be possible, but using a GPS means you can track your vehicle and find it later.
Choosing an electronic tracking system means you can find your vehicle no matter where the thief takes. Police officers find this feature especially helpful. The best news is that many of these trackers come with low monthly service fees.