Tips to re­duce the risk of ve­hi­cle crime

Eyethu Baywatch - - MOTORING • EZEZIMOTO - Val van der Walt

Ve­hi­cle crime is ris­ing with crim­i­nals con­stantly com­ing up with new meth­ods of steal­ing ve­hi­cles, break­ing into cars and hi­jack­ing mo­torists.

How can you, the ve­hi­cle owner, min­i­mize your chances of be­com­ing the vic­tim of auto theft in its var­i­ous forms?

Au­todealer has the fol­low­ing ad­vice and tips:

Never leave your car run­ning while unat­tended

Not when open­ing or clos­ing a gate, or when load­ing or of­fload­ing peo­ple or goods in town.

Get into the habit of al­ways turn­ing the en­gine off and re­mov­ing the keys from the ig­ni­tion.

Al­ways lock your car’s doors

If your car’s doors don’t au­to­mat­i­cally lock af­ter start­ing to move, make a point of man­u­ally lock­ing them be­fore pull-away.

It should be a rou­tine like clip­ping in the seat belt.

Be­fore leav­ing a parked car, whether it’s at the mall or at home in the yard or even in the garage overnight, lock the doors and feel if they are locked be­fore walk­ing away.

Store keys and spare keys out of plain sight

Your car’s spare keys should prefer­ably be kept in a safe and the set in use should ei­ther be in your pocket or, when at home, placed where they can­not be seen by passers by.

Es­pe­cially at night, keys should be kept well away from win­dows.

Use the in­built steer­ing lock

Ev­ery car’s steer­ing locks when the key is not in the ig­ni­tion and turned slightly.

Lock the steer­ing in this way when­ever the car is unat­tended, even overnight in the garage.

It’s one more ob­sta­cle thieves have to over­come when they want your wheels.

In­stall a cut switch

Those with cars out of the man­u­fac­turer’s war­ranty can have a se­cret switch in­stalled, which cuts power to the en­gine.

While an ex­cel­lent pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure, al­ter­ing the electrics will void the war­ranty.

On older, out-of-war­ranty ve­hi­cles, have the switch fit­ted by a qual­i­fied auto elec­tri­cian.

In­vest in a track­ing de­vice

A track­ing de­vice is an ab­so­lute must if you drive any bakkie or one of the pas­sen­ger cars pop­u­lar with thieves.

To take the sting out of the ini­tial cost of the de­vice and the monthly sub­scrip­tion, ask your in­sur­ance com­pany to lower your pre­mium.

Af­ter in­stalling the de­vice, save the track­ing com­pany’s num­ber on your phone for im­me­di­ate ac­cess.

Hav­ing your car washed

Some peo­ple nowa­days drop their ve­hi­cles off at a car wash or a valet ser­vice, only to fetch them later when the job is done.

Only use a rep­utable car wash for which the safety of cus­tomers’ car is a pri­or­ity.

Even so, re­move valu­ables and find out from your in­sur­ance whether you will be com­pen­sated in the case of any­thing go­ing miss­ing while not un­der your con­trol.

Keep doc­u­ments safe

Never drive around with the car’s orig­i­nal log­book on­board.

Those be­long at home and in a safe place.

Keep the ve­hi­cle’s reg­is­tra­tion num­ber and VIN stored in your phone or writ­ten down on a card kept in your wal­let, for in case your car gets stolen and you need that info in a hurry.

Lock those mags

Many a Zu­l­u­land res­i­dent has stood stranded with a car miss­ing one or some­times all wheels.

In most cases it’s just for the scarp value alu­minium mags have.

Buy a set of ‘lock nuts’ and put one on ev­ery wheel.

Bakkie and SUV own­ers must ‘lock’ the spare wheel as well.

Com­mon sense

We live in a coun­try where crime is rife, but just by ap­ply­ing some ev­ery­day com­mon sense will greatly re­duce the risk of be­com­ing another statis­tic.

Avoid iso­lated ar­eas and parts of town with a high crime rate.

Don’t leave valu­ables ly­ing on the seats in open view.

Make dou­ble sure your car is locked ev­ery time you leave it unat­tended.

These are repet­i­tive tips, but im­por­tant and will save you many hours of mis­ery and a lot of money.

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