Tips to reduce the risk of vehicle crime
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.
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.