Car security tips
As you're jetting off on holiday, you might not give too much thought to car security. But whether you leave the car at home or an airport car park, be aware that it and its contents are vulnerable to thieves. Here are a few tips to keep your car safe, or at very least, a little less inviting to an opportunistic thief...
1. Park at airport parking – more secure (CCTV, patrols, lighting, fencing, barriers)
Taking your car to the airport is often easier than loading suitcases onto the train, and can be cheaper than taxis. Airport parking is convenient, and depending on your budget, you can get incredibly close to the terminal. JetParks offers CCTV, secure fencing and regular patrols, ensuring your car is in safe hands.
2. Book airport parking in advance to ensure a parking spot.
Booking your airport parking in advance will not only ensure you get a space, but it'll be cheaper than arriving on the day. When booking with JetParks, you can book online quickly and cheaply. You’ll also save money*
3. Fit a number of security measures such as; an immobiliser, an alarm, steering wheel, gear stick, handbrake and wheel locks.
Make your car openly difficult to steal, and passing thieves will give it a wide berth; steering wheel locks are a very visual deterrent, as are handbrake/gearstick locks. Immobilisers have been fitted to new cars as a mandatory measure in many countries from the late 1990s, and this small electronic deterrent has drastically cut down the number of 'hot-wired' car thefts. If you drive an old car, retrofitting an immobiliser is a relatively cheap way of keeping your insurance costs low.
4. Remove all valuables from your car such as radios, CDs and sat navs, to reduce temptation.
Opportunist thieves will take extraordinary risks to grab valuables that might be left on show in your car. If you use a portable Sat Nav, be sure to take it with you when you park up, as that dashboard-mounted cradle might tempt a passing thief into smashing a window to grab what he can. If you have a radio with a removable fascia, remember to actually remove it!
5. Get windows and mirrors etched.
Etching and marking won't stop your car from being stolen, but both provide some peace of mind that it might be recovered in the event of it going missing. Etching the car's VIN (Vehicle Identity Number) on the windows, mirrors and headlights, or even marking using an invisible ultra-violet pen are both highly recommended.
6. Install a tracking system – just in case all else fails.
Trackers are the best way of recovering your car if it is stolen. They can be expensive to install, and pay for on a monthly subscription basis, but fit the right one, and your car can be recovered, even if it leaves the country. GPS-based trackers will work if your car is at street-level, but the more expensive VHF systems will mean your car can be found, even if it’s hidden in a secure container or underground.
7. Get a tamper proof tax disc holder.
You may not even consider that tax disc theft occurs, but thousands are stolen each year, to be altered and used in stolen vehicles as an easy way of appearing legitimate. You'll end up with a smashed window and the hassle of dealing with the DVLA to replace the tax disc, but there's an easy solution: pick up a secure tax disc holder. Essentially a double-sided sticker, you stick the tax disc to it, and then the whole thing to your windscreen. If anyone tries to pull the tax disc from the sticky holder, it'll tear and render it useless.
8. Don’t broadcast where you’re leaving your car on the internet.
It's easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit, and all that excitement could lead to you telling everyone about your trip on Facebook or Twitter. Be aware that you're telling potential thieves that your house and car might be left unattended. If you are leaving your car at home, don't leave the keys within easy reach of the letter box or in the hallway!
9. Look for a park mark award scheme.
When choosing airport parking, look out for car parks registered with the Park Mark scheme. A joint initiative with the police and many major car park companies, the scheme provides peace of mind to customers that a car park has been risk assessed by the police and is deemed secure. Park with an accredited company, like JetParks, and avoid the horror stories of cars being returned damaged or with hundreds of extra miles on the clock.
10. Ensure your windows are fully wound up.
When you're leaving your car behind it’s easy to forget the little things like winding up your windows, and double checking you've locked the doors. You might accidentally knock the electric window switch or if you have kids in the back, they might kick the window handle. Just a small opening is enough to encourage a passing car thief.
*subject to availability.