In these tough financial times most folks need vacations more than ever. As well, they also want to save a lot of money. One economical solution is taking the family car and driving to and from your holiday destination instead of flying there.
If you are planning to drive, it may also make sense to take a few steps to protect yourself and family from auto thieves. Having a car thief steal your car, your luggage, other items of value in your trunk could really wreck what was supposed to be a fun filled and relaxing trip.
Even if you take all of the numerous precautions to prevent auto theft when you travel, very determined professional car thieves can still manage to steal any vehicle if they want it badly enough. Can you remember the car theft action movie Gone In 60 Seconds starring Nicolas Cage? However, you can still dramatically reduce the odds of becoming a victim of auto theft to almost zero.
Many of these auto theft preventative measures are common sense and cost nothing to do. So it might make sense to implement them not only when you travel by car on your holidays, but also in your every day driving.
To start with, you should never take for granted that you are immune from car thieves when traveling, or that your vehicle would not really be worth stealing.
Keep in mind that thieves might be after more than your vehicle, luggage, or any valuables that might be inside your vehicle. They might only want an older car to take a joy ride in or for its parts.
They may also be after your vehicle documents for identity theft purposes, or they could be thinking of robbing your residence while you are away on vacation. Where would they get this important information? From the vehicle registration and auto insurance papers which are usually conveniently located in the glove compartment.
The best solution is to eliminate this possibly by keeping these documents on your person at all times when traveling on holidays.
The second best way is to reduce the problem by hiding these documents really well in the trunk. Some police forces in high auto theft crime areas of cities recommend this. Don’t forget to tell everyone who is traveling with you where these documents are located in the trunk.
Here are some more ways you can lessen the chances of having your holidays wrecked by car thieves. If you can manage to implement some of these suggestions, you will really lessen the chance of becoming a victim of auto theft when you travel.
Make sure you always shut you cars windows tightly and lock your car on every occasion you leave it parked, even if it is only for a minute or two.
A real invitation to lose your vehicle is to leave it idling and unattended. You should never, never do it. Not even for even a minute.
Similarly, you should not leave your vehicles keys in the ignition or hidden anywhere in car. That also includes a second set of keys. Professional car thieves can easily find any keys hidden in the usual places very quickly. Keep an extra set of keys on your person.
Don’t leave any valuables in your vehicle, even if they can not be seen from the outside of your car. If possible, take them with you.
However, if you have no choice but to leave valuables in your vehicle, at least make sure that they are locked inside your trunk. When you do this, check first and look around to make sure that nobody is watching, or better still, stop, pull over, and put them in your trunk before you arrive at your intended destination. Prying eyes can be anywhere.
When parking in public areas, turn you vehicles front wheels either to the left or right before you turn your ignition off. This engages the steering wheel lock in the steering wheel column and can make your vehicle a little more difficult to take.
You should always engage the emergency brake after you have parked and turned the motor off. This may also make your vehicle harder to tow away.
For front wheel and rear wheel drive vehicles you should park them a bit differently when in underground parking. Front wheel drive cars should be parked nose in and rear wheel drive ones, nose out. Then turn your tires to the right or left. Again, this may make your auto harder to tow away.
Its always best to park in an attendant controlled parking lot rather than an unattended one. If it is a place where there is valet parking, only give the attendant your door and ignition key. They don’t need any of the other keys on your key chain.
In public places at dusk and at night, always park in a well lighted area that has a lot of pedestrian traffic. Keep in mind that most auto thieves prefer to work under the cover of darkness.
If you can, avoid parking near or next to any obstruction, such as a hedge, fence, large truck, or anything that blocks a clear view of your vehicle to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
When you stay in a place that has gated, secured parking, make sure that the gate has completely closed after entering or leaving so that a thief doesn’t sneak in to the parking area where you’re staying.
If you observe any suspicious activity like a person or group of people milling around or near your vehicle you should call the police.
Here are some anti-theft devices that you can install for maximum protection. You may already have a few of these products installed in your vehicle.
You can use a very visible after-market steering wheel locking bar. Most car thieves will likely move on to easier prey/greener pastures. Other less visible after-market products are locks for gas pedals, brake pedals, as well as armored collars that fit around the steering column which protects the ignition. For any manual shift vehicles you can also use an after-market shifter lock. These are effective but not highly visible to prying eyes.
Another thing that you can do is get your mechanic to install a hood lock that will prevent easy access to your vehicles battery as well as its security system.
A loud vehicle alarm system and a highly visible alarm sticker on your windshield is worth its weight in gold especially when its combined with the addition of some of the other anti-theft security options.
The best vehicle protection is a passive electronic immobilizer which disables the motor when you turn off the ignition. Its not an inexpensive device to have installed but its well worth it for your peace of mind. There are other benefits you may receive when you install an electronic immobilizer in your car. Some auto insurance companies will offer a discount on your policy if you can show documentation that you’ve had one installed. You also could get more money for your vehicle if you decide to sell it down the road.
Last, but not least, check to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage on your vehicle including theft and damage before you travel by car on any vacation.