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How to reduce the chance of a vehicle break-in

With the warmer weather you’re likely to be travelling places and leaving your car unattended in different locations. You’ll probably have things with you – road trip paraphernalia. If your car gets broken into, it’s often more expensive to claim on your insurance. Here’s how to reduce the chances that your car will get broken into.

  • Never leave anything visible in your car, especially not high-value items like sat nav units and the faceplate of your stereo. Don’t think that by covering something with a jacket that it will protect it – the jacket itself is probably worth stealing as even quite small items can be quickly turned into cash on the black market or on online trading sites. If you have to leave something in the car, put it in the boot or glovebox and make sure your boot blind/parcel tray effectively hides it if you have an estate or hatchback.
  • If you are worried that people might see you put things in your boot, stop a couple of miles before your destination and put them away, then when you get to where you’ll park the car, you’ll just be able to lock it and leave it, which won’t arouse the curiosity of opportunistic thieves.
  • Park in a busy, well-lit open area, preferably in a building or area with a security guard. You can make it more difficult for thieves by parking the passenger side very close to a wall – this means they can’t hide the other side of your car and break in.
  • Always lock your car when you leave it. This includes when it’s in your driveway. You don’t need to lock it if it’s in a locked garage, but don’t leave the keys in the car. Make sure the windows are fully up. Note that you should not leave a dog in your car if the weather is above around 16 degrees Celsius, and you should never leave a child unattended in a car.
  • When you stop at a petrol station to fill up with fuel always lock your car and take your keys with you unless there’s someone else in the car.
  • Take anything of high value with you – house keys, wallet, laptops, cellphones.
  • Learn where your car’s storage areas are – some cars have storage trays under the front seat that are often forgotten by owners, and overlooked by thieves (but don’t bet on the second one – it’s only if you absolutely have to leave something). If you leave something in the glovebox, lock the glovebox. While glovebox locks are not that strong, they’ll deter a thief who wants to be quick, especially if your alarm is going off.
  • Fit an alarm and immobiliser. This might not prevent a smash-and-grab, but then you’re not stupid enough to leave things visible, right!?
  • Fit a wheel lock as it’s a visual deterrent to thieves.
  • Avoid cars with small quarterlight windows (small triangular windows in the back doors) as these are easy to break silently and provide a thief easy access through your rear door.
  • Let your neighbours know if your car has been broken into as thieves will often target cars in the same street.

If this guy is trying to break in, probably best to leave him to it:


Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.

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