How to keep your car safe

Written by AMT Team

6 December, 2019

Although cars and their security systems continue to develop, vehicle theft remains one of the most commonly reported crimes in the UK. According to Home Office figures, 111,999 cars were stolen in 2017-18, representing a 48.7% increase in vehicle thefts compared to five years ago. Thieves are utilising more advanced methods to remotely steal cars than ever before, meaning it’s more important than ever to keep your car safe.

Recently, there’s been an influx of cases where thieves have stolen a car using relay transmitters. This is when two people working together use relay boxes that they’ve purchased online. These boxes capture the signal from a key, which could simply be sat on the kitchen counter, and pass it to a second relay box which then uses the signal to unlock the car. Alternatively, some thieves may use a jammer to intercept the signal between the key fob and the car when the owner is locking it remotely, leaving the car unlocked and vulnerable to theft. 

 

However, there are steps you can take to prevent car theft and keep your motor safe. Read this guide to see the best way to secure your car at night, the steps you can take to deter thieves and what to do if your car is stolen.

How to keep your car safe

Although it may seem obvious, it’s important to make sure that you always lock your car when you leave it and double check that it’s actually secure before walking away. Some cars may use an audible or visual signal to indicate that it’s locked, while others will lower pins on the inside of the window. Making sure that all doors and the boot are secure is the only way to be sure that a thief hasn’t planted a jammer nearby to prevent your car from locking. Some of the ways you can keep your car safe are:

  1. Keep your keys safe. Never leave your car unlocked with the keys in the ignition, even if you’re just running into the house, paying for petrol, leaving the engine running to demist windows or waiting for a friend on the street.
  2. Hide your valuables. Don’t leave anything of value visible in your car. Make sure you either take expensive items and personal information with you when you leave the vehicle, or ensure it’s hidden in the glovebox or boot.
  3. Invest in tech. If you own a luxury car, you may want to consider investing in a tracker that will alert you when anyone starts the engine. You could also install an alarm that detects motion or fit a steering lock. 
  4. Show signs of security. If you have invested in a car alarm, immobiliser or tracker, don’t be afraid to install them where they can be seen by passersby. This may be the difference between a thief deciding to try your car and not wanting to push their luck. 
  5. Lock your car manually. If you can’t be sure whether your key fob is definitely securing your car, consider locking it manually. This will prevent thieves from cloning your keys wireless signal or potentially blocking it. Alternatively, you may wish to invest in a secure pouch to protect the fob’s remote signal. 
  6. Install security cameras. If you park your car outside your home, you should invest in a professional security system that includes outdoor cameras and motion detector lights. This will further deter thieves from targeting your car.
  7. Remove your stereo. As well as removing any valuable personal items, you should remove your stereo and sat-nav if it’s detachable, or conceal it if there’s a flap or cover.
  8. Secure your wheels. Although they may not seem like the obvious target of theft, alloy wheels can prove valuable when removed from your car. Protect them with locking wheel nuts which can only be detached with the correct key.

One of the key factors that affects the safety of your car is where you choose to park it at night. Although parking securely at home means you can keep an eye on your car and benefit from lower insurance premiums, there are still additional steps you should take to ensure your car is safe. Park as close to the house as possible, ideally in an area that can be clearly seen from your windows or by your neighbours. You should also drive forwards into your driveway or garage, as having to reverse will deter thieves looking to make a quick getaway.

If you do have to park in a car park, make sure that you park close to other cars to make it more likely that an attempted theft will be exposed to passers-by. If you’re leaving your car on a main road, try to park it beneath streetlights in clear view, or park in front of a large window if parking outside of a restaurant.


If you’re in two minds whether to invest in tech like engine immobilisers, alarms and trackers, it may help to know that increasing your car’s security can help keep car insurance premiums low. Immobilisers have been compulsory in new cars since October 1998 and work by only allowing your car to start with the correct key or fob. The higher the level of security you have, the more difficult your car is to steal, and so the safer an insurance provider therefore believes your car to be. You can take a look at our handy guide for more tips on keeping car insurance low.

What to do if your car is stolen

If you suspect that your car has been stolen, the first thing you need to do is call the police. Dial 101 and ask to speak to your local police, who will ask you for your vehicle’s registration number, make, model and colour. They will then provide you with a crime reference number which you’ll need when speaking to your insurance company or lease provider. It’s crucial to ring the police as soon as possible after a theft has occured, as it will prevent the car getting too far away to track, and stops you being held responsible for any speeding tickets or unpaid fuel bills thieves may incur.

when your insurance company pays out. If your lease your car, make sure to call the company to let them know that the car is no longer in your possession and keep them updated on the case. Make sure to notify the police if you’ve invested in a tech-based auto recovery tool, as this could considerably speed up the time it takes to find your car.

In summary...

Preventing car theft can seem like a major undertaking, particularly if you own a prestigious model and often have to leave your vehicle unattended. However, it’s important to take every step you can to keep your car safe – not only to protect the vehicle, but to ensure you can continue commuting as normal and keep your insurance premiums low. 


At AMT, we’re committed to providing a service that’s tailored to you. If you want to find your ideal lease car, contact our dedicated team today to discuss your lease requirements on 0113 387 4241.

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