You may think car security devices are a thing of the past. After all, less than 100,000 cars a year are stolen in the UK, a sixth of the number being taken illegally in the car-crime ridden 1990s. But a new breed of technically-savvy car thief is on the prowl.
They’re able to hack supposedly sophisticated electronic security systems in seconds meaning increasing numbers of new cars being ‘stolen to order’ by organised criminal gangs. Last month, the UK’s 10 most stolen cars were revealed by Tracker, a maker of car security devices. But even if your car isn’t on that list it could be vulnerable. The answer is to fit additional security. There’s a wide range on the market but only a limited number are recognised as being effective by the insurance industry. Here are the ones its official tester, Thatcham Research, recommends…
Car security devices: Disklok
Big enough to envelop the steering wheel and bright enough (it’s canary yellow coloured) to ward off thieves, the Disklok has a reputation for being the toughest car security device available.
It fits to a car’s steering wheel, encasing it completely so it’s difficult for thieves to lever off. It also spins on the steering wheel, helping prevent thieves damaging the car’s steering lock mechanism. It costs from £99.99.
Incidentally, the Disklok came about after its inventor had his prized Ford Escort RS Turbo stolen by joyriders and then burnt out. When the same thing happened to the Escort RS Turbo he replaced it with, he decided enough was enough.
Car security devices: Stoplock Pro
The Stoplock Pro is another device that fits to a car’s steering wheel. It’s not as robust as the Disklok and can’t prevent thieves attacking the steering wheel itself. But it’s still a deterrent for villains and costs £49.99.
Car security devices: PedalBox
The PedalBox takes a different approach to the previous two. It shields the car’s pedals in a steel box with a lockable lid so it can’t be driven until the guard is removed. It’s really aimed at van drivers but the slight downside to this is that it’s out of sight and may not be as effective a visual deterrent as the Disklok or Stoplock Pro. It costs £131.25 for a version that fits the latest Range Rover, amongst others.
Car security devices: Trackers
A vehicle tracking system may seem a bit Big Brother to some. But those who’ve had to rely on one will swear by them. An authorized engineer will fit a transponder unit to your car. These then send out signals using GSM, GPS or VHF. They are hidden so only owners know they’re there. And depending on the product you buy, it can automatically alert the tracking company if the car is moved without the key or a security card being present – such as being hiked onto a flat-bed truck. Alternatively, the owner may have to notify the police and tracking company when they realise their car has been stolen.
Look for a system that is approved by Thatcham, works across Europe, and uses VHF technology that enables police to follow a stolen car’s movements. A security card that identifies the driver is preferable too as it provides an extra line of defence should a thief break into your house and steal the car’s keys. Reputable brands include Tracker, SmarTrack, Vodafone CobraTrack , and Teletrac Trackstar .