Tech All Car Owners Need to Stop Thieves
Most people lock their car when they leave, but few take additional security measures.
03:06 01 August 2022
Data security? Check. Home security? All set. But have you taken care of vehicle security? Most people lock their car when they leave, but few take additional security measures.
In reality, however, a locked car door really isn’t enough of a deterrent for thieves. People who want to get into a car will find a way around a locked door.
So, how can you protect your vehicle? What other ways are there to protect your car when you aren’t around?
The world we live in today provides drivers with several different options to protect their vehicle and make sure they have a way of getting it back if something unfortunate happens. The options for car security include both low-tech and high-tech ways to combat auto theft. The short answer is to invest in a vehicle recovery system.
But few people really know what that system is. So, what is a vehicle recovery system, what are the advantages, and how does it stop car thieves?
Technology in Cars
Modern cars are evolving every year. New technologies and systems are used to make driving more efficient, enjoyable, and safe. There are even driverless cars that take much of the driving functions out of the hands of humans all together.
Not everyone is driving these new cars, however. Even without the advantage of driverless technology, modern cars are full of safety features, like vehicle recovery system.
What is a vehicle recovery system?
The first place to start is to define a vehicle recovery system. What does that term mean?
A vehicle recovery system and anti-theft recovery system include any device or feature on a vehicle that makes it easier to track and find that vehicle once it has been stolen. Many cars today come with a few of these features built in, but there are additional devices that can be purchased and used to modify your vehicle’s anti-theft system.
The vehicle recovery system becomes a system when a number of features work together to protect the vehicle. More often than not, a vehicle will have more than a single device or feature.
How does a vehicle recovery system work?
Just having these features and devices isn’t enough. A driver needs to know and understand how these things help protect and recover their vehicle in the event of theft.
Depending on the device in question, these systems will do one of two things. In some cases, a recovery system will render a vehicle inoperable. A thief will attempt to steal the vehicle, but it won’t start or move. In other cases, a car can be stolen and moved, but the recovery system transmits a signal so that a lost vehicle can be found.
What does a vehicle recovery system include?
So this system is a combination of devices and features meant to stop a thief from stealing your vehicle or help in the recovery process after a vehicle is stolen. That’s a solid understanding of the functional aspects, but what are the specific features or devices?
Perhaps the most common or most well-known anti-theft feature is the car alarm. Most people have heard a car alarm blaring in a packed parking lot, and that’s the goal. The purpose of the car alarm is to draw attention.
If a thief is attempting to steal a car, the last thing they want is attention. So the point of a car alarm is to stop a car theft from progressing any further. Whether it’s a broken window or a trip door lock, if a car alarm starts, a car thief will usually move along without taking the vehicle.
Sometimes, because they are so commonplace and often set off accidentally, car alarms aren’t enough. Car alarms can be so common, in fact, that people will simply click a button on their key fob to turn them off without thinking or checking on their vehicles.
Car thieves can quickly deactivate an alarm or feel confident in their ability to keep going without being interrupted.
Steering Wheel Lock Bar
Another feature of a vehicle recovery system is a steering wheel lock bar. This is an after-market, low-tech option for people concerned about their vehicle’s safety.
The lock bar is a long piece of metal that simply slides over a vehicle’s steering wheel. The idea is that this piece of metal makes a car inoperable. The bar is long enough on one side that it hits the driver’s side door, making it impossible to turn at all.
With a lock bar, thieves may get into a vehicle, but they can’t do any more damage. The car will remain in the same spot and the driver won’t have to worry about recovering a stolen car.
The advantages of this piece of safety equipment are many. It’s made of tough, hardened steel so it can’t easily be cut and removed. It’s collapsible so it can be easily stored without taking up too much space. These bars are also low-tech, simple to operate, and cost-effective.
The biggest disadvantage, however, is its operation or simple existence. The process to put it on isn’t too burdensome, but its removal can be. Drivers who use lock bars can find it tiring to unlock, release, and remove this device every time they want to drive their vehicle. When this happens, drivers often become complacent and simply stop using the lock bar altogether.
A kill switch is meant to “kill” a vehicle when it’s being stolen. These switches can detect when a car is being started without a car, also known as being hot wired. Thieves who attempt to steal vehicles fitted with these devices will cause the fuel or electrical system to shut down. The car will be rendered useless.
Drivers who have kill switch features simply punch in a code or use a specialized plastic key to deactivate it and drive away. This functionality is relatively simple, but it is the main disadvantage. Drivers can find it annoying or cumbersome to complete an extra step just to start their car.
But it does have its advantages. Kill switches are relatively inexpensive to buy and install, and they keep your vehicle from being stolen. A thief can break in, but they will be unable to actually remove the car from its parking space.
Another locking option is a brake lock, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. A brake lock is a small device attached to the brake pedal of your vehicle. The device makes it impossible to depress the brake without removing the locking device. This makes it impossible to start the vehicle itself.
The only way for a thief to remove a brake lock is to cut the brake line itself. This is a less than favorable option, considering the vehicle would be next to impossible to drive, not to mention wildly unsafe.
Again, this device is affordable and simple to use. The biggest and possibly only downside is the action of removing the device. Drivers simply find it more of a hassle to remove a brake lock every time they need to drive.
A tracking device, often called a LoJack, is the high-tech option for deterring car thieves. A tracking device can simply be made to transmit a signal once a vehicle is stolen.
In some cases, these devices have communication features. These companies, like OnStar, have individuals who can communicate with a driver in the case of an emergency and dispatch emergency vehicles.
These companies can also remotely deactivate a car. If a car is reported stolen with a tracking device onboard, then the manufacturer of the device can stop the car from functioning while authorities respond to its location.
These features are helpful. In some instances, seeing these devices can be enough to stop a theft. The downside, however, is that these features can be expensive. Many cars don’t come equipped with this device or functionality, so it’s something that drivers will have to pay for out of pocket.
Vehicle Recovery Systems and Car Insurance
Smart technology is everywhere. There are even advancements being made in public transportation with Smart buses and shelters. Personal vehicles are created and designed to keep drivers and passengers safe while also cutting insurance costs.
A vehicle recovery system offers drivers peace of mind and an extra layer of help in the event of a vehicle theft. These devices and features offer a little bit more than that as well. In the case of cheap car insurance, vehicle recovery systems can save you money.
Many car insurance providers offer discounts for vehicles that are equipped with these devices or features. The discount may not save you hundreds of dollars a year on car insurance, but they will save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars in damages.
Laura Gunn is an insurance expert who writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, 4AutoInsuranceQuote.com. She is passionate about drivers protecting their vehicles.