Luxury car owners can never catch a break. Having all eyes on you is one of the perks of owning a luxury car– and I bet it feels good. The trouble is, however, some of those eyes belong to thieves and carjackers, looking for a new mark.
Modern-day thieves are decidedly more sophisticated, always on the lookout for expensive cars – and classic cars top their list. When it comes to the security of their car, classic car owners struggle with a myriad of problems; a lack of built-in safety measures, and outdated safety components that turn their cars to prime targets for theft.
In a perfect world, the rising value of classic cars would make owners happy. However, it only makes their beloved cars even more attractive to criminals. One thing is for sure– classic car theft is on the rise–and it only makes sense to take extraordinary measures to safeguard against it.
Vehicles built between the 1950s and 1980s seem to be the favorite targets of thieves, across the UK in the last few years. Statistics from the Home Office show that classic car theft rates are rapidly climbing. Hundreds of vintage cars are stolen in the UK every year, and the authorities can recover only a meager 5% of these vehicles. Experts believe that organized gangs are responsible for the majority of these car thefts.
There is also a specific reason why these cars are being targeted as often as they do. While modern cars are mostly stolen for their parts, classic cars are picked up when there is a buyer in line. Classic car thieves have extensive knowledge of how to replace VINs and other identification markers –making them more savvy and dangerous than the average criminal.
Luckily, we live in an age where security and insurance companies constantly develop new devices and methods to enhance car security. These advanced tools, combined with a few simple tips, can greatly increase your chances against experienced thieves.
Now, let’s take a look at these security measures in detail.
- High-End Alarm Systems
Most people are inclined to think car alarms are useless, and only add to the prevailing noise pollution. However, high-end car alarm systems make a significant difference regarding car safety and security. The main objective of a car alarm is to draw attention to your vehicle during an attempt at theft, more often than not scaring away the thieves. Nothing sends a message quite like a bunch of flashing lights and ear piercing sounds.
- Secured Parking and Garages
A person’s parking habits play a big role in the overall security of their car. Classic cars are most vulnerable when they are parked for the night. A vehicle with several security systems in place already presents a nearly insurmountable challenge for potential thieves, but when you throw a locked garage into the mix, you pretty much guarantee the safety of your car. No matter how adept or prepared a car thief is, stealing a well-protected car from a locked space would prove a tough mountain to climb.
- Keep Locks and Keys Secure
Classic or not, one of the most common mistakes vehicles owners to make, is leaving their car keys in the ignition, or a visible spot in an unlocked car. It is important to keep your car keys hidden or on your person at all times and make sure your doors are locked. While we are on the topic, another crucial mistake made by the owners is ignoring outdated lock mechanisms. Classic cars are, by definition, old, and so are their parts; which is why you should replace the door locks as soon as there are signs of wear and tear.
Sturdy locks will buy you valuable time when push comes to shove. Steering wheel locks are also recommended by car security experts, to be used as a visual deterrent. Although it is considered as an entry level protective tool, it still takes a lot of time to remove a well-placed, durable steering lock.
- Install a Vehicle Tracking Device
Vintage car thieves are highly skilled criminals, possessing the tools and determination to make sure they acquire their marks. There is a very high chance that a thief that has his sights on an expensive classic car is capable of overriding the security measures in place, regardless of how sophisticated they are, except for one – a well-hidden vehicle tracker.
GPS tracking devices have been on the frontline of car security systems in the past few years, and these advanced tools deserve their well-earned reputation. From real-time tracking to immobilization, and motion alert, to ignition sensor, classic car owners are afforded multiple features to bolster the security of their prized possessions.
Vehicle tracking systems are paired with a mobile APP, that can be used to set up alerts and notifications for important events. So even if a thief manages to get away with your vehicle, you can use the smartphone APP to locate the car’s exact location within minutes. You can then relay this information to the local police, allowing them to recover your car before it’s gone for good. While all the other safeguards work as deterrents, only a vehicle tracker offers you the opportunity to recover your prestigious classic car back.
- Get a Kill Switch
These small yet effective devices disrupt the flow of electricity and interfere with the engine’s combustion process. There are different types of kill switches, depending on their design, but their generic role is to prevent a thief from starting the engine.
Once a thief gains access to the steering wheel, your car is as good as gone, unless you have a hidden kill switch installed. While classic cars may be easier to hotwire, once a thief realizes the engine won’t start, they will most likely take off in haste.
You can spend thousands of pounds on modern security systems, but it is still wise to follow general safety rules, such as not leaving valuable items inside your car in plain sight. A vintage car itself is a thief magnet; so hide away the nostalgic and usually expensive items that can be lying around in a classic car. Keeping a neat and tidy car works in your favor, because when a car looks clean and well cared for, thieves are more likely to expect a sophisticated security system in place.
Having a classic car parked out front is a great feeling, and they are too much fun to drive around. However, if you want to keep ‘owning’ yours, you need to put in some extra effort towards bolstering security with GPS tracking systems.