Car Theft Prevention with Bad Creditby Steve Cypher on Sunday, December 2nd, 2012
At Auto Credit Express, we’re not only concerned with helping credit-challenged car buyers find dealers for their best chances at approved car loans we’re also concerned about you keeping that vehicle out of the hands (and away from the blowtorches) of thieves and chop shops and keeping your auto insurance premiums under control. So here is some advice we came across from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Taking the layered approach
It’s a known fact that professional thieves can steal any car (remember the movie Gone in 60 Seconds?), but according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), you should make them work to get yours. To accomplish this, the NICB recommends “Layered Protection.” The more layers of protection on your vehicle, the more difficult it will be to steal it.
The number of layers your vehicle will require varies depending on the kind of vehicle as well as your geographic location. This makes sense, since a 1995 Plymouth Neon in Laramie, Wyoming probably needs a couple of layers less than, say, a Cadillac Escalade in South Central L.A. Your budget and personal preferences should also be taken into consideration when choosing which anti-theft device(s) is best for you.
Layer #1 – Common Sense
This is not rocket science. According to NICB, “An unlocked vehicle with a key in the ignition is an open invitation to any thief, regardless of which anti-theft device you use. The common sense approach to protection is the simplest and most cost-effective way to thwart would-be thieves.”
It is important to secure your vehicle, even if you’re only parking it for brief periods. To make your vehicle secure, you should always:
• Park in a well-lit area
• Close your windows
• Remove your keys from the ignition
• Lock your doors
Not only is this layer simple, it’s also cheap and it won’t increase your monthly car payment.
Layer #2 – Warning Device
NCIB’s second layer of protection deals with either a visible or audible device which is designed to alert thieves that your vehicle is protected. While there are hundreds of such devices, some of the more popular ones include:
• Audible alarms (the accompanying flashing lights are, evidently, optional)
• Steering column collars (if your ignition switch is located there)
• Steering wheel lock
• Brake pedal lock
• Wheel (the ones on the outside) locks
• Theft deterrent decals
• Identification markers in or on the vehicle
• Window etching (buy your own kit)
• Micro Dot Marking (I had to look this one up. These are small dots just 1mm across and feature a customer unique PIN number/code and tracer phone number)
Most of these items are fairly inexpensive, while many vehicles come with some of these items as either standard or optional equipment. Some of the items on this list might even make sense to the ’95 Neon owner.
Layer #3 – Immobilizing Device
The third layer of protection prevents the bad guys from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle.
Many newer cars actually come with these devices, whether you realize it or not. An example of this would be a hidden computer chip in the ignition key. These keys, standard on many vehicles, prevent the vehicle from starting unless the chip in the key fob matches the stored information in the ignition system “brain”. Other devices that can be installed inhibit the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine until a hidden switch or button is activated.
These devices include:
• Smart keys (discussed above)
• Fuse cut-offs
• Kill switches
• Starter, ignition and fuel disablers
• Wireless ignition authentication
Again, a few of these things are either standard or optional on many newer cars (smart keys, wireless ignition authentication), while the rest would have to be purchased and installed professionally (unless you’re very good, it’s never a great idea to deconstruct your car’s electrical system).
Layer #4 – Tracking Device
The final layer of protection, according to NICB, is a tracking device “which emits a signal to police of a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen.”
These devices can be very effecting in helping police recover stolen vehicles quickly (to prevent vandalism or the stripping of parts). The more advanced systems, such as GM’s OnStar, employ “telematics”. These systems combine GPS and wireless technologies that allow remote monitoring, vehicle locating and even vehicle tracking in real time. Many of these systems will even alert the owner if the vehicle has been moved.
Many of these systems are standard equipment. OnStar, in particular, is standard on all new and many newer GM vehicles. The only thing you have to pay for is the monthly service charge once the trial period has ended.
As we see it
Having a vehicle stolen is not only an inconvenience, it could cost you money especially in the early months of a car loan because most insurance companies will only pay the replacement cost of a stolen vehicle. By following these steps and matching the different “layers” with your budget, vehicle and geographic needs, you can reduce your chances of becoming a victim of vehicle theft.
One more tip: Auto Credit Express specializes in matching consumers with poor credit with new car dealers that can offer them their best chance for approved car loans.
So if you’re ready to reestablish your car credit, you can begin now by filling out our online car loans application.