Choosing an Anti-Theft Device for Your Car

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has solutions for all sorts of theft; this is their advice on anti-theft for cars. These prices are guidelines; find a solution that best fits your budget. Read the following tips from NICB or visit the NICB site for additional theft solutions.

Common Sense

  1. Remove Ignition Keys
    If removed from the ignition after every use, ordinary ignition keys can significantly reduce the likelihood of theft.
    • Cost: Standard in all models
    • Benefits: Easy to use
  2. Door Locks/Closed Windows
    Door locks, the original anti-theft device, and closed windows effectively limit access to the vehicle’s interior.
    • Cost: Standard in all models
    • Benefits: Prevents easy access
  3. Park in a Well-Lit Area
    Parking in a well-lit area discourages thieves from approaching a vehicle because of visibility.
    • Cost: None
    • Benefits: Prevents easy access

Warning Devices

  1. Audible Alarms
    Audible alarms are typically equipped with motion or impact sensors, which trigger a 120-decibel siren.
    • Cost: $150 - $1,000
    • Benefits: Effective in preventing thefts, burglaries and vandalism
  2. Steering Column Collars
    Steering column collars prevent thieves from “hot-wiring” the vehicle. Some collars are installed permanently. Others must be continuously activated.
    • Cost: $100 - $200 installed
    • Benefits: Excellent protection for older vehicles
  3. Steering Wheel Locks
    A steering wheel lock is a metal bar designed to prevent the steering wheel from turning.
    • Cost: $25 - $100
    • Benefits: Excellent visual deterrent
  4. Steering Wheel/Brake Pedal Lock
    Prevents depression of the brake pedal.
    • Cost: $15 - $80
    • Benefits: Excellent visible deterrent
  5. Tire Locks
    Similar to the circular steel “boots” used by many large city police departments, tire locks prevent the vehicle from being driven.
    • Cost: $80 - $200
    • Benefits: Excellent visible deterrent
  6. Tire Deflators
    Attaches to the tire valve stem and causes the tire to go flat if the tire rotates before they are removed.
    • Cost: Under $50
    • Benefits: Easy and inexpensive to use.
  7. Theft Deterrent Decals
    Theft deterrent decals visually warn thieves the vehicle is protected by an alarm or other antitheft devices.
    • Cost: $2 - $5
    • Benefits: Inexpensive but effective
  8. Identification markers in or on vehicle
    Security labels marking various vehicle parts enabling the part to be identified if removed from the vehicle.
    • Cost: $2 - $15
    • Benefits: Inexpensive, discourages thieves from stealing the vehicle and aids in recovery
  9. Window Etching
    Etching the vehicle identification number or other traceable number onto the vehicle’s windows makes it difficult for thieves to resell the vehicle or its parts.
    • Cost: Free to $100
    • Benefits: Discourages thieves from stealing the vehicle and aids in recovery
  10. Laminated Glass
    Impact resistant protective glazing applied to vehicle windows designed to fortify the windows against penetration or splintering.
    • Cost: Standard
    • Benefits: Excellent protection for vehicle windows

Immobilizing Devices

  1. Smart Keys
    Smart keys contain specially coded computer chips or radio frequencies. Without the exact key, the vehicle’s engine cannot be started.
    • Cost: Standard in some models
    • Benefits: Effective and extremely easy to use
  2. Fuse cut-offs
    Short circuits the electrical system, preventing the vehicle from starting.
    • Cost: $40 - $90
    • Benefits: Inexpensive and relatively easy to install
  3. Kill Switches
    Kill switches inhibit the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine until a hidden switch is activated.
    • Cost: $10 - $125
    • Benefits: Inexpensive and relatively easy to install
  4. Starter, ignition and fuel disablers
    Short circuits the electrical or fuel system, preventing the vehicle from starting, or causes the vehicle to stop running within a short time.
    • Cost: Standard in some models
    • Benefits: Inexpensive and easy to use

Tracking Devices

  1. Tracking Devices
    Most tracking devices are electronic transmitters hidden in the vehicle, which emit signals to the police or monitoring stations when the vehicle is reported stolen.
    • Cost: $400 to $1,500
    • Benefits: Effective in recovering stolen vehicles