Car Care: Don’t be a target
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Stow your valuables out of the view of opportunistic thieves
They say the best form of vehicle security is to remove temptation.
Regardless of the security system fitted to a vehicle, if valuables are left out on display, a smash-and-grab raid can be done and dusted in a matter of seconds.
Items such as laptops, phones and wallets plus expensive and desirable clothing and footwear are very tempting if left in sight.
Sure, an alarm might sound the moment glass is broken, but most people tend to ignore the first 15 seconds or so when an alarm sounds in the hope it will be switched off.
That can be time enough for an opportunist thief to enter the vehicle, take what they want and be well on their way.
And with more and more vehicles being parked outside homes or in driveways, they can become an easy window shop in the middle of the night.
Though tinting windows can certainly help, keeping any valued possessions completely out of sight and away from prying eyes is the obvious answer — as is removing expensive gear from the vehicle and adding them to the cargo space when needed.
Unless they have specific targets or inside knowledge, car thieves are more likely to take the path of least resistance and go for something on display rather than waste valuable time looking.
Stealing the vehicle itself is another matter.
Many vehicles now have engine immobilisers fitted, which means it becomes almost impossible to enter illegally, start the engine and make a quick getaway.
If a particular type or make of vehicle is of interest to a thief and it’s known to have an immobiliser fitted, it’s often the ignition key that becomes the prime target.
Hiding spare keys and ensuring the current set are not left in view when you are out, or at work, is always a good idea, particularly if you drive something special. Fitting an after-market alarm has always been a popular way of trying to deter car thieves but just how well they are installed can be a debatable subject.
How would you know if an alarm worked properly or not?
Maybe the security warning label fitted to the vehicle is deterrent enough for some thieves but for others it may not worry them in the slightest.
Some specialists within the vehicle security industry have grave concerns about the way some after-market alarm systems are fitted. Alarm systems are not cheap to install and the last thing owners need is to have a compromised system.
Apparently there are a couple of simple checks that owners can do with applicable vehicles to ensure they have had a good alarm installation.
■Lock the vehicle and arm the security system
■Wait 30 seconds for the alarm to set
■Put the key in the door lock and turn it twice in the unlock direction
■Open the door and wait to see if the alarm activates.
If it does, it’s a correct installation.
If it doesn’t, the system is severely compromised.
A smart thief could simply ‘replicate’ the key by using a screwdriver to deactivate the alarm and enter in silence.
They could also break the window glass, which should trigger the alarm, but it could easily be disabled using the interior lock/unlock button or switch. Not a bad idea to do the checks.
■Information provided by the NZ Distributors for Cobra Alarms (www.cobra.net.nz/)