How to Choose the Best Anti-Theft Devices to Protect Your Car

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Thief breaking into car (Photo: @Boytaro1428 via Twenty20)
It probably goes without saying that you don’t want your car stolen. Seems obvious, right? It’s why we have keys and locks on our cars.
But keys and locks only go so far, and unfortunately, cars are more common objects for thieves to target than you would think. There’s quite a business for car theft, be it stealing whole cars or just parts of them (the former is more common, as it’s much more lucrative). As such, it’s often important to take extra precautions to make sure that your vehicle is protected.
The best way to do that is by installing aftermarket anti-theft devices, which can save you from having to report a stolen car. But how do you choose the best anti-theft device for you and your car? Read on to find out.

What are anti-theft devices?

Anti-theft devices are designed to keep thieves from stealing your car. But beyond that, the term is rather vague category, with items ranging from a car alarm or simple mechanical locks to complex electronic trackers. There are a countless number of devices, but it’s easy to put them in three categories.
First, there are extended locks, which physically stop your car from being driven or having its parts stolen. These include a tire clamp or wheel locks, which keep your wheels from turning; steering wheel locks, which keep your steering wheel from being used; hood locks, which keep your hood from being opened; and a brake lock.
Second, there are immobilizers, which keep your car from being started with anything other than the key. These come in a few different designs, from standard immobilizers that don’t allow a car to be hotwired, to kill switches.
And third, there are tracking devices. A GPS tracker will help you recover your car if it is stolen, and often deter a thief from taking it in the first place.

Choosing the best anti-theft device for your car

Different areas have different rates of car theft, and that impacts what type of anti-theft device might be right for you. The place where you frequently park (for example, a public parking lot) also plays a role. Areas that high have rates of car theft usually feature people who have advanced ways of stealing cars. These areas often have people who are essentially professional car thieves, so a simple device like a steering wheel lock or tire lock is unlikely to deter them. An alarm system is likely to be equally ineffective.
On the other hand, if you live somewhere where car theft is very uncommon, then cars are probably only being stolen by opportunistic burglars on a whim. You probably don’t need an expensive tracking device, because a simple wheel lock will probably make a thief move on and look for something easier.

Consider your budget

In general, lock-based devices are the most affordable, while tracking devices are the most expensive anti theft systems, with immobilizers in the middle.
You can’t make the right purchase without knowing how much money you want to spend, so figure out what your budget is for an anti-theft device.

Determine the type of anti-theft device you want

Now that you’ve thought about your location and budget, you should be able to decide what type of anti-theft device you’re in the market for. There are a huge number of devices on the market, so narrowing down the options is a critical part of making a decision.

Read reviews

Once you’ve determined what type of anti-theft device you would like for your car, it’s time to do some market research. Read some product reviews, and some buyer’s guides. You can even go to an auto parts store and pick the brain of a specialist.
There are a million and one anti-theft devices on the market, so finding the right one can feel like an impossible decision. But follow these steps and you’ll be all set to find the perfect anti-theft device for your car.