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How can I theft-proof my car?

While auto theft has been dropping in B.C., any vehicle - and what's in it - is still at risk.

Older vehicles often easiest target

If you own an older vehicle, it’s at high risk of being stolen or broken into. Why?

Older vehicles often don't have an effective anti-theft device and are easy to steal.

All new cars, vans, light trucks and SUVs built in Canada must be equipped with anti-theft engine immobilizers as of Sept. 1, 2007.

Top 10 items stolen from vehicles in 2013

IMPACT reports these items were the most popular with thieves in 2013:

  1. Smartphones
  2. Personal electronics - tablets, laptops, iPods, GPS
  3. Work tools
  4. Credit cards and identification
  5. Stereo equipment
  6. Cash and change
  7. Car parts and accessories
  8. Garage door openers
  9. Sunglasses
  10. Keys

How can I protect my vehicle?

You can greatly reduce the risk of theft by following these common-sense strategies:

  1. Use an anti-theft device.
  2. Park in well-lit areas, near pedestrian traffic.
  3. Remove possessions from your vehicle – shopping bags, spare change, electronics, brief cases, etc.
  4. Do not keep spare keys to your vehicle in the vehicle. Remove valet keys.
  5. Keep your garage door opener out of sight. If parking on the street outside your residence, take the garage door opener with you.
  6. Wait for the garage door gate to close behind you. Thieves could take this opportunity to slip inside the parkade.

What anti-theft devices provide the best protection?

What provides the best protection: immobilizers, car alarms, or steering wheel locks? Refer to the table below for details about each type of device.

Type of anti-theft device


Electronic engine immobilizers

Provide the best protection. An engine with an immobilizer won't start until it recognizes a computer chip in the ignition key.

  • One bit of advice: be careful where you keep your keys after you park. Some auto thieves targeting luxury cars have been known to break into homes in search of keys to deactivate immobilizers.
  • For maximum protection, choose a device that will prevent your vehicle from being started even if the device is damaged or torn from the vehicle.

Vehicle alarms

Draw attention to would-be thieves with sirens, beeps and other loud noises. Some systems trigger flashing lights too. Unfortunately, false alarms have given this anti-theft device a bad name. Many people consider alarms ineffective and annoying.

Mechanical immobilizers

Includes after-market steering wheel locking bars and transmission locks. Both of these devices are good visual deterrents. However, don't rely solely on a mechanical device if your vehicle has a moderate to high risk of being stolen - and if it has been stolen once, there's a good chance it might be again. Using several devices adds further visual deterrence.


Facts & Tips


If you buy an alarm or an electronic immobilizer, make sure you get a professional to install it. The wiring on these systems is spliced into your vehicle's electrical system. One mistake could cause poor performance, a system failure or expensive electrical damage.

When you choose an installer, ask:

  • how the company guarantees its workmanship
  • how long it has been in the mobile security business
  • about the installer's training and credentials