Car security has never been better. As technology has advanced, so too have the ways car manufacturers protect drivers from crime. But, criminals have not stopped trying to find their own ways to breach your security systems. The days of a coat hanger being slid between the car window and door frame might have gone, car thieves will still seize on any opportunity they can make for themselves. So as car companies balance convenience with security, do you need to invest in car security devices? Here’s how to work out if you need to invest in some extra protection for your motor.

Where do you park your car during the day?

You can get a good idea of if your car needs extra protection by the questions asked by car insurance providers. One of the questions they ask is where your car is parked during the day or night. So where do you park?

If you are commuting to work by car, you might be in an office car park or a secure garage. Is the office car park monitored? Or is it somewhere off-site that is completely unsupervised. If you are parked away from your office amongst hundreds of other cars, then security is going to be a bigger factor. After all, if no one is watching then no one will notice someone walking around, eyeing up a car to break into or steal.

If you park in a secure garage, it’s a different story. Anything where access is controlled and monitored is going to be more difficult for a potential thief to exploit. So you might not need as much protection during the daytime.

If you aren’t parked in a private car park, but on the road somewhere, then you’ll need to take a look at the location. Is it a busy road? Are there lots of people around all the time? Car thieves need one thing more than anything else when it comes to committing a crime – time. So if there are lots of people around, then they don’t have that resource to help them.

Where do you park at night?

Night-time is when most car thieves strike. Breaking in during the hours of darkness means they are less likely to be spotted by someone, and gives them more time to work on vehicles with a higher level of security. So where do you park at night?

The ideal location is in a locked garage, or on a driveway with a gate you can shut and lock. If the criminal can’t access the car, then they can’t steal it. Simple! Just make sure you lock the gate and garage doors at night. You might think you will hear someone opening the doors or gates, but you are probably a deeper sleeper than you think.

If you don’t have a gate or garage, than your car is more exposed. A security light on your house could be a good deterrent, but it won’t stop the most experienced car thieves. And don’t expect the car alarm to do anything except annoy your neighbours, especially if you aren’t home when the thieves strike. And if you are parked on the road, your car is even more exposed. In this case, if you have an expensive car you want to protect, then an extra car security device could be well worth it.

What is relay crime?

Owning a car with keyless entry doesn’t make it safe from thieves. In fact, one of the fastest growing types of car crime is what’s known as ‘relay’ crime. How does this work?

Keyless entry works by the car detecting you and the keys being close by. So you might think you are safe if you have the car keys in your house, either in a bowl by the door, or even on your bedside cabinet. What car thieves are doing is using their own illicit technology devices to boost the signal on your key fob. So they will have their own device that detects where your car keys are in your house, takes the information being broadcast by the key fob, and then boosts it so your car thinks the key is right next to it. The car then opens up as normal, allowing the criminals to drive away with your beloved vehicle.

You can tackle this crime by keeping your keys away from the front door, and there are even special bowls and cases you can put your keys in that blocks the signal. But you may just want to invest in a car security device instead.

Types of car security devices

Car trackers are great at helping to recover your vehicle after its been stolen. Passing on the details to the police can help them quickly find your stolen vehicle. Some trackers allow you to track the car yourself, but we recommend you don’t take the law into your own hands and go vigilante. Car trackers also don’t stop your car from being stolen, and if the car is taken it could get damaged or end up spending time with the police as they process it for evidence.

Your own personal wheel clamp could be another option, but putting them on and off can be a bit frustrating and fiddly sometimes. If you have the patience, they can be a good option.

One of the most common type of car security device is also the best - the steering lock. Normally a bright colour – so that it’s easy to see if they are being tampered with – they are like giant bike locks that prevent the steering wheel from being moved or used. If fitted properly, they are extremely difficult to remove, even with tools like hacksaws to cut the metal itself. There’s no fancy electronics inside and the technology is very simple. But it can really help you keep your car out of the hands of the crooks. Plus, they are very affordable. So you can sleep easy knowing your beloved vehicle will be there when you wake up.