How Can You Keep People From Stealing Your Car?

Illustration for article titled How Can You Keep People From Stealing Your Car?

People are getting better and better at stealing cars. If you've ever lived in a rough neighborhood, though, you've learned a few tricks to keep thieves away.


If we owned an old car and parked on the street, we'd follow the advice of Jalopnik alum Murilee Martin, who drives a ‘92 Civic hatchback. That car might as well have a large neon sign on the roof saying, "FREE CAR, PLEASE STEAL."

He used to install a kill switch hidden somewhere under the dash, so that the Civic just won't start no matter how many times the prospective robber tries to hotwire it. The car was again broken into for the umpteenth time last month and he's moved on to a top-secret double kill switch system.

How do you keep people from smashing a window and stealing your stereo, or your whole car altogether?

(QOTD is your chance to address the day's most pressing automotive questions and to experience the opinions of the insightful insiders, practicing pundits, and gleeful gearheads that make up the Jalopnik commentariat. If you've got a suggestion for a good Question of the Day, send an email to tips at jalopnik dot com.)

Photo Credit: Honda



as a civic owner I am well aware that my toy could go missing.

A: I never drive it places that it gets left unattended, such as malls or movies, where they know I'll be gone for 2+ hours.

B: hidden kill switches. 2 you gotta flip, 1 you have to hold as car starts.

C: the alarm isn't under the dash. It was installed when the car had no interior and is hidden well.

D: I take my ECU with me. And so you can't just bring your own the factory connectors were removed and a mil-spec type connector is used so that the pins are completely non-standard and specific to my car and ECU.

E: Steering wheel lock, when parked turn the wheel all the way to the side then remove key. Makes it harder to start when jiggling a broken key barrel as thieves often do.

F: I do all these things even in my locked and alarmed garage. The ECU for example sits inside my house.

G: as I learned on that show "To Catch a Thief" I don't leave my keys sitting around my house and especially not on hook with all my other keys in the kitchen.

H: I pray its not towed. You can't really stop a tow truck style thief.

I: I try not to draw attention, my car isn't too crazy looking, but mostly its behavior. I don't park my car with the stereo blaring, or rev my awesome coffee can exhaust when I come to a stop. No "hey check out my civic" type actions as I park.

J: try not to post too much stuff online... yes that is my actual car pictured, but at least I blurred the plates right? and its not like I just told you all the things I do to protect it.... oh wait

K: its manual, Jalopnik says thats anti-theft. If it helps too my gear knob is from an s2000 and says I have six gears and lies about the location of my reverse, mwhahahaha try backing out of the spot.