Make your car theft-proof

Date:21 September 2013 Tags:, ,

I have a pickup I absolutely love, and would like to prevent it from being stolen. Any ideas to make it theft-proof?

Car theft is a perennial problem that everybody worries about. Manufacturers have responded to this problem with factory alarm systems and sophisticated electronic validation between the car and the ignition key. That hasn’t deterred resourceful thieves, either – particularly those equipped with flatbed trucks – so an entire tracking system industry has grown up around the need to “get your own back”. Anecdotal evidence indicates that cars such as certain Japanese light commercial models are highly prized owing to their lucrative parts market , but we have a good, cheap solution for any car, new or old.

Since parking in safe-looking spots is about as effective as wishing on a star, installing a well-hidden kill switch is a smart way to deter potential thieves. These switches disrupt the flow of electricity at the battery or ignition switch or disable the fuel pump. Any of these will quickly frustrate the bad guys into moving on to an easier target, but two or three will render a car virtually theft-proof.

Before making any modification, be sure to have a complete wiring diagram in hand, just so you’re aware of which wires are which. The easiest method is to connect a simple on/off toggle to the positive circuit of the fuel pump. These small switches can be hidden and secured pretty much anywhere: under the seat, in the boot, under the dashboard, in the glovebox. You’re limited only by how much work you want to do running new wire.

More involved but super-effective is fitting a racing-style battery-disconnect switch on the positive battery cable. This could be located under the bonnet, or the cable could be extended to put the switch under or beside the driver’s seat (be sure to use 0-gauge cable and a heavy-duty rotary switch). The downside of this approach is that disconnecting the battery will reset the radio settings every time; no power means no memory features.

The trickiest option is an ignition kill switch. Using your wiring diagram, find the wire responsible for activating the starter solenoid and install a switch as far from the ignition as possible in that circuit (you don’t want the potential crook to easily find it).

Or, if you just want to do it the free and inconvenient way, pull the fuel pump relay from the main fuse box (usually under the bonnet) as you’re stepping out of the car and put it in your pocket: 100 per cent effective.

What you’re doing is moving the thief to another vehicle, which is good for you, but still bad for another guy. A kill switch is an effective tool to prevent vehicle theft. Just don’t install it in the middle of the dash and label it “Kill switch” – Frank Scafidi, director of public affairs, US National Insurance Crime Bureau

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