How to prevent vehicle theft

Having your car stolen is a driver's worst nightmare. But how to prevent vehicle theft? Read this blog for secure vehicle solutions to help keep your car safe.

How to prevent vehicle theft

How to prevent vehicle theft: secure vehicle solutions

Worried about thieves targeting your motor? Don't worry – we'll help you keep your car safe! Check out this blog to recognise potential threats and take note of handy tips to deter criminals.

Look out for marks on your car

First, it's good to know that thieves use many clever tactics to identify possible targets.

When it comes to cars, one of the most common ways to signal an 'interesting' motor is by leaving markings on it. These discreet markings tend to indicate a car's vulnerability or desirability for theft, allowing criminals to immediately spot which vehicles are easier to steal.

Thieves change their tactics all the time, but common markings include arrows, small dots, and other symbols placed on the tyres, windscreens, wing mirrors, and so on.

Each marking is likely to convey specific information about the vehicle and what makes it particularly desirable, from being an easy target to containing high-value items.

So, it's always important to inspect your car regularly. If you find any unexplained symbols or dots, think about documenting the markings and getting in touch with the police. As well as making a note of the incident, police officers will be able to guide you on how to remove the markings adequately.

What will help to keep your car safe?

Thieves are always finding new strategies to keep up to speed with car technology and implement innovative ways to strike.

In fact, vehicle theft can be a profitable business for criminals, with most cars ending up in chop shops where they're stripped for sought-after parts that can be sold for good money.

The good news, though, is that you can take plenty of straightforward steps to keep your car as safe as possible. Here are a few tricks to bear in mind:

1. Check doors are locked 🔑

This first tip may sound pretty obvious, but it's very easy to forget your car is properly locked when stepping outside.

Whether intentionally or not, around 23% of Brits admit not always double-checking if their vehicle is locked, providing thieves with the perfect opportunity to drive off undisturbed.

So, it's wise to get into the habit of locking your car and testing its door whenever you leave it unattended.

Even if you're simply popping back into your house to collect something or fuelling up at the pump, lock it to avoid nasty surprises – it doesn't take long for an experienced thief to hop at the wheel and steal your motor.

Most cars will emit a sound when you lock them with your fob, but this doesn't mean your car has been secured. Thieves standing nearby might use 'jammers' to intercept the signal between the vehicle and the fob, meaning the door won't have closed properly.

It may feel petulant to double-check each time, but don't risk it – it's better to be safe than sorry!

2. Close windows and sun roofs 

Remember to always close your windows and sunroofs, too.

Thieves can be very ingenious, and leaving a window or sunroof half-open can be all they need to access your car.

For example, they might be able to fish for valuable objects through the gap. Likewise, they might use a bent coat hanger to unlock your door and get in without any issue.

3. Don't leave items in plain sight 👀

If you're carrying any valuables, avoid leaving them inside the car. Have expensive work tools in your car or van? Take them indoors, especially at night – this will prevent unwanted surprises from the off.

But if you're out and about and can't take all your belongings with you, it's always a good idea to keep them out of sight.

In fact, having high-value objects in full view might encourage thieves to break in and steal what they can, leaving you – at the very least – with a broken window to repair as well.

Storing belongings in your boot can be a safe option. However, if your boot is full, think about covering any valuable objects with a rug or hiding them under your seats.

4. Park your car in well-lit areas 💡

Parking your car in a public, well-lit area makes it less vulnerable to theft, as criminals won't have as much freedom to act undisturbed.

Likewise, if you're at the supermarket for your weekly food shop, consider leaving your vehicle where most cars are parked. Again, thieves are more likely to try their luck with motors in an isolated spot. Why? Because there won't be as many people in the area to intrude.

5. Get your car windows etched

Having your car windows etched is another handy trick to deter thieves from stealing your car. Ultimately, criminals want an easy deal, and driving off in a car with etched windows means they’ll need to go through the hassle of replacing the glass.

So, having your vehicle identification number (VIN) on your windows can discourage people with bad intentions and can also help you retrieve your car should it ever be stolen.

In fact, compared to non-etched cars, vehicles with the VIN on their window are 50% more likely to be traced back.

Who to contact if your vehicle is stolen

In the unfortunate event your car has been stolen, try not to panic. Yes, it's completely normal to feel worried and shocked at first, but take a deep breath and report the theft to the police as soon as possible.

When you call the police, they're likely to ask you for information such as car make, model, colour, plate number, and VIN. So, make sure to have all these details at hand.

They will also query about theft time, location, and whether your car has a GPS that can help them track your vehicle.

Then, get in touch with your insurer and car finance provider. This will help you get a better idea of how to file an insurance claim and evaluate the next steps.


At First Response Finance, we're always here to give you a helping hand.

With these simple tricks under your belt, you should be able to keep your car as safe as can be. But if you'd like more information on what we can do to assist you in the unfortunate case of vehicle theft, get in contact with our Account Management team – they'll be more than happy to walk you through the process and explain what to expect.


Information includes references to:

Aviva - Aviva report on vehicle theft

West Midlands Police - Chop Shops

Halfords - Car Security Window Etching

Advice | 29.02.24

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