Let’s face it: you drive a desirable car. But judging by the stares you get driving down the road each day, you already knew that.
But it’s not just desirable for people wanting to own or drive it. These days, most thieves won’t dump your car on a street corner after a joy ride, where the police can find it and return it like a lost puppy. Car thieves are much more sophisticated than you might think. They’ll strip your car and sell off the parts faster than you can say “Auf Weidersehen” to your beloved Bimmer.
Here’s a handy rule of thumb: If your car is popular with buyers, it’s a pretty safe bet that it’s popular with car thieves as well.
Here are some tips for protecting your BMW from theft:
1. Try to not let your car get stolen.
We’re not patronizing you, we promise. Put some thought and effort into making your car difficult for thieves to access. The longer it takes a thief to break in and steal your car, the more likely they are to either get caught or become frustrated and give up. Moral of the story: even minimal effort is better than nothing.
2. Lock your car.
It may sound ridiculous to say, but believe it or not, half of all stolen cars are unlocked. (Come on, people.)
3. Close your windows completely.
Unless you have a pet in the car. (Which hopefully you don’t for any length of time.) Just another way to make your car less accessible.
4. Park smart.
Park in safe, populated, well-lit areas. (Think “witnesses!”) Whenever possible, park in attended lots and garages. Cars parked in areas with security personnel and attendants are less likely to be stolen. Don’t complain, it’s worth the few extra bucks to keep your BMW secure.
Tow trucks?! What will they come up with next? Some car thieves use tow trucks to accomplish their devilish deeds. (Persistent buggers, aren’t they?) To make your car tougher to tow, follow these simple guidelines:
- Turn your wheels toward the curb (or sideways, if you’re parking in a lot or driveway).
- Always set your emergency brake.
- Rear-wheel drive cars: Back into your spot or driveway and set the emergency brake.
- Front-wheel drive cars: Park front-end first and set your emergency brake.
5. Use the garage.
Just because Orange County doesn’t get much weather doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea to park in the garage. All the dust, dew, and bird poop isn’t exactly ideal for your BMW’s exterior, but that’s a different discussion for a different time. The less visible and accessible your car is, the less opportunity a thief has to steal it. Remember to lock the side door of the garage, and don’t leave your car keys in the car.
(You’re welcome for the incentive to finally clean out your garage.)
6. Keep your keys on a tight leash.
Even if you’re parking in your very own garage at home, don’t leave keys in the car. Your garage might be easier to break into than you think, and by the time you hear your BMW zooming away in the night, it’s too late.
And don’t hide spare keys in your car, either. Car thieves aren’t stupid – they know ALL the good hiding spots.
Surfers: Believe it or not, while you’re hanging ten in some bitchin’ barrel, car thieves are lurking, cleverly disguised as happy-go-lucky brahs like you. Don’t try to conceal your car keys under your bumper or above your wheel. Buy a wetsuit with a key pocket.
If you’re prone to locking your keys in your car, come up with a better backup plan than a magnetic box on the underside of your bumper.
7. Don’t leave money or valuables in plain sight.
You might as well have a neon “Take Me!” sign on your car. Either take money and valuables with you, or store them in the trunk. If your sound system has a removable face plate, take it off and either take it with you, or store it in the trunk.
8. Don’t leave your car running while you’re not in it.
Leaving your car running at an ATM, gas station, or convenience store is not worth the risk. It won’t save you much time anyway. And as nice as it is to hop into a toasty warm car on a chilly winter morning, it’s also not advisable to start your car a few minutes before leaving for work.
9. Car alarm tips
Are car alarms really effective? How often do you check to see if a car is secure when the alarm is sounding? Probably not often. Instead we either ignore it completely or yell “Shut it off!” to the poor owner fumbling with his keys.
Here are some tips for making your car alarm effective:
- Have your car alarm installed by a professional car alarm installer as opposed to a retail chain. These guys know more about what it takes to make your car elusive to crooks.
- Purchase a car alarm with a pager installed that notifies you when the alarm is activated.
- Don’t display decals that advertise your alarm system. Car thieves have different techniques for disabling alarm systems based on brand or style. (Same goes for sound systems.)
- Buy a hood lock cable to protect your battery and/or car alarm mechanism from being tampered with.