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Car Security Review

Disklok

Over 300,000 vehicles are stolen in Europe every year and one third of those are stolen from UK owners alone. Only this week a British newspaper reported the theft of two luxury sports cars worth up to £100,000. All car lovers understand that automobile theft is more than just an inconvenience; it's financially and emotionally costly, too. That's why we think car security is hugely important and we've compiled a review of the best security gadgets available to help you protect your pride and joy.

Steering Wheel Locks

They can be cumbersome and you have to remember to use them every time you leave your car, but they remain one of the most cost-effective security measures out there. Police recommend that wheel locks be used in conjunction with a secondary security device for ultimate protection. Here are a few of the best wheel locks on the market today.

Disklock

Covering the entire steering wheel, Disklock is a high-profile, durable deterrent. It boasts one of the longest 'defeat' times in test conditions, meaning that it will slow down even the most well-equipped car thief and, coupled with an effective audio alarm system or other device, should be enough to make them give up completely. At £84.99 from Halfords, Disklock is one of the priciest locks on the market.

Stoplock Ultra

One of Stoplock's most advanced arm-based designs, the Ultra is hefty and durable and painted a high-visibility yellow to deter potential thieves. Its central padded section protects the centre of the wheel and its armoured clamp gives it a 'defeat' time that rivals that of Disklock. At £59.99, the Ultra is a good quality mid-ranged wheel lock.

Stoplock Pro

The Pro from Stoplock is a sturdier version of its original classic wheel lock and, like others in the range, comes with a high-visibility exterior to deter prospective criminals. The Pro is well armoured and resistant to attacks from tools, but its slim design means that part of the wheel remains vulnerable. With its £49.99 price tag, it's a decent budget wheel lock, but not without its disadvantages.

Bulldog Euroclamp

Wheel Clamps

Wheel clamps are highly visible and very difficult to remove, but they take time and effort to fit so they are most useful in protecting caravans, trailers and other vehicles not in regular use.

Bulldog Euroclamp

The Euroclamp is a lightweight clamp that is relatively easy to fit with a unique snap-on design. Ideal for travelling, it will provide a decent level of security for caravans and motorhomes. At £82.99 from Halfords, the Euroclamp could offer that little bit of extra security for show cars that are not regularly driven.

Bulldog High Security

Heavier and more robust than its Euroclamp counterpart, the High Security model is a no-nonsense crime deterrent. It's high-profile bright yellow exterior will make anyone think twice about stealing your wheels. At £99.99, this is a high-end long-term security option ideal for protecting caravans, trailers and cars when they're not in use.

Immobilisers

Many cars are fitted with electronic immobilisers by the manufacturer. These in-built transponders or microchips prevent the car from starting unless you have the appropriate electronic fob to deactivate them. If your car doesn't have an immobiliser as standard, you can buy the Richmond Dis-Carnect Battery Immobiliser from Halfords for a mere £9.99. You might want to get an expert to fit the device for you, but once in it'll prevent the battery from starting the car should someone try to steal it.

Alarm Systems

Alarms are considered to be the most popular and effective security system available for cars and, coupled with one or more of the other devices reviewed in this post, will provide formidable protection for your car. Most modern cars come with alarm systems as standard, but they are available to buy and fit retroactively to vehicles that don't have them, such as classic cars. Please ensure that your alarm system is fitted correctly by an authorised mechanic and we recommend that you only buy systems approved by Thatcham audits. www.thatcham.org

Viper 3100V 1-Way Alarm System

The Viper 3100V is a good entry-level alarm system that covers doors, boot and bonnet and features a dual-stage shock sensor and a standard 12 volt siren. At £99.95, the Viper 3100V offers decent security on a budget.

Cobra 4138 Thatcham Category 1 Alarm System

The Cobra 4138 is an insurance category 1 approved alarm system that protects the whole vehicle. It features high security ACE remote controls with auto learning, a built-in immobiliser circuit, automatic re-arming, and a panic alarm. These alarm systems must be installed by an authorised installer, so it is best to take your car to a garage or have it installed by the supplier. At £149.99, the Cobra is a serious mid-ranged defensive device that should deter even the most determined criminal.

Directed Electronics 480XV 2-Way Thatcham Category 1 Alarm System

This comprehensive alarm system doesn't come cheap at around £350, but it is feature-rich and recommended by insurers. This system comes with a 6-channel 2-way security/keyless entry system, on-board door lock relays, a 3 circuit immobiliser, remote adjustable ultrasonic interior scanners, Revenger® Six-Tone Siren, parking light flash and additional horn honk.

Clifford lock

Clifford AvantGuard 5.5 Thatcham Approved Alarm System

At £599.99, the Clifford AvantGuard 5.5 is one of the most expensive and most comprehensive alarm security systems available. The 5.5 features a dual-zone OmniSensor, G5 glass break sensor and Medallion2 programmable siren. It comes with 5-button remote controls, a tilt/motion sensor, immobilisation, and is insurer approved.

Vehicle Tracking

So, you've done everything you can to prevent your car being stolen, but a resourceful thief has somehow managed to get away with your motor. The game isn't over yet, provided you fitted your car with a vehicle tracking device. A number of companies offer very good vehicle tracking services, and we've listed a couple below.

Tracker RETRIEVE Stolen Car Tracker

Tracker's covert high-frequency transmitter is hidden discretely inside your vehicle so the thief won't be able to locate or disconnect it. Tracker's Very High Frequency recovery system works in underground carparks, shipping containers and covered trailers, making it more effective than GPS or GSM tracking. Tracker detection equipment is used in all police vehicles in the UK, meaning your stolen vehicle can be located and intercepted within minutes. Tracker boasts a 24 hour call centre and comes Thatcham approved. At around £260 (including installation) with a £174/year subscription, Tracker RETRIEVE provides constant peace of mind.

Tracking UK: ScorpionTrack Car

ScorpionTrack is ideal for commuters traveling to and from Europe, as its coverage extends all over the continent. The service features 24 hour monitoring, GPS Geo-Fence technology, and hidden movement detection. The device costs around £300 and a year's subscription is £130.

Some Final Advice...

It sounds like common sense, but it's surprising how easy it is to forget the little things. In order to minimise the chances of your car being stolen, always remember these golden rules:

  • Never leave your car unlocked or with the windows open.
  • Always park your car in a secure garage if possible. If you don't have access to a garage, leave your car in an open, well-lit place.
  • Make use of attended and secure car parks. Look out for car parks that are part of the approved Park Mark scheme.
  • Don't leave anything on display. Even an empty bag or a coat will be enough to entice a passing thief. Remember, just because you know it's not valuable, it doesn't mean they do.
  • Remove stereos and sat navs. Expensive gadgets are very tempting for thieves.
  • Don't leave documents or gadgets in the glove box and leave it open to show that there's nothing worth stealing inside.
  • If your car is fitted with an alarm or security system, make sure you display a sticker in the window to deter potential criminals. Stickers are available for about 50p from Halfords.