Car Theft Deterrent Systems Provide Peace Of Mind

by Don Elliott on February 16, 2012

Security theft deterrent systems on cars have come a long way in the last five to ten years. Key fobs and locking systems, standard on many new cars, have reduced the need for supplemental anti-theft devices. On the other hand, some higher end vehicles may need extra protection.

There are basically four types of supplemental security theft deterrent systems within the price range of normal human beings.

Passive Restraints – These include anything that will keep the car from moving. The best-known passive restraint is called The Club, a steering wheel lock consisting of two large hooks that latch onto the steering wheel and a long leg that keeps the steering wheel from tuning. At about $30, The Club is an inexpensive theft deterrent that will stop most car thieves. Licensed auto locksmiths have a tool called The Buster that they use to remove The Club, but not without a considerable amount of effort.

Audible Alarms – We’ve all heard the car alarm blaring in the middle of the night and wondered if anyone is doing anything about it. Older car alarm models would sound for long periods of time, often stopping only when the car’s battery went dead. Technology has improved the car alarm and made it much easier to install and possibly more effective. The Master Lock Auto Sentry sells for about $150. The system will detect any unauthorized entry into the passenger cabin and signal wirelessly the alarm mounted in the engine compartment.

Ignition Kill Switches – Newer vehicles utilize the technology embedded in the key fob to send a message to the Engine Control Unit. It can disable the fuel pump and/or the ignition switch to prevent the car from starting. Aftermarket products work in a similar fashion, varying widely in cost and performance characteristics. The Master Lock Starter Sentry is an easy to install device that replaces the starter motor or fuel pump relays, “as easy as plugging a lamp into a wall socket,” according to Master Lock. The Master Lock Starter Sentry is priced at about $75.

GPS Tracking Systems – The usage of GPS to track everything from your cell phone to your kids has made vehicle tracking a fairly common occurrence. GM’s OnStar is a widely used GPS tracking system that is capable of remotely disabling the car if stolen. LoJack uses FM radio frequency technology as an alternative to the “line-of-sight” necessary with GPS tracking. Police departments credit LoJack with a 90% recovery rate when activated. Lojack costs $700 to $1,000, but is by far one of the most effective theft deterrent systems. OnStar is free for the first year on GM cars and has an annual subscription rate of $200 per year thereafter.

What is the used car value added by theft deterrent systems? Other than the obvious value in keeping your car from being stolen, most insurance companies offer significant discounts for the use of theft deterrent systems. Depending on the system used, discounts can be as much as 35% for use of the more secure theft deterrent systems. Ask your insurance company what discount you can get for your security theft deterrent systems!

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