best anti-theft device for the car?

I’m thinking about getting some type of anti-theft device for my car (2000 Civic). I was recommended the AutoLock (, and it seems to be much better than the club, which I’ve heard is easily breakable.

Is this a good theft deterrent? Do you recommend anything else? I’m not looking to spend too much money on fancy systems like this one: :slight_smile:

What you need most, but is hard to do for some cars, is to block the door lock from “slim-jims”, the thing they sell in most auto supplies that slides down the door glass with a hook on the end to pop up the lock.

Only about 5% of the cars on the road have this blocked by the manufacturer, despite it being easy and cheap.
Remove the door inside panel. (This is the hard part- you can easily screw up your door panel, so check for a book on how to do it) Then you can see where the lock arm goes up and down and just put a simple metal shield around it. Some places sell kits for this, but any piece of metal will do. Just secure it so it won’t rattle.

The cheapest method of foolproof auto-theft deterrence is after parking the car against a curb, turn the wheel until the steering column locks. Then all you have to do is jack the car up, remove the two far-right curbside wheels and leave your car on concrete blocks.

Most cars IMHO are stolen by towing, I’ve had friends with all manners of electronic devices still get their cars stolen and stripped. My proposed method would eliminate the dreaded tow theft.

PolarField - uhh, doesn’t your method make it a little inconvenient to use your own car? and where do you store the wheels once you’ve taken them off?

I was thinking about a rottweiler or pit bulldog on the front seat, as a really impractical anti-theft device, then I read your put-it-up-on-blocks, and I feel much better about my idea. thank you.

I like the door mounted flame throwers available in South Africa myself, but my insurance agents’ head made funny twitching jerks when I asked if I would be eligible for a theft deterrent discount…

Well, I find that not owning a car is a pretty good deterrent…

But then again, having good sniper coverage at all times is pretty decent as well.

I also like the idea of a remote controlled self-destruct unit on board.

Sillies. I get more free dogs this way. You’d be surprised how quik Rotties and Pit Bulls go.
The towing thing is not a problem, I always carry a jack, and a couple of donuts in each of the most common sizes. Then I jack 'em up, slap 'em on, and tow the cars right up into an enclosed trailer.

The “Richard Simmons sings Show Tunes” CD, loud, on loop.

I think I’ll just stick with the COBRA wrapped around the gear shift.

Drive a '75 station wagon.

Ug, I’m so sick of this question. If you’ve got a car that’s worth stealing get theft insurance. Otherwise get on with your life and leave the alarms to the chrome-tipped, neon bulb, window tinters…

Just let my wife drive it for about a week. The inside will be so filled up with fast food bags, receipts, magazines, papers, lipsticks, empty cigarette packs, juice bottles, etc, that most theifs will assume that it doesn’t actually run but a homeless person is still sleeping in it under the junk.

Wow…this certainly wasn’t the direction I was thinking the thread would go. I was actually serious about recommendations for anti-theft devices. I’m leaning towards the Autolock because it’s a visible deterrent, isn’t as easy to break as the Club, isn’t annoying and useless like car alarms, and isn’t impractical like most of the suggestions here are. Good for a laugh though.

I’m looking for something that will prevent my car from getting stolen. Theft insurance won’t help there. Blocking “slim-jims,” might help a little, but they could always break the window even more easily.

exchicagoan, are you referring to the animal or some type of security product? If so, I could use a link.

So, seriously, any recommendations for anti-theft devices?

Club is dumb, they just saw thru steering wheel in a few seconds.

If they want your car, they are gonna get it no matter what you do.

Why dont you just park it in the garage? Too obvious?

The best luck I ever had was a combination of the slim-jim plates mentioned earlier and removing the pull-up-by-hand locks inside the car. This meant that you had to have the key to get in the car or climb though a broken window to get in. I also tied razor blades to my speaker wire so anyone doing a grab and yank on my stereo would hopefully lose a finger.

The best, and easily the surest security accessory
you can buy for your car is a locked garage.

I know that sounds like I’m joking, but I’m dead serious.
Any steering wheel lock can be defeated by cutting a notch
in the steering wheel. Any bolt cutter ($14.95 at your local
hardware store) can do this with ease. Don’t depend on
these things for security. Once the thief is inside the
car, it’s about ten seconds to notch the wheel and
junk the club.

Car alarms are good and bad. Good in that they make
lots of obnoxious noise when a clumsy theif tries to break
into your car. Bad in that they make lots of obnoxious
noise when a squirrel, strong wind, or the guy parked
next to you disturbs your car. What you’re trying to do
with a car alarm is deprive a thief of the element of
stealth. Thieves don’t want to be seen. Unfortunatly,
these days everyone has car alarms, and they go off
at random all the time, so everyone ignores them. If
a thief is almost in and trips the alarm, if he’s
savvy he’ll go the rest of the way, then pop the hood
and pull the main fuse or battery cable to silence the
alarm. Your neighbors, meanwhile, will just think “god
that alarm is obnoxious, thank god he came out and turned
it off.”

Lastly, anyone’s car, no matter how alarmed, clubbed,
booted, whatever… can always be towed away by a tow
truck or a flatbed. And there’s no way to defend against
this attack. Then when Mr. Thief has your car back at
his shop in the bad part of town, he can let the alarm
ring all day, and take his welding torch to your
steering wheel lock. If you’re lucky, he won’t find your
LoJack and you might actually get the car back before
he cuts it into a million pieces and sells the individual
pieces for twice what the car’s worth.

Alarms, clubs, etc… will probably deter casual thieves.
So, in conjunction with theft insurance, they may be enough
if your car isn’t fancy or nice. At the moment I think
Acura Integras and Honda Accords are at the top of car
thief’s want lists. But very few theives will steal an old
rusted out station wagon. Nor will joyriders who just
want to steal your car so they can thrash the engine
and then go crash it somewhere.

But alarms, clubs, etc… are nothing more than easily
bypassed nuisances to a professional thief who truly wants
your car. If you want your car not to be stolen by these
guys, put it in a locked garage (where a thief can’t see
it) with an unchained doberman inside.

And put a big sheet on the car windshield that says,
MY PROPERTY.” And if your car is nice (like a Ferrari
or Porsche) be prepared to back it up…

Agreed. I used to work for an auto insurance company, and just having a secured garage means a significant savings in your rates.

I’ve always been partial for car alarms with ignition kill mechanisms. They’re not perfect, but they are enough of a hassle to deter the casual thief (by making them use more time to steal the car), and I’m content. Never liked the motion-sensing mechanisms for the afformentioned “killer squirrel” reasons.

Yep. When was the last time anyone investigated a car with an alarm blaring away?

They can have mine – ten years old, 150,000+ miles, upholstery worn, grungy interior. I could use a replacement… :slight_smile:

Hmmm, I believe I read this on one of the other Message Boards I frequent, but I know there is an alarm system that when set off sends a message to your pager. It can be very helpful, and did prevent several thefts. I believe it was Another item that was interesting was a homemade metal bar that went between the wheels in front to prevent steering. The only way through it would to jack the car up and saw it off. LoJack is a good idea too.

I’ve never had my car stolen, but I don’t want to start that trend. My theory to prevention of theft is a complicated process, so I will outline it in list format:

  1. Go to the store and get a Barbie doll, any Barbie doll. I have a cheerleader Barbie. I hung her from my rearview mirror by a noose.

  2. Weird bumper stickers. Lots of them. Anything that says anything weird, funny, odd–something that makes your car unique. I have lots of them–“Sanity is the playground for the unimaginative,” “mean people produce little mean people,” “more fun than normal people think is legal”–stuff like that. Bright, distinct unique bumper stickers are great. Not only are they fun, but they also make your car noticable and memorable (people can spot my car in parking lots, and thus locate me).

  3. Dents. Lots of them. Nicks in the paint, chunks of bumper missing, dents in the body.

  4. Couple the dents with general bad driving/bad parking jobs. Park in the lines of a space, but park crooked.

  5. Keep weird objects in the backseat. I keep a bag of papers in my car, a ripped up atlas, a fleece blanket, and whatever random garbage that is left in my car.

The overall plan is to make your car look odd, distinct, and make it look like it is owned by someone eccentric/someone who could ruin a suspension and steering column by looking at it. Most people are hesitant to try to take something that is blatently personalized because it will be easily recognized. Most people also don’t want to drive in something that looks like it would smell like a landfill. Most people don’t want to drive something that looks like it has problems.

You can make it awfully hard to do though.
There is a quick-release, detachable steering wheel on the market that you take with you when you leave your car. You could turn your wheels to lock, and remove the steering wheel. Then it would be impossible to pull your vehicle in a straight line. This is not foolproof though as anyone with a little determination could disable an ignition/steering lock.
Still it limits theft to those who have a trailer, or dolly.

I saw something else on the tube a few months ago, then promptly forgot about it. (None of my cars are anything anyone would want to steal, with the exception of one that never sits outside overnight.)
The best thing I’ve seen so far is a device that lets the thief start the car, then drive away, then in about 15 seconds, it stalls the car by disabling the ignition and possibly the fuel delivery, at the same time locking the thief inside via some hidden electric lock mechanism that is not operated by the conventional lever or knob, ( I guess. ) It may even place the 911 call for you.
The demonstration had hidden cameras placed inside the target car. It appeared to be very effective. Most of the thieves were caught while still trying to restart the car.
I don’t however, recall the name of the product. Maybe they have a nifty website or something…
Then again, maybe it was something done specifically by the police department as a trap, and not something available to the public.