Recommend an auto theft prevention device/system for me

So, while looking for a new car for the Mrs., we ended up getting a new (used) car for me as well. Having driven a '93 Honda Civic hatchback for ages, I upgraded to a…2003 Honda Civic hatchback.

The problem, of course, is that Civics are extremely popular models to get stolen. Though I had been broken into several times, no-one ever bothered to try to steal my '93. I’m not so confident the new one will be treated so generously.

So, besides my Club, what theft-prevention devices would you recommend–ones that have worked well for you in the past, and ones that you’ve found to be particularly effective and economical.

My old Honda had a little toggle under the steering column where a plastic key would fit. If you removed that key, the car wouldn’t start, even with the main car key. I really liked that–something that, beyond a mere deterrence, actively disabled the car until I would come back.

I’ve heard of LoJack but don’t know anyone who has it (to my knowledge). The auto dealer tried to sell my on one that was fully GPS-interactive, to the point that you could pull up a satellitel image of where your car is at any particular moment. Though I’m sure this is quite helpful, it was a tad expensive ($1K) and way too Big Brother for my taste.

So, any ideas or testimonials? Thanks.

Probably not useful, but a reasonable anecdote anyway. Years ‘n’ years ago my husband bought a used Corvette to restore. It was well below market price because, among other things, it didn’t run. Part of the fun for him was to fix & restore. Well, after he had done everything he could, it still wouldn’t start. Actually, it would now start, but would only run about 60 seconds and then would shut down. After much cursing and wire tracing, he found an extra wire that didn’t belong. He followed the wire and it went to the back of the glove compartment where he found a simple toggle switch which, if not set properly, would cut off the fuel pump. We thought it was an EXCELLENT anti-theft device. Not that this would work for mass marketing, because everybody would then know where the secret switch was.

A garage.

If not available, a battery-disconnect switch. You’ll get tired of using it after about a month, just like the CLUB.

Can I get my mechanic to install a battery-disconnect switch? Would this impact my warranty somehow?

I still use the CLUB religiously, so being a creature of habit like that isn’t a concern.

(and my wife gets the garage)

Sorry to recommend what you already looked at and didn’t like, but IME, the LoJack is the only theft prevention that “works”. Everything else just means more repairs to do to your car when you recover it.

As for break in prevention, cleanliness and common sense rule over all. Just keep the interior of the car looking tidy and without anything that might look valuable or that could be covering something valuable.

Oh, I don’t mind Lojack, because (tell me if I’ve got this wrong), it’s simply tied to my car through the police, right? And they don’t use it unless the car’s been reported stolen, correct?

This system the guy was telling me about (Stop Guard or something), anyone with your code/password could track your car in real time and download a whole history log of your travels/activity. Even for someone with nothing to hide, having that readily available just struck me as a little oogie.

I was definitely considering LoJack but didn’t know much about it. Definitely looks like something worth investigating, though. Thanks!

LoJack, when I had it in Miami, was as you said it. It is inactive until you report it stolen and then it sends a signal to equiped police cars nearby.

My experience with physical antitheft devices in Venezuela was that every time your car gets stolen, you have a broken device to remove. I had everything from the big metal panel that covered the pedals to a simple chain tied from the pedals to the steering. I had cars broken into and stolen left and right, no matter what device I had.

Lojack works. Of the other items mentioned, all of them have one drawback or another. As Gatopescado most of them you will get tired of using in a month or so.
Alarm systems have only one thing that keeps the bad guy out of the car. That is the blinking LED. Every other feature is reactive after the car is broken into.
So what this means is, if you are going to buy an alarm system, a cheap one is as good as the really spendy one when it comes to keeping the bad guys out of the car.
If you are handy, I can describe how to build a circuit that will duplicate the flashing LED.

Please do! :slight_smile:

OK, this is fairly easy. I am going to use DIN terminal numbers here, because that is how my relays are numbered. In case you are not familiar with DIN numbering here is a decoder for you:
Terminal and description
15 or 30 or 15/30 power supply to load.
85 one side of the relay coil, usually grounded
86 the other side of the coil, usually supplied with power
87 Relay output to load
87A Second relay output

You either need a standard automotive switching relay where the two outputs (87 and 87A) are switched (If the relay is unenergized 87A is connected to terminal 30, 87 is not, and when energized the reverse is true) or a normally closed relay. What you want is a relay that when it is NOT energized connects the power supply to at least one output.
Flashing LED (Radio Shack, or other places that sell electronics
Dropping resistor (700-1,000 ohms if memory serves)
Wire and connectors.

Locate and install the LED. Ground the neg lead from the LED. Install the resistor in line with the positive lead. Insulate the LED leads with tape, or heat shrink tubing.
Install the relay, wire as follows:
30 Wire to a hot all the time source. memory power to the radio for instance.
85 Ground
86 Wire to a source that is hot when the key is in accessory and on position (radio feed for example)
87 or 87A out to LED.

When the key is off, the relay relaxes and connects the output to the power feed, supplying the LED with power. LED flashes.
When you turn the key on, the relay energizes and the power is interrupted to the LED, and it goes out.

this is the one I want, if only someone would make it… :wink:

of course, with my luck, the one time I’d be in a hurry would be the time I forgot to disarm it…

A cougar.

What? It’d work really well.


LoJack is a theft recovery system. It is not theft prevention. Any theft prevention device you can buy can be circumvented by a competent thief. Any of them. LoJack works to recover your vehicle. It is the only recovery system operated by the police department. When you call to report your car stolen, the VIN is entered into the police database and if your car is equipped with LoJack the transmitter becomes activated and starts to emit a signal. Police cars and, in some cities, helicopters have equipment that picks up the signal and enables them to find your car. Average recovery time for a LoJack equipped vehicle is under 2 hours. If you purchase the additional early warning system, your car will notify you if your car is being moved allowing you to check on it and call the police much sooner. It works. The basic Lojack system is available at dealers for $695, and the early warning system is an additional $300. There are no monthly maintenance fees and you may qualify for insurance discounts.

ArchiveGuy, your dealer was full of horse dung if he told you that they can pull up a satellite image of your car. The system is completely inactive until a police report is filed. It’s a worthwhile investment, plus it comes with a money back guarantee if your car isn’t recovered within 24 hours. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. I am an authorized LoJack dealer in NC. (Not trying to sell you anything, just clear up any misconceptions.)

It wasn’t LoJack that he claimed did this, but some other system (has Guard in the name)–sorry if the OP was unclear on that. It may not be tied in to the police, but the satellite claim was no joke–he showed me right there in his office, logging into the site with his password and pulling up his car parked out on the street right outside the dealership. The price ($1K) was comparable to LoJack w/Early Warning, but the whole tracking/history business left me with the jeebies (plus, I don’t know if it’s tied to the police or not).

I’ll talk to my mechanic about the kill switch. I recognize that if a thief wants my car bad enough, he’ll get it–but I wouldn’t mind making it a little harder on him, if that helps me in the long run.

I’m definitely considering the LoJack as well (spoke to them briefly on the phone today about rate and installation questions), and I didn’t know about the Money Back guarantee, which is nice, too.

Or thisinstead.

Someone else mentioned a battery disconnect. How about pulling the fuse for the starter?

Starters either don’t have fuses, or they are a part of the battery cable, and not removable.
Starters draw very large amounts of current. Depending on the engine, and other factors, between 100-300 AMPS.

Viper makes a GPS tracking system that allows you to see your car on an online map, in real time, as well as disable the starter, lock/unlock the doors, and other cool features. It will alert you on your cell phone if something suspicious is happening to your car (moving without starting, disconnected battery, crossing the border to Mexico, etc). It’s expensive, and there’s a yearly subscription fee, but it’s pretty damn cool if you ask me. I’d imagine it’d be very useful to help recover a stolen vehicle, but I’m not sure how well it would deter theft.



So it turns out my car already has a Honda Immobilizer Anti-theft system installed. I made an appointment with Lojack in a couple of days–do I still need a Lojack, or will the Immobilizer be enough to prevent/dissuade anyone from taking my car?