Tips to Prevent a Car Break-In

Protecting your ride and the possessions inside is very important for personal and automotive safety.

This can include typical suggestions, like parking in a safe location, using a steering wheel lock, or double-checking that every door is locked, but there are other steps to take as well.

This can include typical suggestions, like parking in a safe location, using a steering wheel lock, or double-checking that every door is locked, but there are other steps to take as well.

Read on for the top tips to prevent stolen items and avoid car theft!

1. Activate the Car Alarm

One of the first steps toward preventing car break-ins and a good way to deter thieves is by activating the automotive alarm system.

A vehicle that is armed and ready to sound an alert should a break-in attempt be made is less likely to be an appealing target. Prevent thieves and protect your car by always leaving the car alarm system activated when not driving, especially when you leave it overnight.

Should any windows be broken, or a door lock jimmied, the alarm will sound and hopefully chase off the thief.

2. Advertise Your Car Security System

On the rare occasion that your car does not have a built-in alarm, you can get one installed by an aftermarket automotive supplier. And on top of having the alarm activated and the police alerted, it’s a good idea to advertise its existence in your vehicle to deter a car thief.

One of the ways you can do this is by putting an alarm sticker on your car windows to let people—and thieves—know that a security system protects your vehicle. This works even if you don’t actually have an alarm system, as a thief will be unlikely to call your bluff!

3. Lock & Check the Car Doors

This might be common knowledge already, but it bears repeating because it is so important. Always lock your doors when exiting or entering your car. This will not only prevent a break-in but also protect you even if you’re just parked and waiting inside.

Additionally, take extra precautions by pulling on your door handles to ensure the lock is activated before walking away. A thief can use jammers on a cell phone that block the locking signal sent from your key fob and prevent the lock from activating, so double-checking that all the doors and trunk are secured is essential.

4. Hide or Remove Valuables

One of the top safety tips for not getting your car broken into is to hide, or better yet, take out all valuables. This should be done every time you exit your vehicle and leave it unattended. Such items include the following:

    • Backpacks or Briefcases
    • Wallets or Purses
    • Cell Phones
    • Laptops or Laptop Bags
    • Gaming Devices
    • GPS Devices
    • Jewelry
    • Loose Change

Essentially, make sure that you remove anything that might draw attention to the inside of your car. You should also remove any full shopping bags that might tempt thieves, putting them in the trunk at the very least.

Additionally, it’s important to remove or hide valuable items while in a safe location. For instance, hiding items in parking lots or in front of a convenience store is not very private and can draw attention. Rearrange your car in the garage or another secure place. Because you never know who is watching!

5. Clear Your Center Console

The center console and glove box are great for storing your personal items when out and about, but make sure that you don’t leave anything in them when you’re not in the car.

This includes removing any important documents or paperwork that contains sensitive information from inside the car—insurance documents, service records, personal letters, bank statements, or forms of ID.

Keeping things inside your console or glove box can tempt a thief, especially if they think there are valuables inside or even spare change.

6. Don’t Leave the Car Running

Not only can this mistake lead to valuable items going missing, but also your entire vehicle can be stolen! Experts everywhere recommend never leaving your car running without you present, not even when de-icing your vehicle in the winter.

No matter where you are, all it takes is a moment of distraction, and your car could suddenly be gone, so never leave a running vehicle unattended.

Instead, always switch off the engine and lock the doors when you are not driving. This includes dropping someone off at school or the airport or when making a delivery, such as Uber Eats or DoorDash. Plus, this will save you money on gas! 

7. Be Mindful of Modifications

Though modifying your vehicle can amplify its street appeal, it also makes it more appealing to thieves. Hub caps, lighting mods, and wings all make your car more of a target for theft. Add modifications, but keep in mind that they might be stolen.

8. Install Safety Devices

Additional safety devices are essential to deter break-ins, too. This includes a steering wheel lock and additional locking mechanisms for the pedals and gear stick. Such visual deterrents are helping in preventing theft.

Thieves can make a lucrative income by removing and reselling your wheels. So protect them by using lug nut locks or wheel clamps when not driving. These devices can be a bit cumbersome but come in handy on special occasions—when you are going on an extended trip or if your vehicle is out of commission.

Put identifying marks on your car as well, including etching the car’s VIN onto each window for an easy ID, should the vehicle be stolen. Even that might prevent a thief from breaking in, as it causes too much hassle for a quick getaway.

9. Keep an Eye on Who Is Looking

It is common for a thief to case the situation before attempting to steal anything, so keep an eye out for people who might be looking for an easy car to rob.

If you notice suspicious activity, be preemptive and remove yourself from the area before alerting a parking lot attendant or police. It could end up saving someone a lot of hassle.

10. Watch Where You Leave Your Keys

Be especially cautious when it comes to where your keys are. Never lend your keys to someone you don’t trust implicitly, and avoid leaving them around where a burglar could grab them.

Additionally, it’s crucial not to leave your keys inside the car, such as on the dash or the seats. A thief can spot them through the windshield and break in to get them, driving your vehicle off without an issue.

11. Park at Safe Places

Park at safe places and have some peace of mind about your car. There are several cardinal rules for parking to prevent break-ins, and they are all essential.

Always park in a well-lit area, such as under a street light or near another illuminated structure. Never leave your car in a dark, shadowy place that would-be burglars might see as an opportunity.

On top of well-lit areas, avoid parking in isolated or seemingly abandoned locations. You should always park your car around other peoples’ vehicles, around active businesses, and hopefully, in sight of security cameras.

Lastly, always trust your gut when choosing a place to park. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your vehicle in a specific location, even if it appears to be a safe street spot or public garage, don’t do it.

By finding a different place to park, you are better safe than sorry, and it might save you a lot of hassle in the long run if your gut instinct is correct!

12. Report Attempted Break-Ins

Even if your vehicle is safe, it’s important to report all attempted break-ins or even suspicious behavior to the police. This will hopefully deter a thief from making the same mistake twice if there is the possibility of being caught.

13. Insure Your Vehicle

Automotive insurance is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your vehicle. Though you can put many preventative measures in place to deter car theft, it could still happen to you.

In that case, it’s wise to have a comprehensive insurance plan in place. Plus, if any damages outside of theft occur to any of your cars, you may be covered.

It’s better to be safe than sorry!