Automobile Anti-Theft Devices
- Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 February 2021
There was a day when no one even thought about purchasing anti-theft devices. Cars were parked on the street or in parking lots with their doors unlocked and windows wide open; nobody worried about their car getting stolen. But now it’s a $30,000 investment parked on the road, and buying anti-theft devices is standard practice today.
Vehicle Thefts Today
Manufacturers of anti-theft devices have kept pace with the growing demand to protect cars from being stolen. The industry has progressed from mechanical locks to the sophisticated radio devices that are now “standard equipment” in many luxury automobiles.
According to recent statistics, a car is stolen every 25 seconds in the United States. That’s over a million stolen vehicles each year. It’s also one of the reasons today’s anti-theft devices have become so sophisticated. If preventing a car from being stolen is nearly impossible, then at least it’s possible to quickly determine where the car is located so it can be recovered.
Mechanical Anti-Theft Devices
About twenty-five years ago, there was a sharp rise in the number of cars stolen, and the desire by consumers to have a simple mechanical locking device to help protect their investments. Early devices included relatively crude steering wheel locks until the day The Club was introduced.
The Original Club® is still the top mechanical steering wheel lock used in the world. It includes steel construction that resists both sawing and hammering. The device was made to universally fit all kinds of vehicles. This includes cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs.
The Club® LX is the latest generation of mechanical anti theft devices, and it includes improvements such as laser encrypted keys and solid steel hooks. In fact, the manufacturer is so confident of the anti theft abilities of this device, they include guarantees up to $1,000.
Electronic Car Alarms and Immobilizers
Next up on the sophistication ladder are electronic engine immobilizers. These are frequently installed as standard equipment in many new cars. These electronic devices immobilize a car by shutting off a portion of the electrical or fuel system. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, for a thief to steal a car.
These immobilizers can be activated through a small radio device or via an on-board system that detects an intruder tampering with the car. An audible alarm typically sounds when the car’s anti-theft device is activated to further discourage the thief.
Stolen Vehicle Recovery Systems
These final two types of anti-theft devices are known as stolen vehicle recovery systems. These devices go beyond just trying to prevent a car from being stolen. They help the police to track and recover the vehicle.
LoJack Car Recovery System
LoJack really did some ground-breaking work when they partnered with law enforcement officials. Today, they are the only anti-theft and car recovery system that is fully integrated with the police. That’s because LoJack provides law enforcement officials with special devices to enable them to track and recover stolen vehicles.
LoJack uses a patented technology that consists of a small radio frequency transceiver that his hidden in the car itself. LoJack is integrated with police computer systems and is linked to the unique VIN each car is assigned.
Once the theft of a LoJack equipped car is reported as stolen and entered into the police database, the LoJack transmitter emits a signal that can be received by law enforcement vehicles equipped with a LoJack tracking unit. More than 90% of LoJack equipped cars are recovered.
OnStar Vehicle Recovery System
General Motors has also made a huge commitment to the safety and security of its car owners. Starting in 2007, OnStar became standard equipment on the complete range of GM cars, trucks, and SUVs sold in the U.S. and Canada.
OnStar is currently packaged in two different ways, but the lower-priced Safe & Sound package contains a complete range of anti-theft measures for cars including:
- Remote Door Unlock
- Remote Horn and Lights
- Stolen Vehicle Location
Other features of OnStar include automatic notification of air bag deployment, vehicle diagnostics, emergency services, and accident assistance. All these features are offered at a price of roughly $20 per month.
Most car insurance carriers offer their policyholders a discount on their premiums when cars are equipped with anti-theft equipment. The exact discount will vary by insurance company.
One rule of thumb that can be used when trying to figure out which device might offer a larger discount on the premium is this: The more automated the car’s anti theft device, the larger the discount.
That’s because automation lowers, or completely eliminates, the possibility of a car owner forgetting to connect or activate the anti-theft device. If it engages automatically, then insurance companies can be assured the system will protect the car. This allows them to pass on the potential savings back to policyholders through a larger discount.
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