5 Things an Anti-Theft Device Can Do To Keep Your Car Safe

Anti-theft devices for cars can prevent thieves and vandals from targeting your vehicle. Things like steering locks, brake locks, and alarm systems with blinking lights can make many thieves think twice about attempting to steal or break into a car.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Brad Larsen

UPDATED: Apr 15, 2022

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Things to Know

  • Many anti-theft devices like steering wheel locks, brake locks, and catalytic converter cages can prevent damage and theft
  • Anti-theft devices work to discourage thieves or vandals from targeting your vehicle and safeguard your car 
  • Car insurance companies may offer insurance discounts for drivers who have anti-theft devices installed in or on their vehicles

Having an anti-theft device on your vehicle can keep your car safe from thieves and vandals, but it can be difficult to know which anti-theft device is best for you. Many kinds of anti-theft devices can impact your safety, your driving experience, and your car’s security when it is out of your sight. Catalytic converter cages, steering wheel locks, or alarm systems are only a few examples of anti-theft devices that can protect your car and prevent theft. Knowing which one to select for your vehicle is the first step in fostering vehicle safety.

Anti-theft devices for cars can prevent vandalism, theft, and damage to your vehicle. Five anti-theft devices stand apart from the rest because they are reliable and create a culture of security and safety in the car industry.

In addition, getting an anti-theft device installed in your vehicle may qualify you for discount car insurance rates. Some of these discounts can save you significant amounts annually.

To examine all your best estimates on the market, enter your ZIP code into our free car insurance comparison tool to view rates from dozens of top auto insurance companies.

What is an anti-theft device?

An anti-theft device can be any device that discourages or reduces the chances of vandalism on or theft of a vehicle. An anti-theft device can also increase the odds of finding lost parts or a stolen car. For example, the metals in a catalytic converter — a small portion of a car’s underbelly responsible for reducing harmful gas emissions — are worth a lot of money and are profitable for thieves. Catalytic converter cages are available for purchase online and discourage thieves from even attempting to steal a catalytic converter. These cages are sturdy and make the area inaccessible.

Other anti-theft devices have different purposes. Some make steering or braking impossible, causing thieves to think twice before attempting to steal a vehicle with an anti-theft device. Drivers who use more than one anti-theft device can significantly reduce the odds of their cars being stolen or damaged.

What is a passive disabling device?

Most vehicles come with a passive disabling device. This anti-theft device completely disables the necessary functions that a vehicle needs to work. Fuel and ignition operations will not function, and the car will remain off. The car can resume typical functions when the driver unlocks the vehicle via a key.

Passive disabling devices automatically turn on when the vehicle has shut off, the key is removed from the ignition, and the driver’s side door has been closed. With passive disabling devices, a driver only needs to unlock the car to resume normal functions.

Most late models of cars come from the manufacturer with passive disabling devices built into them.

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How an Anti-Theft Device Can Protect Your Vehicle

With comprehensive insurance, car insurance covers a stolen car. However, most drivers want to avoid the headache and paperwork of a purloined vehicle. Anti-theft devices are ideal ways to prevent stolen vehicles, damage to your car, and vandalism.

Anti-theft systems work to protect your vehicle by discouraging thieves and vandals from manipulating, damaging, or stealing your car. Taking extra precautions so that you and your vehicle will not have to rely on your car’s passive disabling device is ideal.

Using a second or third anti-theft device can help further discourage thieves and make it much harder for others to tamper with your vehicle. Different anti-theft devices have separate functions and can have varying impacts on your car’s safety and your auto insurance premiums.

Catalytic Converter Cages Can Discourage Theft and Damage

Drivers who live in high-risk areas can rely on catalytic converter cages to discourage thieves from tampering with their vehicles. Removing a catalytic converter without proper tools can cause damage to a car, and thieves usually do not care to take precautions or use the proper equipment. A catalytic converter cage can prevent thieves from even attempting to steal a catalytic converter and cause damage to your vehicle’s undercarriage. A catalytic converter cage surrounds the catalytic converter and has thick, heavy metal bars that many thieves will not be able to get past.

In addition to using a catalytic converter cage, some drivers park the rear end of their vehicle close to walls or other cars to keep thieves away. Catalytic converters must be removed from under the trunk, so parking against a wall can prevent theft.

Steering Wheel Locks Make Steering Hard or Impossible for Thieves

Steering wheels locks can make steering inconvenient and dangerous. Thieves seeking to steal a car containing this contraption will not drive correctly, putting them at risk of getting pulled over in a stolen vehicle. The increased odds of being caught with a stolen vehicle that has a steering wheel lock will not be worth the trouble for many thieves.

Instead, thieves will search for easier prey, which will likely be cars that are unlocked and unarmed with any anti-theft devices.

Alarm Systems With Blinking Lights Can Alert You of Trouble

Alarm systems often come with an audible alarm that will go off to alert you of distress. Ideally, you should make the evidence of your alarm system as noticeable as possible. Many cars come from the factory with bright, blinking lights on the driver’s side door to alert everyone that the vehicle has an alarm.

When the alarm goes off, you can call local authorities, investigate the trouble, and likely cause thieves to flee the scene.

Brake Locks Make Brakes Impossible To Use

Brake locks are another fantastic way to prevent thieves from taking an interest in your vehicle. A brake lock will make your brake pedal inaccessible, which indicates that a thief will not be able to slow down or stop the car. Thieves likely will not attempt to steal a vehicle they cannot control, as it will only cause more damage and make it easier for them to be caught.

Many brake locks are small and unnoticeable. Acquiring a large, more obvious brake lock may benefit you because thieves will not miss it when peering through the windows.

GPS Trackers Can Locate Stolen Vehicles

Installing GPS tracking on your car can locate a stolen vehicle in merely a few minutes. Not only will this assist local authorities in finding your stolen car, but it will also help them find the thief who stole it.

Displaying very noticeable stickers to warn of the GPS tracking system within the vehicle can dissuade thieves from targeting your car in the first place.

Anti-Theft Devices Can Keep Your Car Safe

Using one or more anti-theft devices on your vehicle can enhance your safety and boost your peace of mind. Knowing which anti-theft device is best for you and your car can be challenging, but comparing a few and selecting those that match your deepest concerns will have you on the way to a safer car.

Additionally, you may be eligible for car insurance discounts by installing an anti-theft device. The increased security precautions and odds of finding a stolen vehicle can make car insurance companies more interested in offering discounted insurance rates.

Not only can anti-theft devices prevent damage to your vehicle or the theft of your car, but they can also give you some comfort and peace of mind.

If you are considering purchasing auto insurance, you will want to browse the best estimates, discounts, and car insurance companies available. Enter your ZIP code into our free car insurance comparison tool to browse the leading auto insurance companies on the market.

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