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Four Used Car Security Tips

Have you bought a used car or plan on buying one soon? In the lead-up to your purchase you have compared different makes and models and searched for the best deal. But, have you considered aspects such as theft prevention and vehicle recovery?

It goes without saying that used cars lack the modern security features of new cars. According to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Recovery Council (NMVTRC), in 2016 82% of cars stolen were over 5 years old, 44% were between 5 and 14 years old and 42% were worth under $5000. Therefore, if you are purchasing a used car it is highly recommended that you take precautionary measure to protect it from theft and consider purchasing some after market security features.

The Nissan Pulsar - a hot commodity for joyriders, especially pre-1995 models

Park Safely and Secure Your Keys

Park your car somewhere on your property. If you have a car port, park it with the front facing away from the road. If you have a garage, close the door and set up a motion sensor activated light.

If you’re parking it out on the road, remember: light is a thief deterrent. So, park your car somewhere that is well-lit in plain sight. Remove any temptations from inside your car, such as bags, electronics, wallets and purses.

The easiest way to steal a car is by obtaining the keys. If you’re at home, ensure your keys are safely stored away from plain sight (this means not on a key hook or in a bowl) and close to you. If you’re out of the house, make sure your keys are with you at all times. Consider attaching a large keychain to make your keys easier to find or link your wallet to your keys with a chain.

Invest in Anti-Theft Measures

The cheapest anti-theft devices include steering wheel locks and wheel clamps. The sight of one of these large chunks of metal may deter a thief altogether. However, they are cumbersome and must be removed every time you drive and attached again when you park.

Immobilisers prevent your car from being hot-wired and are mandatory in countries such as Australia, Canada and Germany. If you are unsure whether your car has an immobiliser, check the owner’s manual or as the seller. However, keep in mind that most pre-2000 cars are likely not armed with immobilisers. And even if they are, immobilisers are thwarted if a thief has your keys, which is easier to steal than your car.

A GPS tracker such as Black Knight is essential if you are purchasing a used car from the last decade. A GPS tracker is an affordable and effective anti-theft device that can track your car in real time, log your travel history, show how fast you were driving and how long you stayed parked in a certain area. If a thief disables or removes the tracker, your car’s last known location is still a valuable lead for the police to retrieve your car.

Security Rating

If you are worried about the likelihood of your used car being stolen, the NMVTRC has developed a theft risk rating system that rates your car based on the number of theft incidents per registered vehicles. Simply enter the make and model of your car to find out how secure your used car is.


The notion that thieves only target the newer cars is a misconception. Older cars are more likely to be targets of vehicle theft, given their lack of newer security features. Securing a used car is not a major undertaking. Use common sense when leaving your car unattended and affordable anti-theft devices such as GPS trackers are essential for protecting your car from theft.

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