Caring for your vehicle is as much about ensuring it runs smoothly as it is about keeping it safe and secure. There are a variety of different methods to keep your vehicle as secure as possible, some are very straight forward but by taking a bit of time to consider these suggestions, you could save yourself trouble in the future.
Making sure your car is securely locked is the first step to preventing theft. Most Ford models feature double-locking functionality as standard, and you can double-lock your car by pressing the lock button on your key fob twice. By doing this you protect your car against being unlocked from the inside, for example if a thief were to break a window and reach inside to open a door. Of course, this does mean that you should never double-lock your car when a person remains inside, as if they needed to get out in an emergency they would not be able to open the doors.
You should firmly close all the windows and if your car has a sunroof you should check to make sure it is shut when you leave the vehicle. If you drive a convertible the top should be closed when you leave it unattended, as much to guard against the British weather as to protect it from theft. You should never leave an animal in a locked car however, as it can suffer from heat exhaustion.
When you lock your vehicle remotely with the key fob you should always check for confirmation that the doors are locked before leaving the car. For example, most Ford cars show you that they are locked by flashing the hazard lights and some fold the door mirrors in automatically. If you do not see this happen, you should always return to the vehicle to check – car thieves have been known to block the locking signal with radio frequency-jamming equipment in large carparks.
We recommend that you keep spare keys and keys for additional security systems such as alloy wheel locking nuts in your home. This is much safer than storing spares in your vehicle, as thieves often know exactly where to look for them, and this may invalidate your insurance claim if your car is stolen. However, even within your home there are some hiding places which are safer than others.
The best place to keep your keys is in a drawer or cupboard, out of sight. This should also be far away from windows and doors, as there have been cases of keys being taken from window ledges. This is done using long rods with hooks attached to the end to ‘fish’ for keys through open windows or letter boxes. You can also protect your home against key-fishing by fitting a wire mesh cage around the inside of your letterbox. This will catch your letters and prevent people from reaching inside your house.
Keeping yourself safe is the most important thing, and for that reason you should leave your keys as far as possible from your bedroom overnight. If your house is burgled and there is a threat of violence against you to try and obtain your car keys, you need to be able to describe where they are and direct someone to them. You should never take your keys to bed with you, as this puts you in more danger in the event of a house burglary.
Your Ford model will already be equipped with advanced safety and security features as part of the standard specification. There may also be optional extra features available to provide even better protection. You can also choose to fit additional security systems after you have purchased your car, such as a catalytic converter anti-theft device.
Any extra security device that you fit should meet Thatcham or Sold Secure Standards. You can purchase a range of high-quality security products from Peoples Ford dealerships in Liverpool and Scotland. Our qualified technicians will also fit any electrical systems for you to make sure they are safe and work properly to provide the protection required.
If your model is fitted with alloy wheels they should have locking wheel nuts. These are usually fitted by the manufacturer, but if not we advise you purchase these to prevent thieves from taking the valuable component of the wheel. You will get a locking-nut key which you should ideally keep somewhere safe away from your car. Thieves often look in the glove compartment or where the jack is kept, so definitely avoid keeping the key there.
If you have gone to the effort and expense of having additional security systems fitted to your vehicle, it makes sense to remember to use them when you leave the vehicle unattended. You may find it helpful to leave a small note by the ignition, for example, to attach your steering wheel or gear lever lock before you get out of the car.
You should only ever leave your vehicle unattended when it is locked securely. While it might be tempting to leave it briefly with the engine running to warm up, this offers a prime target for opportunistic thieves. If your car is stolen with the engine running, you won’t be able to claim on your vehicle insurance policy.
The same applies if your car is unlocked with the keys inside. Store the spare key somewhere away from the car, and try not to choose obvious hiding places like the glove compartment - these are the first places a car thief is likely to check.
You can make your car less of an obvious target by hiding valuables out of sight in the boot. It is even better if you can take them out of the car altogether. We advise that you put bags, laptops and other valuable items in the boot of your car before you begin your journey. If you do it in the carpark where you are about to leave your car unattended, you may be seen by a potential thief. Once these items are in the boot, ensure they are fully out of sight by using the parcel shelf to cover the boot space.
It is also a good idea to bring valuables inside overnight, particularly items such as toolboxes and equipment, which is often left in cars and vans and which thieves frequently look out for. Tools are often not covered by vehicle insurance, but there are additional locking options available from Peoples Ford dealerships in Liverpool and Scotland which provide extra security.
Clearly labelling or marking your car and the accessories inside it will deter thieves and help the police to recover them if they are stolen. Your audio unit may be able to store your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), postcode and registration number, which makes it much more likely that the audio system or car will be tracked and recovered.
You can buy a vehicle security marking kit from any Peoples Ford dealership in Liverpool or Scotland. With this you can mark your car’s windows and interior units, such as satellite navigation systems. This is particularly important with portable items, which you should not leave loose in your vehicle when you leave it unattended. Remove items such as portable satellite navigation systems and take these with you, being careful to wipe any marks from the windscreen where the equipment was attached.
The catalytic converter on your vehicle, which extracts damaging emissions from exhaust gas, contains traces of precious metals. Because of this they are often targeted by thieves for their scrap value. In the Ford Transit Connect, Transit and Ranger models the catalytic converter is more exposed and therefore more accessible due to the height of the vehicle. Peoples Ford dealerships in Scotland and Liverpool supply and fit catalytic converter anti-theft shields to protect this valuable component. This is only necessary in high-riding commercial vehicles; in passenger cars the catalytic converter is not accessible to opportunistic thieves.