Millions of cars are stolen each year, most of them in broad daylight and from unsuspicious locations. Much like any other kinds of theft, car theft is something you never think would happen to you until it does. Cars are some of the most valuable and personal belongings, the security of which people take for granted. You truly will never know what it feels like to lose a car until it’s been taken from you. Luckily, there are ways to prevent theft, and we hope you read this before theft happens to you. Here are a few simple steps you can take to avoid car theft and keep your vehicle safe at all times.

How to Keep Your Vehicle Safe

Lock Your Car Doors

As simple as that may sound, it’s not uncommon for people to leave their cars unlocked. It could be out of convenience or pure forgetfulness, but it happens. Some people park their car and even leave it running while they leave it for just a second.  Maybe to get something forgotten at home, a quick run into the convenience store or even a quick dash to get money from the ATM. Whatever it is that you’re doing, don’t forget to turn your car off, take the keys out of the ignition, and lock your doors. Locking will be your first and most effective defense against easy theft.

How to Keep Your Vehicle Safe

Hide All Your Valuables

You’ve heard the usual advice. Never leave your purse in the car. Don’t leave laptops and cameras in plain view. However, many people don’t realize that there are plenty of other valuables in the car as well that some burglars might be after and that’s your personal information. Don’t leave your license or your insurance information just lying around. Both those things have pertinent and private information that people can use against you. Also, never leave valuables in the trunk. Most trunks are very easy to break into.

How to Keep Your Vehicle Safe

Turn on Your Alarm

If you have an active alarm installed on your vehicle, that’s a great step to have taken. Now all you need to do is to remember to turn it on. Most cars will turn on the active alarm when you press the lock button on your key fob. Other alarms might have to be activated a different way. However, it needs to be activated, make sure you know how to turn on your alarm and make sure you remember to do it each time you exit your vehicle. Most professional car thieves will know which cars have active alarms and will more than likely skip the ones that do.

How to Keep Your Vehicle Safe

Use Immobilization Devices

One big deterrent to car theft is the use of immobilization devices. This can be a steering wheel club or a pedal lock. If a burglar sees that there’s no way they can move your vehicle even after they’ve broken in, there’s 99% chance that they will leave your car alone. The other 1% is the part where they may still access your car illegally to obtain whatever is inside.

How to Keep Your Vehicle Safe

Find a Good Parking Spot

This is mostly just common sense. You should always park in good parking areas for your car’s safety and for your own personal safety as well. Make sure there’s always good lighting wherever you are—whether it’s day or night. Avoid parking in spaces that are close to exits; it just makes the getaway too easy for burglars. Pay for monitored lots if you can. They may be pricier, but at least you know that there’s some type of security measures being employed.

How to Keep Your Vehicle Safe

Never Leave Keys Outside Your Car

This is probably the first thing that burglars will check. They will look through the usual hiding spots to see if anyone has left their car keys there for some reason. If you think you have a spot that no car thief will find, you need to rethink that because they’ve found it already.

These are professionals, and it’s their job to know where people hide things. You also never know when someone is targeting you or your car from afar. If this is the case, it really doesn’t matter where you put your keys because they will see. Avoid doing this if you can. Whatever reason you may have for leaving your keys outside your car, it’s not worth it; you can certainly find another way. Anything is better than coming back to your car only to find that it’s gone.