Wednesday, October 17, 2012

At Home Theft Prevention For Your Classic Car or Muscle Car

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

We all tend to feel more secure when we're at home. It's our sanctuary from life's stresses. Usually all of our most cherished items are at home, including our classic car, muscle car, antique, street rod, vintage truck, or our project car. Still, more than one third of all car thefts occur from a home or residence!

Tesla Coil Providing Unique Car Protection!
Photo Credits: TeslaDownUnder.com
While most people have learned that it's a great idea to lock up the house, many don't set the alarm when they leave. And, many take reasonable precautions such as making sure windows are closed and locked, and that we haven't done anything to draw attention to the fact that we're not home. But, you'd be amazed at some of the simple, and obvious things that people overlook when it comes to preventing car theft from their own home!

In previous articles, we've looked at being careful talking too loosely about our cherished rides, and where and how to park our cars to minimize car theft risk. This week we're looking at vulnerabilities we have at home.

Where You Choose To Park Your Classic Car


We touched on this one last week, but specifically related to your home, here are some tips to consider. Think carefully where you want to store your classic car.
  • If you have an inside attached garage, it may make sense to keep it there, as alarm systems can more easily be incorporated into your total multi-layer security plan.
  • If you have an unattached garage, the car itself may be adequately protected from the elements, but more vulnerable to theft because it may be a distance away fro your main house structure.
  • If you have no choice but to keep your car or truck in your driveway, try to select an area which will provide the best protection, visibility and difficult access for a theft if possible. Pull as close to the house and if possible block yourself in with something large, heavy and difficult to move such as another vehicle. 
  • If you are in an area where your only choice is on-street parking, you're especially vulnerable and need to consider spending extra money in your anti-theft devices and multi-layer security protection.

Secure Your Garage


Even if you park your vehicle in an enclosed garage you may in inadvertently send a signal that there's something valuable inside. Passerby's peer in each time you have your garage door open, and if you've got a hot car, you can bet everyone in the neighborhood (and it's visitors) know!
  • Make sure you've got a good lock on your garage door, and keep it locked! This may sound silly, but you wouldn't believe how many people just rely on their garage door opener closing the door and they don't bolt it closed if they're going on a trip or not using the garage for a period of time. Remember, you want to make it as difficult as possible. A determined thief will always find a way, but your goal is to slow them down.
  • Put blinds, shades or curtains on your garage windows so an "opportunity thief" (someone who wanders about looking for an opportunity) cannot peer in.
  • If you have a home alarm, make sure the garage doors and windows have motion activated sensors that hook into your system. If you don't have a whole-house alarm system, consider installing a system for your garage (we'll be looking closely at alarms in a future article).

Don't Forget to Use Self Deterrents


Just because you've gt your car parked at home doesn't mean you should forget the basics in theft prevention. We'll take a closer look at each of these, and many more, in upcoming weeks:
  • Lock all doors and windows.
  • Never leave car keys in the ignition or anywhere in the car.
  • Don't leave a set of keys in the garage (on a hook or hidden).
  • Use hood locks.
  • Use steering wheel and/or brake locks.
  • Use a kill switch.
  • Disconnect and/or remove the car's battery (depending on how often you use it)
  • Use a fuel cut-off switch
  • Remove the Distributor Cap and/or Ignition Rotor
  • Remove Fuel Pump Fuse
  • Take a wheel off if you don't use the vehicle regularly!

Make Sure You Have Adequate Classic Car Insurance


Take a look at both your homeowner's insurance and a classic car insurance policy. Talk with an agent who can help advise about potential loop-holes in coverage. If you don't already have a classic car insurance policy, consider getting one. The cost is low compared to auto insurance for your modern daily driver, and it can mean the difference of losing your cherished ride forever, or the possibility of being able to begin again with another without losing your shirt.

And remember, the use of deterrents and active anti-theft devices can save you money on your premiums. Read the full article on insurance in the resources link below, and don't procrastinate!


Consider An Alarm System


Now I'm not recommending this one in particular, although you've got to admit, it'd be pretty cool to see the expression on a thief's face if you could rig it up so it was motion-activated!  Here's the video to the photos as shown above.



All kidding aside, all the theft deterrents and alarms in the world won't help keep your ride safe unless you actively use them. Remember to activate them whenever you're not in your car. One day you may be grateful you did.

REFERENCES / RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Classic Car News - Identifying The Potential Classic Car Thief - Know Who Your Friends Are
Classic Car News - How & Where To Park Your Classic Car or Muscle Car In Order To Minimize The Threat of Theft
Classic Car News - Purchasing Classic Car Insurance - Why You Don't Want To Procrastinate!
No Nonsense Self Defense - Car Theft Prevention
TeslaDownUnder.com - Tesla Car Thief Protection

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.
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