According to the Insurance Information Institute, about 748,841 vehicles were stolen in the US in 2018 alone. Additionally, as time goes on, thieves are getting smarter and stealing vehicles easier and faster. Luckily, there are some precautions you can take to protect yourself and your car.
For example, you could always park your car in an area with video survivance, or somewhere where you can see it — but these won’t always work. Also, while the number of thefts has decreased since the previous year, it’s not because there are fewer thieves — it’s because there are more anti-theft devices. Getting one of these devices is the best thing you can do to protect your car and other valuable possessions in it.
In this article, you’ll learn about the best anti-theft devices and find out which one is the best for you. But first, let’s take a look at all the different types of anti-theft devices, so you can make an informed decision before purchasing one.
Types of Anti-Theft Devices
Anti-theft devices come in all shapes and sizes, and the one that you choose depends on your budget and preferences. There are two distinct types of anti-theft devices. One is a more traditional option that physically blocks anyone from using your car, and the other can track it if it’s been stolen.
Traditional Anti-Theft Devices
Steering Wheel Locks
Steering wheel locks are by far one of the more popular options, partially because of how simple it is to install them. These locks are installed on your steering wheel and will render your car completely undrivable until you unlock them with a key. Also, for how cheap and easy to install they are — steering wheel locks are quite effective.
They come in various sizes, and all you need to do is place them around your steering wheel rim. You can install them by extending the pole and locking the handle in place. Thus, their length will prevent a potential thief from turning the steering wheel and driving off.
Some thieves simply want to make a quick buck without going through the hassle of stealing your entire car. Instead, they try to take parts of your car, such as the engine or the battery, and sell them for an easy profit. That’s where hood locks come in.
As the name suggests, you’ll need to attach these locks on either side of your hood. By setting them firmly in place, you’ll make it impossible for anyone else to open your hood. You’ll only be able to open it with a key, so no thief will be able to steal parts of your car.
As they’re somewhat easy to remove and carry, tires are also frequently targeted by thieves. Luckily, tire locks can keep both your tires and the rest of your car firmly in place.
Additionally, these locks are often used by police officers to prevent traffic offenders from fleeing the scene. But you can also use them as an anti-theft device. They are also quite simple to install, as all you need to do is secure them around your tire.
Electronic immobilizer sounds like a high-tech gadget — but it’s just a keyless card you use to unlock and drive your car. Most newer models come with electronic immobilizers already installed, but if you drive an oldtimer — you should consider buying one. The anti-theft device uses Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) to send a signal from your car to the key, which also contains an RFID chip.
When the signals are exchanged, your car doors get locked, and so does your fuel system. Thus, a potential thief won’t even be able to open your car’s door, let alone start the engine. Also, since each RFID is unique, you’ll be the only one with access to your car.
Kill switches are slightly more complex than most other anti-theft devices, so they offer you more security. They work by shutting down the electrical system of your car, thus rendering it useless. Therefore, installing a kill switch will make it impossible for anyone to enter your car and take it for a joyride.
To set up your system and unlock your car, all you’ll need to do is follow the user’s manual. Additionally, you can hide the switch anywhere in your car. I would recommend putting it under your front seat, so a potential thief can’t spot it.
Ah, the sound that is known and heard often all over the world — the car alarm. It is the most popular anti-theft device by far, and it does a great job of keeping your car safe. The alarm typically goes off every time someone tries to forcibly open your car door or a window. However, some alarms are extremely sensitive and will sound off when someone so much as touches your car, or makes a loud noise near it.
So, these devices will warn you when someone tries to steal your car, but they can also produce a lot of false alarms. Many cars come with alarms already installed, but if you don’t have one, you can install it quickly, for a small amount of money. Additionally, the company that manufactures the alarms will probably give you a sticker to place on your windshield to act as an additional deterrent.
Pedal Jacks Anti-Theft Devices
Pedal security locks work by blocking your brakes and thus preventing your car from being stolen. Pedal locks are one by far of the most convenient car anti-theft devices, as you can install them in a matter of seconds.
They’re typically made of reinforced stainless steel and are quite difficult to bend or break. Additionally, you can get one that’s painted a bright yellow or red, so it can act as a visual deterrent as well.
Anti-Theft Devices for Retrieving Your Car
We’re living in a century that has been filled with various technological advances — and anti-theft devices reflect that. They are also called “advanced car theft prevention devices,” and will help you retrieve your car once it’s been stolen.
Electronic Tracking Devices
Electronic tracking devices come in handy once your car has been stolen, as they can help the police in catching the thief. Moreover, they allow law enforcement to track your car down in a matter of minutes.
So, if worse comes to worst, and your car gets stolen, an officer will first input your vehicle identification number (VIN) in the National Crime Database. Next, they’ll track your car down whether it’s somewhere on the road or hidden in someone’s garage. Finally, because there are over 14,000 computers being used to track stolen vehicles — the recovery rate is pretty high.
GPS Tracking Devices
GPS trackers are thin, easy to install, and they maintain and use a GPS signal to track your car wherever it may be. The device also comes with an antenna and a chipset to show you the exact location of your car at all times. So, a GPS tracking device can help the police find your car, and increase the likelihood of you getting it back.
However, there’s a downside to relying solely on advanced car prevention devices — they can’t actually prevent your car from being stolen. So, ideally, you should combine them with conventional devices, such as alarms or locks for ultimate protection. Now that you know about all the types of anti-theft devices, let’s talk about the best products currently on the market.
Reviews of Top 8 Best Anti-Theft Devices
With so many different kinds of anti-theft devices, it can be difficult to find the best that the market has to offer. To make things easy for you, I have created a list of the 8 best anti-theft devices, with one for each category I mentioned.
The Club 1000 Original Club Steering Wheel Lock
A wheel lock is by far one of the simplest, yet most effective anti-theft devices you can get. The model has a body of solid steel, and it is nearly impossible to break or saw through. The Club 1000 also comes in red color — so it also acts as a visual deterrent.
Additionally, it has solid steel hooks and a patented self-locking feature that will lock your wheel in place with a single pull. Additionally, you can install it on various types of vehicles, such as SUVs, vans, and light trucks. Unfortunately, the steering wheel lock can get stuck at times, and you might have to call a locksmith to remove it.
|Made of solid steel||The system can lock itself|
|Easy to install|
|The color acts as a visual deterrent|
Mr. Gasket 1472 Super Security Hood Lock Kit
This hood lock kit is a great anti-theft device, especially if you pair it with a GPS or electronic tracking device. The device is incredibly easy to install, but be absolutely sure about its placement before drilling a hole in your car.
The Mr. Gasket Hood Lock Kit comes with 2 fully threaded lock pins, 2 chrome-plated locksets, 4 nuts, and 2 keys. Additionally, the lock kit features a pick-proof cylinder with a key lock mechanism that makes breaking into your car even more difficult. Unfortunately, although the lock works great for flat hoods, it might prove difficult to install it on slanted hoods.
|Easy to install||Difficult to install on slanted hoods|
Trimax tcl65 Deluxe Universal Wheel Chock Lock
Trimax TCL65 Deluxe features a clamp lock style is painted bright yellow, and is made from heavy gauge steel. Thus, it will act as both a visual and physical deterrent.
This device is of quite high quality and is even coated with epoxy powder to prevent corrosion. It also has a built-in chock to decrease the odds of someone stealing your car even further. However, as is the case with most wheel locks, it’s a bit difficult to set up and remove the Trimax TCL65 Deluxe. So, if you plan on locking your car several times during the day — you might get sick of the wheel lock.
|Built-in chock||Hard to set up and remove|
|Fits all wheels|
Custom Automotive Kill Switch Kit
Kill switches are popular among car-drivers the world over, and they can easily stop would-be thieves in their tracks. They work by disabling the electrical current that runs into your ignition to the rest of your car. So, your car can only start when you use the correct key.
This is one of the most inexpensive systems, and even though it doesn’t come with a visual deterrent — it’s quite effective. Also, it won’t damage your engine, and you can install it by yourself. However, you might have to invest in new connectors to ensure that the switch works perfectly.
|Effective||Might require additional equipment|
|Easy to install|
Pyle Car Alarm Security System
This car alarm security system comes with 2 remote transmitters, an ignition lock, 2 auxiliary outputs, and an override switch. So, it contains everything you could possibly need to ensure no one can steal your car and get away with it.
Additionally, the ignition lock will secure all your car doors within 5 seconds of you turning off the ignition key. There’s also a safety override switch that will allow you to enter your car even if you lose your remote.
The only downside to the Pyle Car Alarm Security System is that you might have to hire someone to set it up for you. The anti-theft device is a bit more difficult to install than the others I have mentioned so far — but it’s worth the effort.
|Safe||Complicated to install|
|Comes with an override switch|
|Passive or active arming|
Bouncie Electronic Tracker
Bouncie is one of the best and most precise electronic trackers you could buy. First of all, the anti-theft device features location tracking with 15-second updates and pinpoint accuracy. Additionally, it can send alerts and notifications, and you can even set up a curfew to ensure no one drives your car past a certain time.
With the Bouncie, you can even view your vehicle information and your trip history, as well as perform health diagnostics. The only downside is that you have to purchase a 3G service, but that comes with the territory of electronic trackers.
|Reliable||You have to pay a monthly subscription|
|Comes with plenty of advanced features|
Optimus 2.0 Gps Tracker
The Optimus GPS tracker can find your car at all times and will give you detailed reports if your car has been stolen. This is one of the best GPS anti-theft devices currently available on the market — and for a good reason. With the Optimus 2.0, you can even set up a geofence and get alerts when someone breaches it. So, in addition to finding your car after it’s been stolen, you can also stop your rebellious teens from taking it for a joyride.
The Optimus also comes with an app that’s available for both Android and iPhone devices, so you can track your car in real-time. Additionally, although you’ll have to recharge the battery, one full charge can last you for 2 weeks. However, this device requires you to get a GPS subscription with a SIM card and data plan.
|Detailed reports||The battery has to be charged|
|Alerts||You have to pay for a subscription plan|
Unelko Anti-Theft Device Pedal Jack
Unelko’s pedal jack is a great anti-theft device that will literally stop a would-be thief in their tracks. They’re made of heat-treated steel that can resist saws, hammers, and can handle multiple cuts and bends without any issues.
Additionally, each anti-theft device comes with 3 security keys which can’t be duplicated. So, the only issue you could have with the anti-theft device is losing your keys. When this happens, you’ll either have to contact the manufacturer or try to break into your own car.
|Sturdy||No backup system if you lose your keys|
Extra Precautions You Can Take
Purchasing an anti-theft device (or two) is the best thing you can do to ensure the safety of your car. However, there are some things you can implement in your daily life to keep potential thieves from stealing your car.
Keep Your Vehicle Locked at All Times
Keep in mind that thieves are always on the lookout for an easy opportunity to take advantage of you. By leaving your vehicle unlocked, you’re almost asking for trouble. Always lock your car, even if it’s in your driveway or at a friend’s house — you never know who might be nearby.
Turn Your Car off and Remove the Key
Again, thieves are always looking for an easy opportunity to steal your car. This means taking your keys with you at all times, even if you’re running into a store for a minute.
Hide Your Valuables
The saying “out of sight, out of mind” definitely applies here, as you should never leave your valuables displayed on the seat. Additionally, most of the time, putting them on the floor of your car won’t do the trick either. Instead, lock your valuables away in the trunk to ensure no one is tempted to break into your car and take them.
Close Your Windows and Sunroof
Even if you have eyes on your car at all times, someone could still run by it and take something. Keeping your windows and sunroof closed at all times ensures no one can walk by your car and help themselves with your items.
Park in a Safe Area
There are certain parking structures and areas that are “marked” by thieves because they know they can hijack your car without being noticed. Always park your car in a well-lit area, and ideally in a parking lot that has video surveillance. Additionally, whenever you can, you should park your car somewhere where you can see it at all times.
Final Thoughts on the Best Anti-Theft Devices
A car is one of the most expensive things you’ll need to purchase and maintain during your lifetime. Thus, you need to do all you can to keep yours safe at all times — and at all costs. There’s no better way to do it than buying an anti-theft device. The only problem is choosing the best tools to build your car’s security system.
My advice is combining the 2 types — the conventional ones that block people from stealing your car, and the ones meant for retrieving it. In doing so, you’ll make sure your car is physically safe at all times, and you’ll also be able to find it if someone steals it.