01 Apr Best car anti-theft devices to use
South Africa is not alone in having high incidences of car theft and research shows that even ‘safer’ countries like Canada have reported figures of 85,000 in 2017, while Australia experienced 53,564 vehicles stolen in 2018 or one every ten minutes.
With so much risk of getting your car stolen every day, it doesn’t hurt to invest in some extra form of a preventative measure. These devices fall under two main categories, mechanical and electronic. We’ve featured the following devices to provide a range of price points.
- Mechanical immobilisers
- Steering wheel locks: Simple and affordable (around R300) is the common option. This blocks the steering wheel from turning. A Disklok (around R3000) is on the upper end of that scale.
- Brake/Clutch locks: These operate on same principle as steering wheel locks as you need a key to lock it into place. Once locked, it stops the car from being operational. Unlike the high visibility, a steering wheel lock offers, this one slots in place behind your car’s brake or clutch pedal. They range in price from about R300 – R1,000.
- Wheel clamps: Similar to what a policeman will do to your car when you park in a No Parking zone, wheel clamps immobilise a vehicle by preventing the wheel from turning. For the same reason that they’re not the most popular choice in this category as they require more time and effort to lock on, they are good deterrent because it takes more time and effort for a thief to remove, as well as the fact that they are highly visible. These can range in price between R400 – R600.
- Dash cams: Short for ‘dashboard camera’, these on-board cameras are mounted on your car’s dashboard with the purpose of recording surrounding sounds and images whilst driving. More than just a camera, it is used to record accidents and incidents of theft to your vehicle. Prices can range between about R400 – R4,000. These days, dash cams also come in more discreet forms and sizes, like Garmin’s Dash Cam Mini, which is almost the same length of a car key, and retails for around R2,500.
- CarLock: Tracking systems have been around for a long time with constant advances in the technology. One if the trackers on the forefront is CarLock, which uses GPS technology to track the movements and location of your car from an app on your smartphone. It also alerts you when it detects any vibrations off your car or when the engine has been switched on. Priced at around R5,000.
- Kill switch: Simple, effective, and cheap. When a thief tries to start the car by some other means other than the correct key, this device will stop the electric current from your car’s ignition to the fuel pump. It’s fairly easy to install and can be mounted anywhere that is a good hiding place. Retails for around R110 – R1,110 depending on how sophisticated you want to get.
Any anti-theft device is limited in its own way and should be seen as just one layer of protection. Basic devices like these, whether mechanical or electronic is not theft-proof and you shouldn’t depend entirely on them to protect your car. Instead, use them in conjunction with more advanced security systems like Datadot or other tracking devices.