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How to keep your car safe and secure

How to keep your car safe and secure
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Thieves are using high-tech equipment to steal cars and valuables left in them, but you can do plenty to deter them
Cars are getting smarter at an alarming pace. The ‘connected car’ of the future is going to become a reality far sooner than you may think. A lot of this technology is already available in some form or another. For example, even many entry-level cars now come with Bluetooth wireless technology and remote, key-less entry. Is all this clever technology secures, though?
A recent study has reported that more than 100 million cars sold by the Volkswagen Group since 1995 have a flaw in their security system that allows the signal from the car’s remote key fob to be intercepted, giving access to the car.
With a piece of kit costing just $30, a thief can stand near your car while you lock it and intercept the code sent out by the key. The equipment then cleverly calculates the unlocking code for your car and allows them to gain access to it and drive off. 
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This is only one of a number of ways a thief can get into your car electronically, and it’s not just Volkswagen Group cars that are affected. There are numerous reports of Range Rovers and BMW's that have been stolen in similar ways.
Car theft is not the only concern, however. Last year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was forced to recall 1.2 million vehicles in the USA when it was discovered that hackers were able to take control of the cars remotely, including gaining the ability to take over their steering and brakes. The good news is there are some measures you can take to minimize the risk of your car getting hacked.
How to protect against hackers.
The first thing to do is to make sure you’re aware of any recalls that are outstanding for your car. Manufacturers take car security seriously and aim to make sure that all the software in your car is as safe as possible. Software updates are common and can be performed by your local dealership, or in some cases wirelessly over the internet.
You can stop thieves from cloning your key’s wireless signal by locking your car doors manually with the key. This approach was recommended by the researchers who uncovered the weakness in the Volkswagen Group cars’ security systems.
Be aware of who you give your car keys to. A thief can get into your car’s computers quickly and easily through the on board diagnostics (OBD) port. So make sure you trust anyone who has access to your car. If you’re concerned about the vulnerability of your car’s OBD, you can buy an OBD lock or have an alarm fitted that will alert you as soon as someone tries to break into your car and drive it away.
Some modern cars can connect to the internet or be controlled by a smartphone app. If your car has this functionality, make sure you change the default password and never keep the car’s wireless access codes in the car.
Other ways to protect your car
Even if your car isn’t susceptible to hacking, it’s not immune from being stolen. These suggestions should make your car less appealing to would-be thieves.
If you have access to a secure parking place, use it. Keeping your car in a locked garage not only means that it’s out of sight, it also adds an extra layer of complexity that thieves need to overcome before being able to drive off . It might be easier to park your car on the street, but if you have a secure parking place, it’s definitely worth using.
A steering wheel lock is another deterrent. It won’t provide 100% protection, but it will definitely put off opportunist thieves and slow down anyone attempting to steal your car.
Never leave your car unlocked with the keys in the ignition, and never leave it with the engine running. It sounds obvious, but it can be tempting to leave the keys in your car while you pay for petrol, or to leave it unlocked with the engine running on your drive while its windows are demisting. Always lock your car, even if you’re leaving it for a short time.
Invest in a car tracker that will alert you if someone tries to move it. The tracker’s combination of GPS and radio signals let you know your car’s exact location at all times, so you’ll know if it’s being driven by someone else, and if it’s stolen the police can recover it from thieves.
Keep your car keys hidden at home. It’s common for thieves to break into a house, steal car keys and drive off in a car, or even fish the keys out through a letterbox if they’re hanging up in a hallway. So, ensure you don’t keep your car keys in plain sight, even in your own home.
Dont leave anything of value in your car. Keep your car tidy and make sure you take valuables and items with personal information with you when you leave the car. Try to make your car as unappealing to opportunistic thieves as possible.
What to do if your car is stolen
Following this advice should help limit the chance of your car being stolen, but unfortunately they can’t guarantee it will stay safe.
If your car is stolen, the first call you need to make is to the police. They’ll ask you to run through all the details and will give you a crime reference number. It’s important to call them as soon as you can to get the theft on record; you don’t want to find yourself liable for any speeding fines thieves might collect while driving off in your car, or for any unpaid petrol bills if they fill up and drive off without paying.
Your next call should be to your car insurance company. Give them your crime reference number and they’ll start the process of making an insurance claim. You don’t need to contact the DVLA at this stage because the police will inform them that your car has been reported stolen. You will need to contact the DVLA when your insurance company pays out, however.
If you lease your car or have outstanding finance on it, call the finance company to let them know what has happened; keep them updated on the progress of your insurance claim and tell them if your car is recovered.
Finally, make sure you contact the DVLA to get a refund on the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) paid on your car. Remember to keep your crime reference number handy because you’ll need it for this as well.
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  1. These are great tips- thank you!

  2. I don't think too much about the possibility of my car being stolen but it's true this stuff can happen to anyone. Great tips!