How thieves steal cars in less than a minute:
(1) Push a flat instrument (putty knife) down next to window (near lock)-tripping the lock in an instant.
(2) Jam a hardened screw into the ignition lock.
(3) Yank it out.
(4) Insert a screwdriver and make contact with the now exposed wires.
(5) Zoom away.
While you can't save your car from a determined pro, anti-theft devices discourage the youthful and unskilled crooks, who are responsible for about 70% of all stolen autos.
Basic protection: (1) Locks for doors and parts, especially trunk and hood. (2) Reinforcers for ignition locks that also disable steering and/or transmission. (3) Car stoppers that kill the ignition or clog the fuel line after the thief starts the car. (4) Alarm systems.
Best: Passive alarms that engage automatically and go off within a few seconds to a couple of minutes after the driver's door is opened. Some insurers offer lower premiums for cars with these alarms.
Parking precautions: Park car in a supervised parking lot or in a well-lit, heavily trafficked area.
Avoid parking in the space at the end of the block. Reason: Professional car thieves with tow trucks can easily remove your auto. Helpful: Turn your steering wheel sharply to one side or the other. That locks the steering column and prevents the car from being towed from the rear.
In bad neighborhoods, keep doors locked, windows open no more than a crack, and at a red light, keep car in gear for a fast takeoff. (More important if waiting in a parked car.) When disabled, tie a white cloth to antenna, then wait inside car with doors locked and windows up. Be wary of accepting help from strangers. If another car ever tries to force you off the highway, forget the dents and scrapes-resist and keep blowing horn in short blasts to get attention and help. Head for gas station or any crowded place.
A Car Thief's Advice On Foiling Theft: No car or truck is immune from thievery, but professional thieves tell police that there are ways of making the heist harder.
Best Car Security Systems Prices | Best Budget Car Alarm
Don't rely on factory-installed alarms. Reason: Repair manuals that detail how they work are available in libraries.
Use combinations of systems. Example: An alarm with an ignition cutoff switch hidden under the dashboard or in the glove compartment.
Replace standard door-lock buttons with tapered ones. Caution: They won't stop professional thieves, but they deter amateurs who are responsible for most of the country's car thefts. Best: Doors on the Saab must be opened with a key.
Leave only the ignition key when using parking lots. And don't tell the attendant how long the vehicle will be parked. Also note the mileage.
Learn how to remove and replace the distributor rotor. The car won't run without it. This easy maneuver should be standard when the car is left unattended for over a day.
Don't put stickers in the window announcing to the world what type of burglar alarm system you have. Most experts feel that this removes the element of surprise and can even help the thief.
Heating Cures Overheating: If your car overheats in traffic on a hot day, before you pull over to summon help, open all windows, turn off the air conditioner, and turn on the heat to the hottest setting and highest fan speed. It increases circulation of coolant and helps dissipate excess engine heat. For best results: Shift into neutral whenever possible and
Cold-Weather Starting: Starting a car quickly and efficiently in cold weather requires a special approach. The steps:
Turn off all electrically powered equipment such as the lights, heater, and radio.
Slowly press the accelerator pedal to the floor. Do this only once if the outside temperature is 10 OF or higher. Press the accelerator twice if the temperature is below 10 OF. Release the accelerator.
Turn the ignition key to start. Keep your foot off the accelerator.
If the engine fails to catch within 15 seconds, turn off the ignition. Wait 30 seconds. Press the accelerator to the floor. Again, try to start the car with your foot off the accelerator. Never pump the accelerator pedal. You will flood the engine with gasoline. And the failed attempts at starting will drain the battery.
After the engine is going allow it to idle for 30 seconds. Then give the accelerator a quick press. This releases the idling speed mechanism and slows down the engine.
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