Skip to main contentSkip to footer

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. Read our full commerce guidelines here.

11 ways to stop your car from being stolen

Top tips from a car expert on how to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of vehicle crime

deter car thieves tips
Share this:

Stolen vehicles, thefts from cars and incidents of vandalism are on the rise, so it's important to know how to protect your car, especially when it's left unattended.

It's estimated that a car is stolen every 10 minutes in the UK, while thefts of possessions and criminal damage such as car keying and tyre slashing are a perennial problem. Vehicle theft and car vandalism are not always preventable, but there are simple steps you can take to lower the chances of it happening to you.

1. Think where you park your car

Most car crime occurs during the evening or at night, so parking near bright street lamps or in a busy area can deter thieves. If you know that there are CCTV cameras installed, even better. And if you have a garage, use it - especially overnight. If your car is parked on your drive, install a motion sensor light and or CCTV.

LED Security Light

Motion Sensor LED Solar Security Light, £24.63, Amazon


It's also possible to buy dashcams which switch on and start recording when they detect movement, capturing a criminal in the act.

2. Lock your vehicle

It may sound obvious, but some drivers fail to take this simple precaution. Locking your vehicle, even when it's parked on your drive or you're filling up at a petrol station, greatly reduce the possibility of it being targeted by an opportunist thief.

Even if you have locked your vehicle, check you haven’t left any windows or the sunroof open. If you have a car with door mirrors that fold in automatically when locked, this is the easiest way to check that you've locked the car.

READ: 5 reasons your home is more likely to be burgled

MORE: 9 ways to save money on car running costs

3. Don't leave your engine running

Never leave your car with the keys in the ignition while de-icing your vehicle in the winter. Thieves are known to target residential areas on cold and frosty mornings, looking for cars where the owner has started the engine to defrost the windscreen and then gone inside to warm up. Leaving your vehicle running unattended also invalidates your insurance.

4. Remove any valuables

Leaving items such as handbags, laptops and smartphones in plain sight is asking for trouble. If you can’t or don’t want to take valuables with you, then at least hide them in the boot, glovebox or other storage compartments.

Car Boot Storage

Car Boot Storage, £13.99, Amazon


5. Invest in a steering wheel lock

Steering locks are old school anti-theft devices, but still an effective visual deterrent. If criminals see one, they are less likely to attempt to steal your vehicle because steering locks are an obstacle to a quick getaway. Security locks are also available for the gear lever and clutch pedal. You can even fit your own wheel clamp for the ultimate deterrent.

Steering Wheel Lock

Universal Steering Wheel Lock, £52.95, Amazon


6. Keep your car keys extra safe

A modern keyless-entry system allows you to get into and start your car without ever having to fumble in your pocket for a key. Using short-range radio waves, the key fob in your pocket or bag transmits a signal that’s picked up by a receiver in your car, unlocking the doors. However, thieves can exploit the technology by fooling your car into thinking its own remote key fob is close by sending a boosted signal from your car to the key into your property.

Faraday Pouch

Faraday Pouch, £7.64, Amazon


You can help to prevent keyless car theft (also known as 'relay theft') by keeping your keys far away from your vehicle whilst at home (definitely not by the front door or window). Also, consider keeping your keys in a Faraday pouch. These contain signal-blocking materials that stop your key transmitting its code, preventing thieves from being able to detect and amplify the signal.

7. Protect your catalytic converter

Catalytic converters are devices fitted to vehicle exhausts to reduce the amount of dangerous gases emitted. They are often targeted by thieves as they contain valuable metals and can be removed in less than a minute. They simply cut the 'cat' from the exhaust pipe of a parked car and sell them on to scrap metal dealers.

Catalytic Converter

Catalytic Converter Protection Shield Kit, £74.88, Amazon


To help keep your catalytic converter safe, park safely (as above), but also consider fitting anti-theft locks or guards. You can even register your catalytic converter and have it forensically marked, making it harder for thieves to dispose of it.

8. Fit locking wheel nuts

Before locking wheel nuts were introduced, a standard wheel nut could be removed easily, potentially resulting in the loss of an expensive alloy wheel and causing considerable inconvenience.

Locking Wheel Nuts Kit

Locking Wheels Nut Kit, £12.99, Amazon


To prevent theft, consider swapping at least one of your standard wheel nuts (per wheel) with a locking wheel nut. A special locking wheel nut key is needed to remove the wheel, so they act as another deterrent for thieves.

9. Keep your documents at home

Don't leave your vehicle’s registration, insurance documents and service record in the car because if your car is stolen, the documents will make it easier for the thief to pretend to be the owner, which means they could sell it on easier.

SHOP: This de-icer has over 1k five-star reviews - and it's less than a fiver

10. Turn your car wheels into the kerb

Most drivers straighten up their wheels when parking, making it easy for thieves to drive away quickly. By parking your car with the wheels turned into the kerb, thieves will have to make more manoeuvres to drive off.

This simple but effective trick helps prevent a speedy getaway and could prevent your car being targeted in the first place.

11. Fit anti-theft technology

Your car is more than likely to already have a car alarm and immobiliser fitted. If not, they are well worth the investment, but you should also consider fitting a tracking device.

Anti Theft Car Tracking Device from Amazon

Anti-theft Car Tracking Device, £51, Amazon


It won’t prevent your car from being stolen, but it will increase the chances of it being recovered and returned by the police.


13 new cars worth waiting for in 2023

The best car vacuums to keep yours clean

9 genius car gadgets for your next road trip

HELLO!'s selection is editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items our editors love and approve of. HELLO! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. To find out more visit our FAQ page.