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Secure your Car

There are many things you can do to prevent your car from being stolen or broken into:

What should I think about before setting off?

  • Permanently mark any valuables you use in the vehicle, such as a Satellite Navigation System (Sat Nav), with your postcode and house number/name. You can register all of your equipment at
  • Fit a car alarm.
  • Use locking wheel nuts to prevent the theft of your wheels.
  • NEVER leave your car unattended to defrost windows with the keys in the ignition. Many car thieves actively target this – even first thing in the morning when darkness can provide cover.  Any insurance claim could be adversely affected as it may be considered driver negligence. It’s also an offence to leave a car unattended on a road with the engine running.

What should I do when re-fuelling at a petrol station?

  • Always remove keys from the ignition and lock your car if you need to walk to the petrol station shop to pay for your fuel.  Again, some car thieves actively lookout for insecure cars that can easily be taken from the forecourt and any insurance claim could be affected.

Where should I park?

  • Keep your car off the street if possible. If you’re at home and you have a garage then use it. Make sure you lock both the car and the garage.
  • If you don’t have a garage, make use of the driveway if you have one.
  • For more information about the security of the garage you keep your car in at home, see our advice on how to Keep your Home Secure
  • If parking in public or using airport parking, look for a car park with the Park Mark sign. These designated car parks have complied with specific measures to deter crime and anti-social behaviour. Find a location at
  • Don’t park in isolated or remote areas. Whenever possible, park in a busy, well-lit and CCTV covered area.
  • Try and park close to the exit – this will increase the amount of traffic which will pass your car, making it harder for thieves to operate undetected.

What should I do after I park?

  • Lock all items out of sight. Don’t leave anything on display and take valuables with you.
  • Leave the glove box empty and open.
  • If you have a Sat Nav, hide the cradle and take the system with you. Don’t forget to wipe the suction marks off the window.
  • If you have personal correspondence in the vehicle, then take it with you. Don’t give others access to important personal information or your home address.
  • Use an electronic or mechanical immobiliser such as a steering lock.
  • If you have an alarm then make sure it’s set.
  • MLA approved locksmiths can help with vehicle keys and locks if required. Click here for more information.

For more information about theft prevention and what you can do if your vehicle has been stolen, please download the relevant documents at the foot of this page.

For more information about keeping other property secure, look at our advice about how to Keep your Valuables Secure and Keep your Bike Secure