Types of Car Security Systems

Theft from cars and, of course, theft of them is a big problem, so car-makers build in increasing levels of security. But security devices are only any good if you use them properly. Read up on them in your car’s handbook and remember they are all rendered useless if you ‘give’ the thief the key by leaving it in the car when you go into shops or to pay for fuel. You may only be in there for a minute, but it takes seconds for someone to start a car and drive off.


Theft of keys is now the most common way for prestige cars to be stolen because their security is so good. This includes house breaking or simply lifting keys off a hall table by poking a stick through the letterbox. So, even if yours isn’t a prestige car, guard the keys by putting them in a pocket, not on a desk or on a shop counter while you pay, and by keeping them safe at home, either in a drawer or on a hook in a cupboard. This also means that visitors won’t be able to see where they are and come back later.

Many cars now have transponder chips in the keys which are interrogated by electronics in the car before engine immobilisers are turned off. If your car has these the key set may include a master key which is often a bright colour. This key should be kept safely at home because it is used to programme replacement keys and it will be extremely expensive to replace.


The best car alarms have movement sensors to detect intrusion in the passenger compartment. The handbook should tell you where the sensors are, so you don’t put things in front of them, and how to disable them if you need to, for example if you leave a dog in the car or if something keeps setting them off. Many people fail to realise that you can’t leave windows or sunroofs open with movement sensing alarms because they detect air movement. Flying insects inside the car, notably moths and lacewings, can set them off, so if you get false alarms look for insects on the windows. Think carefully before disabling an alarm: it could be a thief trying to get you to disable it by making it sound, perhaps by hitting the car.

Programming systems

A security feature often overlooked is the way many cars’ remote central locking can be programmed to only open the driver’s door on the first press of the button, opening the other doors on the second press. This stops someone leaping into the passenger side as the lone driver gets in. On some cars this is programmed by doing something to the remote sender while others have it on a multi-function screen in the car.

The programming may also offer the option for automatic door locking when pulling away. This means the doors lock above a certain speed so nobody can get in at the traffic lights or by forcing you to stop. Operating the interior handles overrides this and the systems either have impact sensors or are linked to the airbags to unlock the doors in an accident.

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Filed Under: Security & Insurance


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