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Keep your `smart’ car safe using old tricks

Imagine waking up to find your priceless vehicle is not where you parked it. Gone; it has been stolen. If your car happens to be he more digitally `connected’ newer type, it might be that over-reliance on new technology has made you drop your guard. So we remind you of some old-fashioned ways to protect your car in this digital age.

Lock the doors manually

In case you own, a `smart’ car; the kind that is `connected’ with technologies like Bluetooth and keyless entry, you can throw off thieves by locking your car manually – with the key. Remember thieves targeting a smart car will either clone your key’s wireless signal or hack it through interceptors. You beat them at it when you use your key analogue-style.

If you are the really high-tech type and not keen on using the above manual approach, you could use what is called a Faraday bag. This is a special bag that uses technology to ensure thieves cannot intercept signals from your car keys to the vehicle. A Faraday bag works by blocking the signal from your car keys.

Install a vehicle tracker

The vehicle tracker works on the principle that if someone really wants to steal your car, they will find a way to steal it. So the vehicle tracker uses the Global Position System (GPS) to let you know that your vehicle is where you want it to be; mobile or stationary. That way, you are quickly alerted when something goes wrong. In case of theft, the thieves can drive it but they cannot hide it because the GPS will give away the vehicles location. Police and then recover it. The most common GPS vehicle tracking system uses what is called a “data pusher” because it pushes (sends) information to you at regular intervals via your mobile phone or computer.

Good old steering lock

Yes, the steering wheel lock might sound archaic in this digital era, but it could be the near perfect old-fashioned solution to a new problem. In reality, it is a scarecrow against opportunist thieves and slows down the smarter ones who know how to beat it. There is also a tyre lock; similar to those used by parking managers to clamp offending vehicles. You can get a more portable one. But this is more cumbersome and only useful for someone parking for a really longtime.

Install a kill-switch

The kill switch works by cutting off the normal electrical circuit of your vehicle. The switch is a sensor, connected to the electricity circuitry system of your car. When you lock the car using your sensor key, the kill switch is set to “open”. This means the normal electrical circuit from the spark plugs cannot be completed. The engine cannot run. In some kill-switches; the engine can run but only at very low RPMs, meaning the car cannot be driven. The inverse happens when you open the car using the sensor key.

Reset passwords

Many new 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.

Be practical and real

Remember the same old tips about being careful with your keys, parking in a secure place, and not leaving valuables in the open in your car? Use them. They work quite well, even in this digital era. It is never a smart idea to leave your vehicle unlocked or with the windows down – even partially. You must always park in a well-lit area at night and under supervised parking during the day. If you have valuables, keep the well hidden; possibly in the car boot. That keeps away opportunistic thieves.

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