Somehow, with all the technological advancements in today’s society, there is one thing that continues to be on the rise… vehicle theft. With almost a 30% increase in carjackings since 2020, it continues to rise.
Below we will explore the five best anti-theft car systems available to car owners seeking enhanced vehicle security so you can pick the best device for your vehicle and needs.
Whether you’re a new car owner looking to fortify your vehicle’s security or someone seeking to upgrade your existing anti-theft measures, our guide will equip you with the knowledge needed to make educated choices.
So, let’s explore car anti-theft devices and discover the solutions that will help keep your prized possession safe from the clutches of automotive criminals.
What Is An Anti-Theft Device?
First, we want to get into the definition of an anti-theft device. A car anti-theft device is a security system for your vehicle. It can come in the form of an alarm system, brake lock or other devices designed to protect your vehicle from car thieves or unauthorized access.
By installing these devices, it can prevent unauthorized entry and deter theft. Some devices can even track and recover your vehicle if it is stolen, which can be a huge benefit to law enforcement or insurance companies.
There are various types of car anti-theft devices available, each with its own features and level of effectiveness that we will dive into more below.
Types of Anti-Theft Car Systems
From sophisticated GPS tracking systems to traditional steering wheel locks, these security devices offer formidable barriers to would-be thieves. The best theft deterrent system for you will depend on your individual needs and budget.
Here are the different types on the market right now:
GPS Tracking Systems
A GPS tracking system uses technology to track your vehicle’s location in real-time, similar to the GPS signal on your phone or the Tile you might have attached to your car keys. These systems can help you locate your car if it’s stolen and provide valuable information to law enforcement. Some GPS tracking devices also offer features like remote immobilization, allowing you to disable the engine remotely.
A few of our top favorites are:
- Bouncie – This GPS tracking is one of the highest-rated options on the market and is compatible with most vehicles after 1996. The device is $77 with an additional monthly fee of $8, but if you have three or more trackers, it drops to $6.70 per device monthly. It doesn’t require tools or wires to install, making it a great option if you want a quick and easy security option.
- LandAirSea – These trackers have been around for over 25 years, and as described in the company’s name, they can be used on various vehicles. From jet skis to trailers to motorcycles and cars, these trackers are $39.99 and depending on how frequently you want an update, 3 seconds to 3 minutes, the monthly cost will vary. One thing to note is the battery life on these trackers only takes 1-3 weeks at full power but can operate on “low power mode” for upwards of 6 months.
- Vyncs – If you are looking for a premium GPS tracker, you can’t go wrong with either Vyncs model. Starting at $99/year with no monthly fee, this tracker is covered in over 200 countries, powered by your car (no battery needed) and has additional benefits like speeding alerts. They also offer an option for commercial vehicles that can track location and fuel cost tracking, dispatch management, and more.
You can’t get more classic than a car alarm when it comes to deterring thieves. A car alarm will typically include features like sensors for doors, windows, and the trunk, as well as sirens, flashing lights, and key fob remote controls to help against theft prevention.
Here are our top car alarm systems:
- Compustar CS7900-AS – This classic car alarm does require installation from a dealer. The device is around $164, which does not include the labor cost. The Compustar CS7900-AS has a 105-decibel alarm, bright LED lighting, and instantaneous paging for tamper alerts and alarm activation. With a range of up to 3,000 feet and a remote start, it is a great option for car security.
- Viper 1-Way 3100V – This one-way basic car alarm costs about $60 and focuses on making a lot of noise and drawing attention if someone tries to break into your vehicle. It features a very loud alarm, flashing lights, engine immobilizer and shock sensor if someone does break in. Installation is relatively simple, and it offers good value for the price.
- Avital 5305L – For $118, this two-way alarm system is built for expansion. It comes equipped with features like a panic alarm, vibration notifications and detection from 1,500 feet away. The Avital 5305L has a reputation for reliability; customers love that it doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles, making it very easy to use.
Steering Wheel Locks
You’ve probably seen a steering wheel lock before, but its primary function is to prevent the steering wheel from turning, making it virtually impossible to drive the vehicle without removing the lock. This is one of the most visible deterrents on the market. They are also easy to install and easy to use, making them a great cost-effective option.
- Tevlaphee Steering Wheel Brake Lock – The Tevlaphee Universal Steering Wheel Brake works differently than other steering wheel locks. It attaches not only to the car steering wheel but also extends down to the floorboards and hooks around the brake, clutch, or gas pedal. For $49.99 is a great option that is simple to install and provides an extra level of security by attaching to the brake pedal, clutch pedal, or gas pedal in addition to the steering wheel.
- Winner International The Club 3000 – With almost 8,000 reviews on Amazon, this club steering wheel lock is one of the best-known ones on the market. Its bright red color acts as a visual deterrent. It has a twin hook design, universal fit for cars, SUVs and vans, self-locking mechanism with a single pull. It is easy to use, but the drawback is that it can be easily disabled with a cordless drill. While it definitely serves as a theft deterrent, no steering wheel lock provides foolproof protection.
Kill switches are types of anti-theft devices that are hidden. They disrupt the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine, preventing the car from starting. Usually, they are installed in a hidden location and require a specific sequence or combination to activate.
- Spy Spot 4G Hard Wire Kill Switch GPS Vehicle Tracker – For $68, this kill switch also comes with a GPS tracker that can inform you of your car’s location in real-time. You can disable the ignition from your smartphone, computer or tablet from anywhere. There is a monthly fee of $18/month as well as a one-time activation fee of $9.95, and it needs to be installed at an auto shop.
- LotFancy Top Post Master Battery Kill Switch – This kill switch by LotFancy is the cheapest anti-left option on our list. For less than $8, this unique top post design is easy to install. It also prevents theft and battery drain and can be used on cars, trucks, boats, RVs, jet skis, etc.
- Oregon Fuel Shut Off Valve – This hidden kill switch is also under $10. It blocks the passage of fuel from the tank to the engine, preventing the engine from starting. It is easy to install and prevents the fuel from sitting in the carburetor or leaking. It is also a great option for adding to a riding lawn mower.
Wheel clamps, also known as wheel locks or wheel boots, are a type of car lock device designed to immobilize vehicles by securing the wheels in place. You have probably seen them before used by law or parking enforcement and are sometimes referred to as “the boot.” They are essentially a sturdy metal clamp that is placed around the wheel, which prevents it from rotating and making it difficult for the vehicle to be moved.
- Nemesis Wheel Clamp – This heavy-duty clamp & claw protects your wheel and includes wheel nuts as a three-in-one security option. It protects wheels from scratches and hovers around $280. It is definitely not the cheapest option, but this tire lock is always great for RVs, trailers and other big wheels.
- Bulldog Wheel Clamp – A wheel clamp from Bulldog is a great choice for tons of different vehicles. Their security tire clamps fit wheels from 13″ up to 25″ and provide wheel nut protection. Prices range depending on the model, but you can get a wheel clamp for everything from a motorcycle to a motorhome.
Here are some frequently asked questions about car anti-theft devices:
Will a car anti-theft device actually prevent vehicle theft?
An anti-theft device installed in your car can significantly deter thieves and reduce the risk of a stolen car or vehicle. However, no device can guarantee 100% protection. It’s important to do your research, choose reputable and reliable devices and practice other safety tips to prevent any vehicle theft.
Do I need professional assistance to install a car anti-theft device?
It depends on the device. Some devices, like steering wheel locks or portable GPS trackers, you can install yourself. However, more advanced systems, such as integrated GPS tracking systems or kill switches, may require professional installation to ensure proper functionality and integration with your vehicle’s existing electronics.
Does an anti-theft device affect my car’s warranty?
In most cases, having a car anti-theft device will not void your car’s warranty. We always recommend checking with your vehicle manufacturer or dealership to confirm the specifics, as warranty policies can vary.
Can I use multiple anti-theft devices together?
Yes, using multiple anti-theft devices together can enhance your vehicle’s security. For example, pairing a car alarm with a steering wheel lock or installing a GPS tracking system alongside a wheel clamp can provide layers of protection.
Do car anti-theft devices increase insurance premiums?
Actually, installing a car anti-theft device can potentially lower your insurance premiums. Many insurance providers offer discounts for vehicles equipped with approved anti-theft systems, as they reduce the risk of theft and increase the chances of vehicle recovery. Contact your insurance company to inquire about any potential discounts.
Are car anti-theft devices compatible with all vehicle makes and models?
Car anti-theft devices are generally designed to be compatible with a wide range of vehicle makes and models. You can always check with the device manufacturer, your vehicle manufacturer, or a professional installer to confirm compatibility and any specific installation requirements before purchasing.
When choosing an anti-theft car system, consider factors such as your budget, the level of security you desire, ease of use, and compatibility with your vehicle. It is also important to remember to lock your car and try to park in a well-lit area when you can to deter any car thieves from stealing your car, whether you have an anti-theft device or not. Consider consulting with professionals or seeking advice from reputable sources to make informed decisions and maximize the security of your vehicle.
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