In the article below, we’ve covered several classic car anti-theft strategies.
Classic vehicles are attention grabbers, and this recognition can be a good and bad thing.
The good side is that the vehicles’ uniqueness makes you stand out and can provide talking points when interacting with new people.
On the downside, this uniqueness and attention can make thieves interested in getting their hands on your “baby.”
Therefore, you should invest in anti-theft strategies to safeguard your vehicle, and here are some classic vehicle anti-theft safety tips to consider.
Table of Contents
- Install High-Quality Locks
- Lock the Doors and Keep the Keys Safe
- Consider Parking Locations
- Fit an Alarm
- Install an Immobilizer
- Install a GPS Tracker
- Lock or Remove the Steering Wheel
- Fit in a Manual Transmission
- Etch Car Identification Details on the Windows
- Hire a Qualified and Trustworthy Shipper
- Hide Your Valuables
- Insure the Vehicle Fully
- Wrap Up
Install High-Quality Locks
You have two options to solve this issue. The first is to install newer locks. If you are a true classic car enthusiast, this option is not ideal because these locks can interfere with your vehicle’s authenticity.
The door handle and lock of a red retro classic car
So the second option is to hire the services of an automotive locksmith to re-pin the original lock and give you another unique key.
Lock the Doors and Keep the Keys Safe
It is always easier to steal unlocked cars because the only task will be to hotwire them. And it is even easier if classic car thieves can access your keys.
For instance, we don’t recommend driving your most valued cars to events or hotels with valet parking. You never know who will handle your keys.
A car thief tampering with the lock using a screwdriver
So always drive (and park) the car yourself, and ensure you roll the windows up before exiting the driver’s seat.
Consider Parking Locations
Talking of parking, consider your stopping and parking locations on your way to your destination. Some areas are well known for being risky.
A classic car owner with his green retro whip parked near the sea
And if it is at night, always park in well-lit lots so that you can keep an eye out from afar. Thieves will find it more risky to try breaking into the vehicle where everybody can see them.
If you have an open driveway leading to a public street, you should consider parking the car in your garage. Or park your second vehicle behind the classic to lock it in.
Fit an Alarm
Don’t install any alarm system, do a loud one. Some systems can even notify you on your mobile phone if the alarm goes off.
Classic car owners might argue that the noise and flashing lights can damage the aesthetics of your classic, but that is of little concern if you consider the value, time, and money you’ve spent on your project.
A smartphone-controlled vehicle alarm system
And while at it, fix an alarm sticker on the body or window as a visual deterrent to any thief who has set eyes on your classic vehicle.
Install an Immobilizer
Immobilizers did not exist in the era of classic vehicles. But you can fit one with a hidden kill switch.
The most typical type is the battery power kill switch, which cuts power to the ignition system.
Even if the would-be thieves break in and hotwire the car, it won’t start with the kill switch installed.
The engine will only crank, but there will be no sparks to fire the cylinders. So install it and don’t reveal its location.
Car keys with an immobilizer on the hood
Other immobilizer devices cut power to the fuel pump. You can install multiple kill switches because they are cheap. One can cost as low as $10.
Install a GPS Tracker
Let’s consider the worst-case scenario. What if a determined thief gains access and manages to start your vehicle?
Instead of your baby disappearing into the wind, a GPS tracker can help you follow the thieves and recover it before exchanging hands or getting dismantled for parts or shipping.
GPS vehicle tracking devices can be costly, but they are worth it when you consider the value of your vehicle.
And most of these tracking units require little to no wiring.
Lock or Remove the Steering Wheel
Some might not know this fact, but steering wheel locking is a more effective theft-prevention feature than an immobilizer.
And it is a simple built-in measure. Turn the steering wheel one way until you hear a click sound after turning off the vehicle to activate this feature.
An alternative is to get an external steering wheel lock. You can get one that cuts through the steering wheel or locks all of it.
An anti-theft vehicle steering wheel lock
Or you can go hardcore and remove the steering wheel.
Although it will be another thing to walk around with a steering wheel to your date, the lack of it will make the potential thieves scratch their heads when they see the challenge ahead of them.
Fit in a Manual Transmission
If you are a manual gearbox enthusiast in the US, you would be happy to know that most drivers don’t know how to operate a stick.
So if you can, install a stick shift in your classic. There is a high probability the would-be thief falls into this category.
So the most they can do is steal the valuables in your vehicle if they gain access.
Etch Car Identification Details on the Windows
Consider etching the unique car details, such as VIN, to your classic vehicle’s windshield and door windows as additional deterrents to a potential thief.
The logic behind this action is to make it hard for the thief to sell the car, making it not worth stealing.
Buyers collaborating with the thief will not want the risk of having a traceable VIN on display.
The perpetrator can change the windshield and car windows, but it would be expensive and can make it easy for cops to trace the purchases related to the vehicle if it is unique in that area.
Hire a Qualified and Trustworthy Shipper
If you want to display your classic vehicle in motor shows or transport it to other locations without driving it, hire a trustworthy and qualified shipper.
This company should insure the car when in transit, cover it when on the truck, and implement various security features to safeguard your property.
A car carrier trailer on the road
And if the destination is far, ensure the truck or trailer stops at safe, designated points, with the door facing another vehicle, building, or fence.
Hide Your Valuables
Valuable items like cell phones, laptops, jewelry, money, tablets, etc., can attract a would-be thief to try to get in.
So don’t leave these items on the car seats. Hide them in the glove box, trunk, or somewhere they cannot be seen.
Insure the Vehicle Fully
If all the tips above don’t work and the thief drives away with your car, it would help if you have an insurance policy to protect your investment.
Even if the vehicle gets stolen, at least you’ll get your money back to invest in another project.
An MG MGA Mark II classic car
Classic cars differ broadly from modern vehicles, especially in the vehicle security area.
So it is necessary to install an effective classic-car security system in your old vehicle safe.
And we recommend considering more than one of the tips above. The more, the better. That’s it for now. Have a good one!