Your car’s anti-theft device is installed in an effort to help protect your investment from thieves. Most cars today include a variety of these devices and systems that not only protect the car, but also deter theft in the first place.

There are different components and options available in anti-theft devices. However, understanding these options and how they prevent theft is important, especially if you live in areas with higher theft rates. The following are the essential things to know about your car’s anti-theft device.

Be Responsible

Anti-theft devices work well, but only if you are responsible when you park your vehicle. Leaving the keys in the ignition or even leaving it running when you head into the store will render the devices useless for obvious reasons.

Proper Usage

It’s also important that you understand how to engage your anti-theft devices. For example, a steering wheel lock often requires you to turn it slightly when you exit the vehicle to engage. Those that are integrated into the lock mechanism may require only a single push or rapidly tapping the button twice to make sure the system is engaged. If you can’t find this information in your user manual, you should speak with the manufacturer to find out.

Opt for OnStar

If you are purchasing a GM vehicle, you will have the option to subscribe to OnStar service. While it might seem like an unwanted expense, the GPS tracking offered by the service can be invaluable in helping you recover your vehicle if it is stolen.

Consider LoJack

If you are purchasing a non-GM vehicle, most dealerships offer LoJack as a feature that can be added on to your vehicle. This system uses radio frequencies to locate stolen vehicles, offering greater protection that will still work when the vehicle is out of range or in an area that obstructs satellite signals. It is estimated that a LoJack system is around 90 percent effective in helping to recover vehicles that are stolen.

Smart Key Technology

Smart Key technology, which requires the key fob to the vehicle to be in close proximity for unlocking and inside the vehicle for starting, is another great anti-theft device option that offers protection. While this system is only available as an extra feature on some models, the overall protection against theft is well worth the investment of the upgrade.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 5 Essential Things to Know About Your Car's Anti-Theft Device and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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