Integrated security systems provide the best combination of convenience and protection, but there are some more budget-minded alternatives out there.

A tough triple-laminated polyester coating can be applied to the inside of car windows that makes it time-consuming for a thief to gain access via the glass.

Having a vehicle's registration number etched into the window glass has been common for years, although no longer seems particularly popular. It's a major job replacing every window in a stolen car, so there's a reasonable chance that the crook will pick a car without the extra hassle factor. Unless he just wants a joyride.

Manufactured in a variety of shapes and sizes, wheel locks are attached to the steering wheel, preventing it from being turned. Years of testing all over the world has shown that a determined boot or even the right item from the home toolbox can defeat most wheel locks, but they remain a cheap and useful deterrent.


Variations include accelerator-, brake-pedal and gearshift locks.

More recent are wheel clamps of the type used to enforce parking. If you can be bothered with fitting and removing them, they're a good deterrent against theft of the entire vehicle.

Common sense still rules
*Park in well-lit or busy places. About one-third of car thefts occur in parking buildings or parking areas, although parking building operators are fighting back.

*Don't assume that you only have to worry about your vehicle at night. Most car thefts in Auckland take place during weekday business hours.

*Don't leave your keys in the ignition when paying for fuel.

*With the ever-increasing sophistication of car security, determined thieves are simply stealing the keys, so keep them safe.

*Do we really need to say this? Don't leave valuables in sight.

And don't forget to lock the car.