We know that keeping our cars safe can be a major part of car ownership and that most drivers want to minimise the risk of damage and theft to their vehicles. Cars are particularly vulnerable when left unattended for long periods of time and in darker lighting conditions, both of which typically occur at night. So, we’ve rounded up our top 10 tips for keeping your car safe overnight.

parking your car overnight

Top 10 Car Safety Tips for Night

1. Park Somewhere Secure

The best place you can park is somewhere secure such as a gated driveway, sheltered parking or garage.

If you have any of these then you should use them. Parking your car off-road significantly reduces the likelihood of it being struck by opportunist thieves and vandals as it is not as easy to access. As the vehicle is also closer to a property this also increases the likelihood of any would be criminal being caught and so further deters them.

2. Park Somewhere Close

If you do not have off-road parking and so have to park on the street, then you should try to keep your car in sight of your property. If you are able to park directly in front of your property then that’s great but if not then you want to try and make sure you park so that you can see the car when looking out your front windows.

This will help give you peace of mind as you can simply look out the window and see that everything is as it should be.

3. Park Somewhere Well Lit

If you are not parking on your own private property then we advise you to park in a well-lit area, this not only keeps your car visible and so acts as a deterrent to would be thieves but also means that you will be able to see when exiting / entering the vehicle. 

If parking on a street then try to park under or near a street lamp, and if you’re parking in an off-road carpark then aim for a spot near one of their overhead lights.

If you are leaving the vehicle overnight then even if it is not dark when you park we’d still recommend parking somewhere with lights for the night.

overnight parking in a car park

4. Use a Security Device

You can add an additional level of protection to your vehicle by using a security device such as an alarm or security lock.

Since October 1998 all new vehicles have been fitted with an immobiliser as standard, this prevents the engine from starting if an incorrect key is used, someone attempts to hotwire the vehicle or hack the key code. If your car predates this then you might want to look into having an immobiliser fitted to help prevent it from being stolen.

Some models come with a car alarm installed but if yours does not you can add one for another level of security. The are a number of different models on the market, some of which you will be able to install yourself and others that you may need a professional’s help with.

Alarms deter thieves on two levels, the first is if they are visible then thieves are less likely to strike your vehicle and the second is that once they break into the car the noise will mean they are noticed and hopefully caught.

If you already have a car alarm or don’t think that’s the right choice for you then you might want to consider a security lock for the vehicle. These are less common now there are modern electronic locking systems but are still a great option if you’re wanting to make your car less of a desirable steal.

They’re usually very visible and brightly coloured which will deter thieves from even attempting to steal the car and they prevent that an essential part of the vehicle from functioning correctly so making it much harder, if not impossible, to operate.

You can get locks that fit the steering wheel, gearstick, on the clutch pedal and on the wheel.

steering wheel lock for car safety

5. Get a Tracker

As well as a security device you might want to invest in a tracker that can be put in your vehicle. This will help you find the car if it is stolen overnight.

We would advise if this does happen and you locate the vehicle that you contact the police and give them the location as the vehicle could have vital clues to help them capture the thieves, and prevents you from putting yourself in a possibly dangerous situation when retrieving the vehicle.

6. Remove Your Valuables

Valuable items, such as satnavs, should be removed when you are not in the vehicle.

If you are not able to remove them then we would advise marking them so that they are identifiable, and putting them in a hidden safe location such as in your glove box or the boot.

You’ll also want to wipe the area clean if you were using a dash or windscreen mounted device as the marks might be spotted and lead others to believe valuables are kept in the vehicle.

7. Secure Your Bike Racks 

If your vehicle has any external features such as a roof box, tailgate rack or trailer then you’ll also want to secure this when parking the vehicle.

Some drivers choose to use cable locks, padlocks or self-locking versions to ensure that the items themselves are not taken and nor is any of the property from within them. Where possible though we’d advise removing any valuables from then as you would the rest of the vehicle.

8. Mark Your Belongings

If you do need to leave items in the vehicle, such as trade tools, then we suggest marking them clearly with your name, or your business’ name, and address to make it more difficult to resell the items. You can use paint pens and seal with a clear lacquer so that the details are not easily removed.

9. Keep Your Keys Safe

Keyless car entry is becoming a more popular feature on vehicles, and as the number of cars that use it increases the technology used to hack these vehicles improves.

Keyless fobs use short-wave radio signals to communicate with your vehicle and enable keyless entry and start and some thieves can use relay technology to hack into this signal and extend it so that they can steal your car.

In order to protect against this, we advise keeping your keys away from the front door, and in a faraday pouch or safe which blocks their signal. These pouches can be picked up relatively cheaply from most online or in store retailers.

10. Take the Paperwork Out

We advise taking out any paperwork relating to the vehicle when you leave the car, most importantly the V5C which is its registration document.

The V5C is used to transfer ownership of the vehicle and so if thieves have the car and this document they can send the paperwork off to the DVLA and transfer the vehicle to their name.

car document safety

For more of our useful tips head back to our guides or check out the articles on our blog

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