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Security and Vintage Cars

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 14 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Security And Vintage Cars

It could go without saying that your vintage car is your pride and joy. It would then follow that you want to keep your car as safe and protected from thieves and vandals as is possible. Older cars in particular tend to be quite appealing to car thieves and the older and less well kept, the more attractive they can be. Commonly they don’t have all the built-in security features that modern cars are accustomed to, such as electronic engine immobilisers, alarms and anti-theft locking devices. This makes them seemingly easy pickings. Age-old worn door locks can also seem an attractive feature to a sticky-fingered scoundrel. However, aside from the above, it is not to say that a vintage car cannot be kept protected and be secure!

Storing and Parking

One huge factor in keeping your vintage car safe is where you store it. Your insurance policy might stipulate that you must keep your vehicle in a garage, lock-up or workshop, as this is the safest and most obvious option. The next best option is to keep your vintage car on a well-lit driveway – leaving it on the road is really inadvisable. Any lighting, particularly bright specially installed security lights are an added deterrent.

Modern cars are usually fitted with an electronic engine immobiliser as standard. As you would expect, vintage cars were not so technologically advanced, so many of these contemporary security devices have to be installed retrospectively. If your car is an ‘ongoing’ project, the cheapest immobilising option you could try is to remove one or more of the car wheels so that the car can’t be driven away. Simple, but so very effective. You can also try and make the job of removing the car even more difficult by installing (electronic, if possible) gates or a security post - or try parking any other family cars in front of your vintage car.

Immobilising and Alarming

If your car is roadworthy, there are two different types of immobiliser that you can try - namely those that are electronic and those that are mechanical. The mechanical immobilisers have a great physical and visual presence. They come in a few guises, such as wheel clamps and steering or gearbox locks. Compared to the electronic immobilisers, they are relatively inexpensive and don’t require a great deal of expertise to fit. The most you can expect to pay is around the £100 mark, and in this case you really do get the most out of your money if you pay the top price. Cheaper mechanical immobilisers may be vulnerable to the more cunning thief who might be equipped with an arsenal of heavy-duty cutting equipment. A good way to spot whether you’re buying a quality piece of equipment is if it carries a certification stamp of the ‘Sold Secure Partnership Against Car Theft’ (SS PACT).

A canny D.I.Y. immobilising trick is, if possible, to disable either the accelerator linkage to the carburettor – this means that the car can do no more than idle. Another slightly laborious trick is to try disconnecting, plugging, and then reconnecting your main fuel line into the carburettor. However, you must ALWAYS remember that this has been done; you otherwise risk causing a lot of damage to the carburettor and engine.

Electronic immobilisers can be quite expensive, costing upwards of around £200. However, in return you might benefit from a lower premium on your insurance. These sorts of modern immobilisers can be very tricky to fit to vintage cars, so if you are seriously considering installing one, it is worth seeking a professional opinion on what is best for you and your car.Car alarms are another deterrent that can be fitted to your car. The best systems will obviously be the most costly, and will almost certainly need fitting to your vintage car by a professional. The alarms can be set off by motion – any bumping, jacking, bonnet, door or boot opening will trigger the sensors and switches. The alarm itself will either sound the horn or set off of a siren and the car’s lights. The most expensive and complex alarms will be able to immobilise the ignition. However the ability of the alarm to perform this task on a vintage car can be subject to the car’s age and ignition system.

Above all, use your common sense – if possible, store the car away in a secure garage or workshop, make sure the area is well lit at night, and never leave any extra ‘tempting’ items on display in your car.

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