Safeguarding Your Car Stereo

Car stereo systems are expensive and they're removable. These two factors make them extremely attractive to thieves. So how do you keep your gear, "your gear"? Here's a few tips that will keep you protected.

Stealth Systems

Following the "out of sight, out of mind" principle, stealth systems are simply systems that try to remain hidden. They use factory speaker grills, removable faceplates, dummy faceplates, underseat installations and in general blend in with the car. It's a kind of "security by obscurity". If they don't know it's there then they're not going to try to steal it. Now if you go booming through the neighborhood you're going to give yourself away.

Security Systems

Security systems are your second line of defense or your first line of defense if you choose not to install a stealth system. I recommend that everyone get a security system. Both for the security features and for the convenience features such as auto-lock, remote start, trunk release and just about any other thing you can think of. Most people are familiar with the alarm siren and think this is the main security feature of the system. It can be an important part but a hardened thief will not be deterred by the siren. And if the thief is experienced he'll be in and out before anyone can call the police. Not that anyone probably would call the police. The majority of people simply ignore sirens thinking they are a false alarm.

I would not recommend installing your own security system unless you have someone with experience guiding you along the way. It is very important to mount everything properly, to hide wiring and to adjust sensors to prevent false alarms. Make sure you have the system wired to all of the pin switches for the hood, trunk and doors. If your vehicle doesn't have hood and trunk pin switches then make sure they are installed. See the chapter on security systems for more information.

If you want to install your own car alarm or remote start system there is a how-to video available. Click here to find out more.

Common Sense Tips

  • Don't blast your stereo system in residential neighborhoods, especially your own. This is just advertising to any thieves within earshot that you have a high-power, expensive stereo system that is worth stealing. Trust me, you don't know your neighbors as well as you think. And they're going to know what time you're at home and when you leave in your friend's car. Thieves will also follow you to wherever you are going and wait for you to leave the car unattended. Then they pull up and do a "smash and grab" on your system and are gone before you know what happened. You'll be left with a seat full of broken glass and no stereo.
  • DON'T, DON'T, DON'T put manufacturer's stickers on the outside of your vehicle. As cool as you may think this looks it's a huge lure for thieves. Not only do they know you have a system in your vehicle but they have an idea of what it's worth to them. Unless you are being sponsored and it is part of the sponsorship agreement you should not put these stickers on your vehicle. They're called "steal me" stickers for a reason.
  • Park your vehicle in well-lit areas that have heavy traffic. Thieves hate to be seen. If you are in a shopping area, park your vehicle as close as possible to the door and under a street light. You want your car seen by as many people as possible.

Insurance Policies

Make sure your system is covered by your insurance policy. You may think that your vehicle is covered because it's in your car but that may not be the case. Depending on your policy and the equipment that you have you may need a policy "rider". See the chapter on insurance for more information.

Car Stereo Insurance

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