This must not be my lucky month. I've just had my Honda Civic stolen at a train station parking area. So by the time I arrived to my home station, I returned to nothing but an empty parking space. To add fuel to this head-steaming situation, I also had just purchased new tires for each wheel.
The only positive event I can think of was when I received a call 2 days later from law enforcement regarding my recovered vehicle. It was found abandoned and was towed away. Without hesitation, I drove to the station and the towing company to fill out the release forms. I paid $108 for the towing company and another $100 for getting it towed to my home. For each day I didn't take the car off their lot, I would have been charged $45. Great; just more items to add to my unanticipated expense list.
You maybe wondering what was stolen; the stereo system (without the faceplate), 4 chrome rims, and everything useful in the back trunk.
How did they break in? I can't be sure but no glass had been broken and none of the keyholes appeared to have been tampered with. Also, the steering wheel lock that I had installed appears to have been unlocked. Some possible conclusions? Professionals with key sets for all occasion perhaps. Afterall, the lug nuts on the rims required special sockets but they must have had their own copy as well.
How about the alarm system? I suppose it may have helped for a while until the battery runs down or until the power and wires are cut from the alarm system or siren horns. Many alarms are so sensitive that many go off very often for minor reasons. Eventually more people just become conditioned to simply ignoring them.
So what can one do to protect their Honda civic, the nation's most popular auto among thieves, from disappearing? You may have to think like a thief to answer that. Or perhaps drive a vehicle unpopular to thieves? Or even buy a hidden GPS locator for the vehicle? These can all be valid options but they certainly won't be cheap.
One idea I decided to try was to give the clutch/brake lock a chance. I purchased it for about $70. Supposedly this unbreakable solid steel device can be used to lock around your clutch pedal (brake pedal if automatic transmission) that will prevent a thief from starting your auto. Although I still can't imagine how locking your break pedal would be any good; hypothetically, the emergency brake could also be used instead. Anyhow, it sounds like an interesting concept. if this works as designed, then the only way a thief could steal your auto would be by towing it away.
I've been using this lock for several weeks now but I still have mixed feelings about it. I like the added comfort of security it provides but at times I find myself struggling with just trying to release the lock! It seems the tighter you pull on the handle to set the lock, the more force it takes to press on the foot rest and pull the lock to set it free.
For added security, I started on a project to design my own kill switch.
A kill switch is basically any kind of switch that can be used to prevent your car from starting to giving a thief the impression that the car has mechanical or ignition problems. Some alarms have this already built in while others may even include a kill switch that is activated several minutes or miles after your vehicle has been broken into.
I can't go in to too much detail on how I did this myself but having some background in electronics was a big help.
Switches are widely available in various forms from any local electronic parts store. I made sure my switch could handle at least 12 volts and 15 amps of current. It could be more hassle to troubleshoot if my car couldn't start because of a switch or wire I installed that could potentially burn open from current overload.
The next step was to find an electrical component that I could apply the switch to. This is where my Service Manual came in handy. I can trace the wires from either the electrical component or the battery. Wires were color coded but double checking to identify the correct wire was also important.
I had to go through a few trial and errors to find the best wire to apply the switch to. I disconnected the first wire on my list, and attempted to start the car. The car managed to start so I moved on to the next wire. By the time I got to the 5th wire, the car tried to turn the engine several times but just couldn't. Perfect! That's when I knew I had a winner.
All I needed to do was to connect the switch to this wire and run the line discreetly through the underside of the dashboard. Then place the control switch somewhere hidden but reachable from the driver's seat.