Hacking Cars: Are New Cars Easier to Steal?

March 14, 2014

man breaking into a carAdvancements in technology are revolutionizing how our vehicles operate—but are they doing anything to enhance security? Auto theft is a huge problem in Canada costing $1 billion per year between insurance, fixing or replacing vehicles, court and correctional service costs, and more.

The good news, according to Statistics Canada, is that motor vehicle theft is declining. “The bad news is that recovery rates continue to decline when compared to previous years,” according to Rick Dubin, vice-president of Investigative Services at the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), in an article that ran on Global News. Despite declining numbers, it’s estimated that a car is stolen every three and a half minutes in Canada, which means one will be taken before you’re finished reading this article.

Old Cars – Target for Thieves?

It is a myth that thieves prefer shiny new vehicles. Every year, IBC releases a list of the 10 most stolen vehicles in Canada and all cars on the list are at least seven years old. In fact, the most recent vehicles on the list are a Ford F250 and Ford F350 both from 2007. Older vehicles are more attractive partially due to the demand for their parts. This is especially true for 2000 Honda Civics, the most stolen vehicle on the list. Thieves prefer popular models (like the best-selling Civic), stripping the vehicles of their parts and selling them for more than they’re worth. Older vehicles also lack the sophisticated anti-theft technology of today’s models, making them easier to steal.

New Cars and Technology

Alarm devices, built in GPS systems, and etching vehicle identification numbers (VIN) in glass are just some of the contemporary measures in place to deter thieves from stealing newer vehicles. Thieves will often change the VIN number and sell stolen vehicles to unsuspecting drivers, but etching it on the windshield and windows complicates the procedure. (Note: if you purchase a used car, you should always do a check on the vehicle’s VIN number to ensure it’s not stolen.) Insurance companies will likely give you a discount on your car insurance if you install certain anti-theft security measures in your vehicle—saving you money while helping prevent your car from being stolen.

Both new cars and older vehicles do get stolen equally, but you can make your car less attractive to thieves. So what can you do to prevent becoming a victim of theft?

  •    Don’t ever leave your car unattended if it’s running
  •    Park in well lit places or in your garage
  •    Double check to make sure your doors are locked and your windows are up
  •    Install additional anti-theft measures such as professional VIN etching
  •    Install a tracking device—this won’t prevent your vehicle from being stolen, but it will help police locate it

No matter how old your vehicle is, taking the right steps to prevent auto theft can help you save on your auto insurance.