Car security advice and tips

Car security

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), cases of vehicle-related crimes in England and Wales have significantly declined over the past few decades. While this is comforting news for car owners and a broad recognition of the improved security measures included as standard in new vehicles, we should remember that car thieves have not stopped operating.

It is therefore important not to become casual about vehicle security and run the risk of becoming a statistic ourselves. With that in mind, the following seven points are our top recommendations for improving car security.

1. Lock your car

This advice may seem obvious but ONS crime figures show that car owners consistently forget to apply this most basic security feature. Almost half of all vehicle-related thefts are because thieves had gained access through an unlocked door.

Get in the habit of always locking up, even if you will only be away from the car for a few seconds. Don’t solely rely on a quick press of the key fob either: check for audible or visual signals that the car has actually locked before you walk away. And if your Lexus has door mirrors that can automatically fold in when the car is locked, be sure to activate this feature – potential thieves recognise it is a clear visual sign of a locked car.

2. Keep valuables out of sight

Opportunist thieves are often looking for easy-to-grab valuables that have been left on display. Police report that items such as jewellery, bags, purses and wallets, cash, credit cards, clothes and documents are the most commonly stolen in vehicle-related crimes.

Reduce this risk by stashing valuables out of sight, such as in the glove box or boot. Better still, take those items away with you. And if you’re going to leave the car for a longer period of time, consider clearing the boot entirely and removing the parcel shelf or load cover to show thieves that there is nothing to steal.

Car security

3. Be mindful of signals

Most modern Lexus models are equipped with a keyless entry and start system – a convenience which sends a constant signal from the key fob in order to unlock the vehicle’s doors and de-activate the immobiliser as you approach. Although it is possible for tech-savvy thieves with special equipment to hijack this signal, they must be in close proximity to the key or vehicle.

So if you doubt the intentions of anybody in the immediate vicinity of your vehicle, wait for them to leave before approaching the car. Better still, whenever you are not driving, block the signal from the key by keeping it in a metal box or Faraday pouch. This is equally important at home as thieves can use a ‘daisy chain’ of receivers to relay the signal from the key (which is probably kept near the front door) to open the car.

4. Secure your port

Every new car sold in the UK since 2003 has been equipped with an on-board diagnostic port. Abbreviated to OBD, this port is a computer connection that allows the car to communicate messages about its mechanical health to an authorised technician. Unfortunately, thieves have discovered that with special equipment they can use this OBD port to programme blank keys to work with the car.

For this reason, some owners choose to secure their OBD port with an aftermarket lock. Typically, this can either be a lockable metal box that covers the port itself, or an electronic lock that works alongside the original immobiliser to disable the port when the ignition is off.

5. Protect your cat

Your catalytic converter, that is. The ‘cat’ forms part of your car’s emissions control system and cleans exhaust gases before they are expelled through the tailpipe. Unfortunately, the precious metals inside the cat that help to neutralise these passing gases are exactly that – precious. Which means that the catalytic converter itself has become a target for thieves.

Lexus UK has taken action to deter thieves by issuing thousands of SmartWater invisible marking kits to local initiatives, as well as providing Lexus customers with a free SmartWater forensic marking service at their local centre. Lexus has also developed a mechanical locking device to deter would-be thieves. These measures are explained in more detail in our dedicated article on catalytic converter theft.

6. Park with care

Thieves do not like performing in front of an audience, so the place where you park has a bearing on the vehicle’s vulnerability. ONS statistics show that the likelihood of experiencing a car-related crime is much lower in busy, town centre parking areas. This is especially true when car parks are well-lit and have manned or CCTV security coverage.

Similarly, the time at which you park your car has a bearing on its security. Most instances of car-related crimes occur in the early hours of the morning, so avoid leaving in your car in a dark, unfamiliar area overnight.

Car security

7. Extra security

Modern vehicles invariably come with a high level of built-in security – the specific features of which are usually designed to react in the event of an incident. But there are simple things you can do to actively dissuade a thief from pursuing an attack on your car. These precautions include:

  • Using a brightly coloured mechanical device locked across the steering wheel, gear lever or clutch pedal will provide an excellent visual deterrent to a would-be thief. A well-known steering wheel ‘crook lock’ “Stop Lock Pro Elite” is what Lexus would advise fitting to models, particularly RX, NX and UX (other brands of steering wheel locks are available to purchase should you wish).
  • We may be living in a digital age but nothing will persuade an opportunist to leave your car alone more effectively than a good old-fashioned piece of ironmongery. Or for that matter, a snarling dog.

More information on preventing car crime can be found by visiting the Police UK website – www.police.uk – and by searching ‘car crime’.

200 comments

  1. Hi
    You seem to be sending out conflicting messages with regard to the remedy of Cambus Theft on the NX 300H which I understand has been Delayed. After reporting the attempted Cambus theft of my NX300H to Lexus UK (Saved by the Stopcock Pro Elite) you advised me that Lexus UK would contact me direct when the upgrade is available. I see from some of the comments you are advising people to contact their Lexus Centre. I have contacted my Lexus centre twice they say they have no information on the proposed upgrade for the NX and are not keeping a record of Customers involved. I am confused!

    1. Hello,
      Thanks for your comment.
      There is no information available on the security enhancements just yet.
      We are asking people to get in touch with their Lexus Centre so that they can be notified by their Lexus Centre when this security enhancement is available.
      Alternatively, if you would prefer to be contacted by Lexus UK, please let us know and we can make sure we make this happen.
      We hope this helps to provide clarity on the matter.
      Thank you.

  2. My Car Lexus RX450H was stolen last 2 weeks in Dagenham. It was stolen within minutes. How lexus can design a car with such a flaw is beyond me. This is very bad for the Brand. We deserve to be compensated. All my valuable personal belongings are lost with the car including my child’s memory books etc..

    1. Hello Adebayo,
      We are terribly sorry to hear that you have been affected by this awful crime.
      Please be assured this is a matter that we are taking extremely seriously.
      We are continuously developing technical solutions to make our vehicles more secure and reduce the risk of theft.
      While we understand theft or attempted theft can be highly upsetting and, in some cases, a costly experience, in such instances customers are first and foremost victims of crime.
      Lexus does not cover costs associated with criminal activity either under the terms of the warranty or as goodwill.
      Once again, we are really sorry that you have been affected by this horrible crime and for the distress this has caused.
      Thanks.

    1. Hello Ali,
      Thanks for your comment.
      The Vehicle Protective Plate is available for your RX.
      Please contact your nearest Lexus Centre if you would like to have this fitted.
      Thanks.

    1. Hi Jo, thanks for your message.

      We can confirm that your UX is deemed as vulnerable to CANbus theft. We are currently working on further security updates and whilst we have no information on this at the moment, we would recommend registering your vehicle as eligible for this at your local Lexus Centre.

      Thanks,

      Lexus UK

  3. Hi
    I take delivery of my new Lexus es 300h Premium in 2 weeks. Can you advise if, as this is a brand new car it will, have anti theft Canbus encryption already fitted beating in mind this security issue is well known and has been going on for years.

    1. Hello Shane,thanks for getting in touch.

      Great choice on the Lexus ES 300h, lovely car to drive.
      Please may we get the registration so we can follow up.

      Thanks,

      Lexus UK

  4. Hello can you please confirm if my 2024 RX350h is vulnerable to the CANBUS attack. If so is there an upcoming software update ?
    Also, are protective steel plate covers available for the driver and passenger side CANBUS headlight ports and what are their part numbers? Here is my VIN

    Thank You.

    1. Hi Tony, thanks for getting in touch.

      We can only advise on the UK market. Please contact Lexus in your area directly regarding the vulnerability of your RX.

      Thanks,

      Lexus UK

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