4 cheap and simple tricks to ward off would-be car thieves, according to you


Last week we shared a video outlining the process of adding a $10 killswitch to interrupt the fuel pump circuit, therefore preventing a thief from driving off with your car. Users on the Hagerty Forums agreed that a kill switch is a handy addition, but the commenters also offered a few ideas of their own to add to the conversation. Here are some of the best suggestions:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/05/09/cheap-simple-tricks-to-ward-off-thieves

Drive a stick shift


The kill switch should be to the power side of the coil. Then no spark


When traveling, remove a rear wheel and keep it in your room for the night.


My fix on this issue was to intersect the door light switch, and run a wire to the horn through a switch just under the grill where I could reach it. When the door was opened when the switch was on, the horn would go off. I really worked well as I scared myself many times.

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I once put a mercury switch to the horn. I had one in the radiator support that activated from side to side motion, and one in the trunk that activated back and forth. So if you "bumped " the car, the horn would start blowing. Wasn’t perfect, but it worked in 1973.


Amen Brother. A stick shift is a Millennial Anti-Theft Device


Is this really an issue? Do people steal classic cars? I’d like to hear personal experiences of owners whose classic cars (not Camrys) were stolen and especially How they were stolen, perhaps cases from Hagerty files. I’ve had that sinking feeling that my car was stolen, but only because I’d parked it in a different area of the parking lot.


My gun always seems to be quite the deterrent, when it comes to a would-be thief attempting to take one of my prized autos!


Place a Momentary Switch that has to be physically held open to engage the circuit to your Starter. This way, when you park your car, the circuit is always Closed and unlike a Regular ON/Off Toggle Switch, you Don’t have to Manually Activate it.

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Ejector seat worked for Bond

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I have a Pro Touring 67 Camaro SS convertible. I didn’t want to lock the car at night thereby encouraging thiefs to cut my expensive top so I mounted a second dimmer switch directly above the original. I wired the fuel pump wire through the second one. It’s handy to operate with your foot before you leave the car and easy to turn on before you start it. It is very obscure and unnoticeable and I really doubt a thief will drive the car off but they still could get it with a rollaway. I consider this the perfect solution to my problem anyhow.

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When pulling fuses to deter theft, replace pulled fuses with BLOWN fuses so it is not so obvious. Easy for thieves to carry a small jumper for use when they see empty slot. Forget the old west MY GUN strategy!! It doesn’t play in our politically correct society. Rule of thumb: Only time you can pull the trigger is if you feel personally threatened. It sucks…but if you see someone pulling out of your driveway in your priced possession LET THE #%*'s GO


For my Healey, I inserted a slo-blo push to reset circuit breaker and a latching bypass switch around the circuit breaker in the fuel line circuit. The reset is easily accessed (if you know where to look) from the driver’s seat. So, if I forget to flip (arm) the bypass switch, it is easy for me to reset and keep driving. I’m not worried about theft as much as I worry about joy-riding. If someone takes the car “out for a spin” they are going to run out of gas after a few hundred feetand probably have a hard time explaining why they are stranded somewhere public. Most likely they’ll abandon the car and I get my car back.


Don’t bother taking the coil wire completely off, just disconnect it and leave it in place. If the thief even bothers to check (he won’t), he might not even know enough to notice what’s wrong.


Is this really an issue? Sadly, yes.
About four years ago I lived in an apartment building with a “secure” parking garage. By secure, I mean that you needed a key fob to get in and to get out of the garage.
One morning I came down and found my parking spot empty as someone had taken off with my 1977 280Z. If it wasn’t a resident that stole it, then a resident let the thief in and also let them out with my car.
Fortunately it was found on the side of a country road in a couple of days with minimal damage, an empty gas tank, and all of my personal stuff gone from the inside. Since locking gas cap was still in place they just drove it til it ran out of gas and left it.
They never did catch the guy even though they had good security footage of him, and he left a carpet knife under the seat of the car with a phone number written on the handle.
I use a Club on the steering wheel now, but I’m thinking about adding a kill switch.
By the way - my car is a stick shift.


We would always take the ignition rotor with us… Fairly quick and easy and No one is walking around with a spare rotor in their pockets any more!

You Can use a coat hanger, piece of wire as in impromptu coil wire though so…not likely but a more easily thwarted counter measure…:wink:

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I have a '63 Porsche coupe. It has some built-in deterrents like a fuel shut off and a shift lock. Another option for anyone with an electric tach is to put a kill switch in the wiring cutting off the connection between the tach and coil.

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One idea on the coil wire is using a piece of vacuum hose in place of the coil wire. A thief will never figure that one out. One idea I heard from a friend was using the cigarette lighter. He rigged a switch on the back of the lighter and used a short piece of wooden dowel behind the lighter to disengage the switch and wired it into the coil wire. When he wanted to run the car he just pulled the lighter out and removed the dowel. Of course most of us now use the lighter as a power port which would be a problem. I think taking a wheel off is the most failsafe way since it would keep it off a flatbed but that is a lot of work every night.


I like to cut power to the electric fuel pump on a carbureted car. That way, you hear the thief start the car and drive it a block or so.

This gives me time to grab my 2-1/8" combo wrench (rotary flywheel nut) and head out for a little talk.

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