How to protect and secure your collector car from theft and damage?
Article – 16/12/2021
The collector car market is very important in France and in the world. According to the “Fédération Française des Véhicules d’Époque” (FFVE), there will be more than one million collector cars in circulation in France in 2021. The value of collector cars on the market makes thefts more and more frequent. In addition to the material loss of the vehicle and the consequent financial investment, the theft of a collector car is a loss of cultural, historical and sentimental value.
In a few figures, according to a survey by the FFVE, the collector car market in France is :
- Average age of collector car owners: 59 years
- A collector owns his car 12 years on average
- Average value of collector cars: 26 340€
- Collector car accidents : 3% of the total
- Average age of collector cars: 51 years
- Citroën and Renault represent 30% of the collector cars (especially 2CV, Mehari, R5…).
- Collector cars are driven on average 14 times a year.
Why are collector vehicles so vulnerable?
Collector cars are prized by thieves because they have a commercial value worldwide. The most sought-after models can range from €6,000 for a Fiat 500 to €120,000 for a Jaguar E-type: the market is very varied since a collector car is considered to be a vehicle that is more than 30 years old, that is no longer in production and whose characteristics have not been modified (if not, a request must be made).
Collector cars are old, fragile and require maintenance. Generally, collector cars are not the main means of transportation for their owners. Indeed, the owners of these old cars prefer to take them out for pleasure, from time to time, to go to events or demonstrations.
When not in use, collector cars are usually parked in a parking lot or garage and are therefore vulnerable to theft. Indeed, even on private property, there is no such thing as zero risk. Owners of collector cars are usually noticed in their neighborhood. Thieves are able to follow a car to the home and later enter the private property and steal it.
Collector cars usually do not have theft protection and security systems. As a result, thieves know that they are easy to steal. Doors and windows have locks that are easier to open than those of newer cars. Thieves may decide to steal the entire car or just a few valuable parts that are in high demand in foreign markets.
Finally, old cars are often difficult to find once they are stolen. The registration authorities have difficulty in tracing and identifying them in case of theft. They also do not have built-in GPS services like those offered in some current cars.
The first reflexes to avoid thefts of classic cars
If you are the lucky owner of a collector car, there are some good habits to adopt: a must in order not to endanger your precious vehicle. These are small daily gestures that do not require much effort but that allow you to avoid most thefts.
As in all cars, you must be careful not to leave anything in plain sight when you are not in the car. For example, a GPS, a handbag or sunglasses. This will prevent you from being carjacked, with a broken window or a broken door. This would be a shame, especially since damage can occur to a collector car.
It is advisable to park in an enclosed space, such as a garage, a box or a parking lot under 24-hour surveillance. In a garden, install a tarpaulin so that it is protected from the cold and a little less visible to thieves. When not parked on private property, park your collector car on a well-lit, busy street, which will repel thieves. At night, avoid festive places.
Before returning home, remember to check all the doors and windows. The locks are not centralized like in newer cars, so it is normal to sometimes forget to lock these places. Check the window openings by tightening the screws from inside the vehicle.
Don’t forget the vehicle’s papers in order to be able to easily prove ownership and report the theft to the police station. If the thief is in possession of the papers of your classic car, it will be easier for him to change the registration and the car registration and to cross out your name from the paper.
Finally, a good insurance is essential for all types of damages. Make sure that your guarantee is “approved value”, corresponding to the real and current value of your collector car.
Benefit from a complete solution in case of theft of a collector car
The GPS tracker
The GPS tracker is the anti-theft solution that best protects your collector car before and after theft. Hide it in the vehicle and it will complement your current anti-theft system or stand alone depending on the brand of GPS tracker.
The Capturs GPS tracker is autonomous and unplugged. Combined with the use of the Sigfox low-bandwidth/long-range network, this makes it undetectable and non-jamming to thieves. It is self-sufficient since it detects the moment of the theft with an immediate alert of movement sent by SMS or Email to the owner of the vehicle. Whether it is the movement of the whole vehicle or only a part of it (seat, door, etc.), if the owner does not have time to go to his car, he can follow it in real time from his smartphone, tablet or computer. In this case, we recommend transmitting the information of the GPS tracker present in the car to the police or to the organization that will take care of the search for the stolen vehicle, in order to be able to find it. With a simple click you can share the GPS tracker with the authorities by SMS, Whatsapp, Email, etc.
The Capturs GPS tracker only transmits and sends positions when the vehicle is in motion. As collector cars are not usually the main means of transportation for their owners, the GPS tracker will be in motion less often than in normal use, which means that the battery will last for several years, depending on the use.
You can also equip your collector car with other solutions that complement the GPS tracker:
The electrical circuit breaker
The principle of the circuit breaker is to cut the power supply of the collector car when it is not in use. It is installed in a few minutes on the battery of the vehicle and is easily activated / deactivated. When the circuit is closed, it is impossible to start the car and this can discourage thieves. On the other hand, it is easy for thieves to open the circuit since they only need to open the hood of the collector car to access the circuit breaker.
The disconnection of the ignition
Disconnecting the ignition does not cut the electrical circuit, unlike the circuit breaker described above. The only difference is that the engine will not run and it will be more difficult for the thief to find out what the problem is. Each model of classic car has a different ignition finger. If the latter is removed, the corresponding one must be put back in order for the engine to work properly again: the thief does not have one on him. This method, while effective, is also cumbersome for everyday use and will not work for all classic car owners.
Installing an alarm on a collector car can be an effective way to keep thieves away. The siren goes off when a window is broken, a door is opened or when the collector car is moved. Buying a quality collector car alarm costs more than a hundred euros, so it is not the most economical solution.
The blocking device
A locking device on a collector car will prevent the vehicle from moving. There are two types of locking systems: wheel locks and steering wheel locks. These devices, while effective, can be difficult to install or remove, cumbersome and heavy. Nevertheless, they are conspicuous and may deter thieves from damaging the vehicle.