Suggestions for a theft resistant used car?

Hi-- I live in Washington, DC and have typically had a car which I’ve used once or twice a week for shopping, social events, etc. over the last four years, I’ve had 2 cars stolen (and one car totalled while parked!) While I’m also considering an exorcism, I would like to buy a relatively inexpensive (probably under $7k) used car that has better locks, ignition theft prevention features (my last two cars have been an accord and a camry).

Does anyone have advice?

It probably didn’t help that the Accord and Camry are at the top of the list for stolen cars. Consider a car that is not likely to be stolen. Way back, my wife had a 91 Taurus wagon. At the time it was the 2nd least stolen car in the country.

Ed B.

Something domestic. Foreign cars, particularly Japanese cars, are at the top of the most-stolen lists because they have expensive parts and a global market for them. Unless it’s something exotic or a joyride situation, nobody steals a car to steal a car-- cars stolen by professionals are almost all chopped.

You’ll also be able to buy a newer domestic car for the same price as an older Japanese car, and so this will also mean better anti-theft systems.

Consider a car with a manual transmission. Many people nowadays cannot drive a stick shift, and that would include many thieves. It’s not foolproof, but its an added deterrent. Also, since a manual transmission car doesn’t hold its value as well as an automatic, they can be a better value in a used car purchase, if you shop carefully.

I don’t think young car thieves would care to steal a Buick. If you have a desireable car no lock will keep thieves from taking it. They can figure out a lock.

The insurance industry publishes list of most and least stolen cars, get the list and go to the bottom where the least stolen cars show up.

The best theft protection is to own something that nobody would bother stealing. Perhaps a beat up old Jeep GC or small pickup?

I have for years really liked inconspicuous, but reliable cars. The chevy Nova to the chevy prisms to what I now think fits the bill,the used Ford Focus or any beat up looking 2wd compact PU. Focus are cheaper and more replaceable and some Focus may come with automatic door locks standard. The other most important item is; don’t put any accessories on it or leave items in sight that would temp a thief.

If you want to go a little overboard, remove all decays and identification plaques on car so it becomes completely unidentifiable except for shape. Keep the car dirty on the outside and as worthless "looking"as possible while clean in the driving environment. Smearing a little grease on lower body panels does wonders to attract dirt while protecting finish til next wash job, if any.

Son and I did this and more (didn’t repaint replaced fender, left primer) with his cars at college parking lots where vandalism occurred and he had no problems other than parking lot dings which added to the project. I suggested he have a box of temporary visual “clean” trash dumped into interior during extended parks. He didn’t like that idea. Date explanation problems were another matter too. Also…park in middle of other parked cars which “encourage” parking lot dents. You want the car to APPEAR a junker while providing safe reliable transportation.

I’m pretty sure parking space is a premium there, but, buy a mini-van or Crown Victoria, no one will want to steal them. :stuck_out_tongue:

A reminder to; there is a difference between vandalism and car theft; and there is less you can do about the vandalism. The better locks encourage vandalism, while very loud alarms help with both.

Thanks–this is definitely something I’m thinking about. . . I actually had a manual before my disasters and didn’t have any problems. . . Since then, automatics have just come up, but I am thinking about this.

For whatever reason, I haven’t had a problem with vandalism–they just disappear. . .

Older Accords and Camrys are stolen and stripped down so the parts can be sold. Some model years of most stolen cars is surprising how old they are. Don’t get an older Civic for this reason, they get stolen too. In these cases it isn’t joy riders stealing the cars, but experienced thieves you are dealing with.

I have the perfect theft resistant car–a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon with the 4-4-2 trim package that I have owned since it was new. I gave it to my son in his first year of college, but he gave it back. I gave it to a person in an old car club , but his wife made him return it. I can’t even give it away, and yet it runs too well to junk.

My parents had a friend whose 1949 Chevrolet was stolen twice. Each time the car was found undamaged except for a dead battery. The 1949 Chevrolet was a very easy car to hotwire. In your case, perhaps an old General Motors diesel car of the late 1970’s would fit in. These cars made a big stink and a lot of noise, but didn’t move very fast. After a couple of years, they lost their popularity. This car would fit in well with the Washington politicians.

Buy “The Club” or similar steering wheel locking device.


One was on the last time. . . I’m told they can be picked with a pen :-).

A really big dog.

Personally my favorite is a fuel shut off. The switch should be tucked away somewhere convenient, but not too obvious. It is best if the car will start and move a block or two before stopping and not restarting. Few thieves are going to spend time trying to figure out what’s wrong in the middle of a street.

You want something bland and awful that no one would ever want. A doctor friend used to work in the Bronx in the emergency room. Given the nature of his job, he had to live close. Therefore he lived and worked in a high crime area. His solution was to drive a Ford Pinto. Maybe you should find something equally unappealing. A Chevy Cavalier comes to mind. You could get a Chevy Cavalier LS for around $6000. You could also use a steering wheel locking device, like the Club. The casual thief wants an easy car to steal. If a Cavalier doesn’t turn him off, the Club will send him to the next car. Nothing will deter a professional thief. And I mean absolutely nothing. If they want your car, it’s gone.

Other cars that might fit the bill are:

2005 Ford Focus, Saturn ION, or Toyota Corolla.

There are others on the HLDI list, but they were new models around 2005. You might also talk to the DC police and your insurer about what they think is a safe car from theft.

A professional thief will steal your car and you can’t stop him. The Club is meant to deter the casual thief that just wants a joy ride. If you are dealing with professional thieves, it’s time to move.

Your Accord and Camry, as others have said, were just high risk vehicles for theft. You want something nobody wants to steal. I have a duaghter who lives in DC and she had an early '90s Volvo 240 sedan. It was ugly, and had some dings and dents, but ran well and it sat on the street for several years without being bothered. She finally sold it due to lack of use.

An old Ford Tarus, a Crown Vic, or Buick, or any number of cars that aren’t Toyotas or Hondas will probably be ignored by thieves everywhere.

all cars will be stolen. my grandpa, back in the 60’s, had a '63 impala, and a new fury. the impala was one of the least desirable cars on the streets then. thief came, and guess which car he took? the ratty impala, and not the brand new fury sitting next to it.

you could install a hidden kill switch. a broken window and messed up wiring is the result in the event of an attempted hotwireing, but you would still have the car