BMW enjoys a solid reputation for being secure. Although Bimmers are highly sought-after, the German automaker has done a stellar job at neutralizing theft with its engineering decisions.
However, don’t be complacent. Do your share in keeping your BMW safe from car thieves with these seven tips.
1. Secure Your Phone
The My BMW App can remotely locate your vehicle, lock and unlock your doors, and start your engine. It’s so powerful losing your mobile device is one step closer to getting your Bimmer stolen. Prevent unauthorized access to it with the same vigor as keeping your keys away from malicious hands.
Download the latest My BMW App version once it becomes available to address bugs and fix any cybersecurity vulnerabilities it may have. Activate automatic updates to ensure it’s always recent.
Put a premium on strong password protection. Using a string of 12 characters or more to unlock your phone is better than relying on a four-digit PIN. If you’re not a fan of biometric authentication, an unguessable password is the next best way to keep your data safe if you lose your device.
Consider location tracking, too. It can help you find your phone when it goes missing. Note your smartphone’s unique identification number to easily prove you’re the owner when the authorities or a Good Samaritan recovers it.
2. Avoid Street Parking
Park indoors as much as possible. Most car thieves target valuable models they can access quickly. Leaving it on the street for everyone to see may attract larcenists’ attention and invite disaster.
Keep your Bimmer in your garage and ensure the doors are closed and locked. If you don’t have a garage, consider adding one or building a carport. Although a carport primarily protects against the elements, you can increase its security. A lockable gate, surveillance cameras, floodlights and motion sensors can deter malicious onlookers.
3. Create Physical Obstacles
Use obstructions to make life harder for criminals to drive your Bimmer away if you can’t hide it from the public. Block it with another vehicle if you have one. Steering wheel locks and pedal boxes are also effective visual deterrents.
4. Park in a Busy, Well-Lit Area
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 1 million vehicles are stolen annually in the United States. This figure would’ve been smaller if only more Americans had decided against parking in deserted, dark areas.
If you must park on the street, choose a location where crooks can be more identifiable when they break into your vehicle. Car theft can still happen in broad daylight, but greater visibility and crowdedness can discourage less determined transgressors.
5. Don’t Leave Valuables in Plain View
Do you carry precious cargo? How about your wallet, jewelry and other electronic devices? Hide whatever personal belongings you have in your car before leaving.
The prospect of chopping up desirable German wheels whose components fetch steep price tags on the black market is enough motivation for many criminals. Don’t give them one more reason to target your BMW.
When parking your BMW in your driveway, keep the key away from your home’s exterior walls, doors and windows to render its signal less detectable. If you must park on the street, select a spot far from your house. Parking at a distance can confuse the crooks about which property it belongs to, making the crime harder to pull off.
6. Store Your Key With Strategy
You can fall victim to keyless car theft when criminals pick up, amplify and replicate the signal your key transmits to trick your BMW into thinking they’re you. Once they’re in, your Bimmer can disappear in literally a minute.
Moreover, buy a Faraday pouch. This box shields its contents from radio waves with its metallic lining. Storing your key in a tin container accomplishes the same goal. A microwave makes an excellent keyless car theft stopper, but you can damage it when you heat something without removing your BMW key first.
7. Install a Tracking Device
Fitting your car with a tracker increases the chances of recovering it when it’s stolen. The police can use the signal to locate your Bimmer instead of combing Facebook and Twitter and retrieve it before it winds up in a chop shop or shipping container that can block the signal.
Tracking devices may not occur to garden-variety joyriders and test-drive fraudsters, but discerning larcenists are wary of them. They’re familiar with common hiding spots because they use vehicle trackers to steal their targets later. Fortunately, a professional installer can place your tracker in an obscure location so it can play hide-and-seek longer.
Elevate Your Bimmer’s Security
Your BMW is only as secure as its weakest vulnerability. Its manufacturer can only do so much to keep it from being stolen, so use these tips to take security to new heights and outsmart various breeds of car thieves.