Modern advances in tracking technology and alarm systems makes it harder than ever to steal a car.  So what are car thieves to do?  Well, being the consummate and perpetual opportunists they are known to be, thieves are now increasingly looking to steal what is the next most vulnerable and valuable part of your car – your wheels and tires!

The cost to replace stolen wheels and tires can easily top $2,000 even for an average cost car, never mind the additional thousands of dollars in damage thieves can cause to your car’s body from sloppily placing your vehicle on concrete blocks of milk crates.  If your Auto Insurance policy has Comprehensive coverage, then your insurance company will pay for most your loss. However, personally you will still pay a price.  First, because a deductible will apply, you will pay the first $300 to $1,000, depending on your policy.  Second, even though the claim is no fault of your own, it is nonetheless a claim paid and becomes part of your claim history, and with some insurance companies it could increase the insurance rate you pay down the line.

So, here are a few easy to do tips to deter thieves and help keep you from paying the price for having your car’s wheels and tires stolen:

Park your car in the safest place possible.

This might seem obvious, but many of us are simply not always conscious of theft risk when parking a car- usually just the most convenient spot. Look for open, well-lighted spaces with lots of public activity.

Make your wheels harder to remove.

After you park, turn your wheels in the sharpest possible angle. Wheels usually look into position when parked and angled wheels can be a deterrent because the wheel well gets in the way, making it more difficult to get access to your tire’s lug nuts.

Put wheel locks on.

Thieves are more brazen than ever, so this might be the best solution. For as little as $20 you can replace a regular lug nut on each tire with a key coded wheel lock. There are ways around these locks, but they still serve as a big deterrent – thieves usually need all four tires, and given the extra time needed to remove four locks and the fact that removing the special locks requires noisy power tools, thieves are more likely to move on to the next victim.