Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, and also a time when your car can become a treasure trove for thieves. Here are three basic common sense tips to keep your car – and any valuables inside your car – safe and secure while you cross items off your shopping list:
Keep merchandise out of sight. For most car owners, it’s as simple as locking any new purchases in the trunk. If you have a hatchback or SUV, be sure to use a cargo cover. It’s also safe and convenient to store smaller items in the glove box or the center console.
Drop Off Items at Home. If you’ve purchased a big-ticket item or if you’ve completed a big shopping trip and need to go somewhere else, make a detour home to drop off your purchases. A few minutes of your time could save you lots of holiday disappointment.
Use valet keys and valet mode. If you don’t already carry a valet key with you, this is the season to start. Whether you’re valet parking at a mall for convenience or having dinner after shopping, this key will keep a prying valet or a larcenous passerby from getting into the trunk of the car. If you want to keep your infotainment data private, a number of newer models offer a valet mode, which locks the screen until a pin code is entered.
Those three tips are from Edmunds.com, my go-to site for car shopping and vehicle information. Here’s another tip, from me –
Park in a well-lit area of the mall or garage. My daughter likes to park at the edge of a lot, to protect her vehicle from dings and dents. That’s great if you are parking and shopping in daylight, but the outlying spots offer too much opportunity for the bad guys after dark, both to break into your vehicle or to follow you.
While these tips are especially important for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, you should use them year-round.