Car theft is a problem that can strike anyone at any time. The National Insurance Crime Bureau recently released some information that points to winter being the most precarious time for drivers, as many let their guard down in the search for warmth.
Why you must watch out this winter
When winter strikes and temperatures plummet, many drivers change up some of their habits. For example, it's common to see people turn on their cars and leave them idling, without a driver, to warm up. While that makes for a more comfortable interior when passengers finally load in, it also leaves the vehicle a clear target for theft.
"We all like a warm car with a defrosted windshield, but so do the car thieves," said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. "Leaving a car running and unlocked in the driveway or parking lot is an open invitation to them to drive off with a vehicle that they normally couldn't steal."
Don't let up on holidays
Certain holidays are also popular with criminals. The NICB noted that New Year's Day was the celebratory day with the most reported thefts, as 2,184 cars were stolen Jan. 1, 2013. That easily outpaced Halloween, which was in second place, and some of the summer holidays. However, a few other cold-weather festivals, such as Presidents' Day, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve also had quite a few reported thefts.
There is some good news, though. Thanksgiving and Christmas Day were the two holidays with the lowest number of thefts, with Dec. 25 marking the lowest point for the entire 2013 calendar year, according to the NICB.
Stay up-to-date on maintenance
One of the most important things you can do to avoid theft is to make sure your car is running on all cylinders – literally and figuratively. For instance, if your ride takes a long time to warm up in the morning, you may want to have the HVAC system checked out. A simple fix could have your heat blasting in no time, which in turn means you won't have to leave the vehicle idling out in the open.
If you want to have a tune-up to see if your car can be improved, schedule an appointment at NJ State Auto's Total Car Care Center. The garage caters to the public and can address any issues you may have.