Tips And Advice

The Motorists Guide to Thatcham Security Categories


What is Thatcham?

Thatcham is a product research company that defines the industry benchmark for vehicle security systems. Car security products that meet requirements are categorised depending on the product’s functions. The category system ensures that products are always fit for use on the roads.

After rigorous testing, products that pass the certification process are split up into categories based on their functions.  


Thatcham Security Categories

Thatcham Category 1

Thatcham Category 1 devices must have an electronic alarm and immobiliser. In the event that a thief gains access to your vehicle, the immobiliser will isolate at least two vehicle operating systems, rendering the vehicle inoperable. Category 1 devices will also feature perimeter and ignition detection and also sensors to detect vehicle movements such as tilting or glass breaking. 

Whilst category 1 devices are at the top of the market, vehicles such as the Land Rover Discovery and Mercedes-Benz C Class, which have been fitted with Thatcham Category 1 devices since 1998 and 1997 respectively, are still two of the most commonly stolen vehicles(1). If you have a Thatcham Category 1 device on your vehicle, consider an S5 or S7 vehicle tracker as well. This will help to ensure your vehicle is recovered in the event that your vehicle is stolen.


Thatcham Category 2

Thatcham Category 2 is for electronic immobilisers. An electronic immobiliser means that your vehicle can only be started by the correct key or fob, rather than by hot wiring for example. Like category 1, the device must isolate at least two systems required to drive the car so that in the case of theft, the vehicle won’t start.


Thatcham Category 2/1

Thatcham Category 2/1 means a vehicle was category 2 but has had an aftermarket alarm fitted. Owners sometimes do this to reduce their insurance premiums and increase vehicle security. However, they can not achieve Category 1 by doing this.


Thatcham Category 3

Thatcham Category 3 is for mechanical immobilisers, which could be a steering wheel lock, wheel clamp or a motorbike chain lock, for example. Any Thatcham approved device which prevents your vehicle from being driven without using electricity would be Category 3. This device must be used every time the owner wants to secure the vehicle for the insurance policy to be valid.


Thatcham Category 4

Thatcham Category 4 is for wheel locking devices, primarily wheel nuts, which make alloy wheels more difficult to steal. Whilst wheel nuts are difficult to remove, they are also an excellent visual deterrent. The longer it would take a thief to steal a vehicle, the more attention the thief would attract and therefore the better it deters them.


Thatcham Categories 5-7

As of 2019, Thatcham categories 5-7 have changed to stay up to date with vehicle crime and user demand. This means that products are no longer classified under categories 5-7, they are now split between categories S5 and S7. 


Thatcham Category S5

Thatcham Category S5 is for devices that provide post-theft vehicle tracking and Automatic Driver Recognition (ADR). ADR is a feature on premium tracking products that identifies approved drivers. These identifiers are usually small tags the driver keeps on their keys or on their person. Vehicle movement without a tag will automatically send an alert to the owner directly. 

Previously, a category 5 Thatcham device needed a remote electronic immobiliser, however, this is now no longer mandatory. All previous category 5 vehicle tracking devices are automatically compliant for category S5. 


Find a Thatcham approved S5 Tracker product


Thatcham Category 6

Thatcham Category 6 devices offered post-theft tracking on their own. Vehicles that fell under category 6 can now be split up between categories S5 and S7. Previously, automatic driver recognition was not mandatory for category 6 classification. All category 6 vehicle trackers that did not have Automatic Driver Recognition (ADR)are now classified under category S7, which is a step down from S5. ADR is now mandatory for category S5, meaning all vehicle trackers with ADR are automatically compliant for category S5. 


Thatcham Category S7

Thatcham Category S7 is the new classification for vehicle trackers that were previously considered category 7, or category 6 without ADR.  

The main difference now between categories S5 and S7 is whether or not the tracking device offers ADR. Category S7 does not offer ADR but can still offer safety and security to you and your vehicle.

Each S7 tracker comes with a range of premium features that help track and locate your vehicle. These products are more affordable than S5 trackers, without losing efficiency. 

TRACKER has a range of excellent S7 products that can help ensure peace of mind. 


Find a Thatcham approved S7 Tracker product


Using Thatcham approved car, motorbike, caravan or motorhome trackers could help to reduce insurance claims whilst maintaining safety and security for your vehicle. In some cases, vehicles over a certain value are harder to get insured if they do not have a Thatcham approved tracker. 


Protect your vehicle with Tracker

Tracker is the leading stolen vehicle recovery specialists in the UK with patented anti-jamming VHF technology that is superior to GPS tracking.

We are in partnership with UK Police Forces who will assist in the event that your vehicle is stolen to help reunite you with your vehicle as quickly as possible. Tracker devices can locate your vehicle with full or partial European coverage, even if it is underground or in a container, making your vehicle more visible to the Police with quicker recovery.


Tracker, the ONLY choice for your vehicle protection

Recovering your vehicle is our priority, no matter your vehicle. Tracker is at hand to help

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