Tips And Advice

How To Increase Car Security In Winter - Beware Frost Jacking!

The dangers of Engine Idling , Keyless Car Theft and where you are parking your vehicle

Motorists can no longer afford to be complacent about their car security. Figures published by the government shows that UK crime rates for vehicle theft are on the rise in England and Wales.  Increasing by 52% in the last six years[1]. Despite the rising risk of theft, 47% of motorists admit to leaving their car running unattended on frosty mornings to warm it up.  

Car theft techniques are evolving rapidly, and as technology and car security advances, so do the efforts of criminals who have their eyes on your vehicle. A firm favourite technique for car thieves is ‘frost-jacking’, which many motorists make too easy. 

Frost-jacking is when your vehicle is stolen in the minutes you turn your engine on to defrost or warm up your car, and the car is left unattended. Your car could be frost-jacked when you are getting ready for work, popping into a shop or dropping the kids into school, with or without keys or a car fob. Whenever you leave your car engine on, unattended, you are inviting criminals to take your car from you.


Locking your car is not enough to keep it safe 

In 2019, 92% of cars that were stolen and recovered by Tracker from homes across the UK were stolen without their keys.

Many of these were stolen via relay attack, which is when a small groups of criminal use relay-style devices to trick the signal from your car to your keys. This makes your car think your keys are within range, unlocking your car, starting your engine and driving away with your precious motor. 

When a keyless car is running, key fobs are not a factor because keyless cars don’t even need the keys in the car to run if the engine is already on. So all a thief has to do is use a relay device to unlock your car and drive off with your property.

Cars that do not have keyless entry, like classic cars,  are at even higher risk due to the fact that to leave the engine to warm up unattended means to leave the keys in the car. Classic cars are often left running idle, unattended, due to their old engines that owners like to warm up before a drive. 

To ensure security for your classic car, read on to learn Tracker™’s car security tips for winter, or consider getting a vehicle tracker to ensure you get your precious car back in the event of theft.


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Which time of year is most popular for car thefts?

“December and January are peak months for thefts, as it’s when we typically experience harsh frosty mornings,” says Clive Wain, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker. “Whilst it is tempting to leave your car running with the keys in the ignition on frosty cold mornings, experience tells us it’s not a wise move. Not only does it make your car an easy target for opportunistic thieves, but few insurers will pay out if you haven’t taken reasonable care to prevent your car from being stolen.”


How can I defrost my car safely?

Running your engine to warm up your car is completely safe so long as you don’t leave the vehicle unattended. This counts for all types of vehicles, including cars, motorbikes, motorhomes and caravans. 

Owners of new models such as the Range Rover Sport with heated windscreens and snowy terrain settings, or the BMW X5 with heated washer jets and all-season tyres should have no reason to leave their vehicles running idle. However, owners of these vehicles should take extra care because they were two of the UK's most stolen vehicles in 2019.


For those vehicles without automatic heating systems, it might take a bit longer to warm up,. Here are some tips for how to safely defrost your car this winter:


Vehicle Defrosting Tips

  • Spray your windscreen with de-icer the night before

  • Use good quality screen wash which protects down to -20℃, 

  • Keep a windscreen cover on the car overnight

  • Keeping your car in a garage or underground car park is the best way to stop your windscreen from freezing over 

  • Invest in a good quality ice scraper that won’t damage the glass


How can Tracker™ help to protect my car this winter?

In the event that your car is stolen, a standard vehicle tracker will let you know roughly where your car is for you to call the police and notify them. The likelihood of you receiving your vehicle back before thieves have taken it apart or shipped it overseas depends on the quality of the tracker, the service from the supplier and the response time by the authorities. 

Most trackers will locate your vehicle to within an approximate location, so long as the vehicle is not obstructed by any signal blocking materials.

A stolen vehicle recovery device from Tracker™ is unlike any other tracker on the market. Our military grade VHF technology is not able to be blocked by illegal GPS signal jammers. With VHF, Tracker™ headquarters has the ability to detect your discreet tracking device anywhere in Europe, even if it’s underground, in a garage, or in a container. 

Tracker™ has a unique partnership with UK police forces and a 24/7 stolen vehicle reporting unit. In the event that your car is stolen, Tracker™ notify the police who have the technology to trace your Tracker™ device immediately. This improves response times meaning that your vehicle will be found quicker than with any other vehicle tracker.

28,174 Tracker recoveries to date
2,966 arrests from cars fitted with Tracker products
Value of vehicles recovered over £596 million

Tracker™ provide a full-service vehicle recovery solution, with a range of products for a variety of needs. These include unauthorised driver alerts, vehicle battery disconnect alerts and an optional guarded recovery service whereby a member of security staff will wait with your vehicle until the police arrive.


Tracker’s Winter Security Advice

  • At home, don’t keep keys in a place where they can be seen or accessed from outside

  • If you have a keyless fob, keep it in a faraday bag or inside a signal-blocking container such as a tin, the fridge, or your microwave.

  • Never leave the keys in the ignition, even if you are just stopping quickly

  • Never leave your car running unattended when de-icing or warming up the engine

  • Always lock and secure your vehicle when unattended

  • Don’t leave your belongings in your car on show, lock them in the boot or take them with you

  • Do not leave technology items on display in your car, such as satnavs or mobile phones.  Take them with you or lock them in the boot.

  • Never leave car documents or spare keys inside the car – this only makes it easier for thieves to sell it on

  • Park in the day or overnight in a busy or well-lit and attended car park near CCTV cameras

  • Consider fitting a camera directed towards your car if you park on your drive in the day or overnight

  • If you have a garage, use it to park your car and ensure the garage door is secured

  • Fit a vehicle tracking device to help police recover your vehicle if it’s stolen

  • Set up a geofence perimeter to alert you if your vehicle moves without your knowledge

  • Use unauthorised driver alerts through Driver ID Tags with Tracker™ products