Hot Wheels: Do You Own One of the Most Stolen Vehicles in America?

Most Stolen Vehicles in America

Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay

Every 42 seconds, a vehicle is stolen in the U.S.

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) tracks which cars and trucks are targeted most by thieves. Their list of the most stolen vehicles in America will probably surprise you for a few reasons.

Top 10 most stolen vehicles in America

  1. 2000 Honda Civic
  2. 1997 Honda Accord
  3. 2006 Ford F-Series pickup
  4. 2004 Chevrolet Silverado pickup
  5. 2017 Toyota Camry
  6. 2017 Nissan Altima
  7. 2017 Toyota Corolla
  8. 2018 GMC Sierra pickup
  9. 2001 Dodge Ram pickup
  10. 2000 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee

Why thieves love older cars, Hondas, and pickups

Looking at that list, you may be wondering why there’s no luxury vehicles or new vehicles on it. It basically comes down to three things: availability, design, and demand.

Every one of the vehicles on the list is a best-seller, year after year. For example, the Camry has been the best-selling car in America every year since 2000, with the exception of 2001.

And the crown holder for the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. is the Ford F-Series pickup, which has held that title for a staggering 36 years in a row. 2017 saw the F-Series have its best sales year ever, with 896,764 trucks sold.

With so many of these vehicles out there, that logically gives thieves a lot more opportunities to steal them. Popular cars and trucks also create a higher demand for parts to maintain them, whether those parts are acquired legally or illegally.

For thieves, selling stolen vehicles for their parts is actually more lucrative than selling vehicles which won’t have their parts stripped.

The “design” aspect of why older vehicles are so often stolen comes down to their security features. They simply lack the anti-theft technologies of newer vehicles, so they’re easier to steal.

This explains why according to data provided by the FBI and the National Insurance Crime Bureau in 2016, the top five model years of vehicles stolen in 2015 was 1998, 1996, 2006, 1997, and 2004, respectively. 

Here’s another common denominator with nearly all of the most stolen vehicles in America – they retain their value very well, especially the Toyotas and Hondas.

Top 10 least stolen vehicles in America

The HLDI also released data on which newer vehicles have the fewest number of insurance theft claims. Among 2016-2018 models, these are the vehicles that thieves targeted the least:

  1. BMW 3-Series
  2. Tesla Model S
  3. Tesla Model X
  4. Chevrolet Equinox
  5. Buick Encore
  6. Subaru Legacy
  7. GMC Acadia
  8. Subaru Forester
  9. Volkswagen Beetle
  10. Subaru Outback

Teslas are 90% less likely to be stolen than the average car according to the HLDI. Here’s why:

  • they’re more likely to be parked in a garage or closer to a house for recharging
  • Teslas have highly advanced key fob security tech
  • the GPS tracking technology Tesla includes in its vehicles is far more sophisticated than the average car 
  • an option on some Tesla models requires a PIN to be entered every time the car is started

In the rare case that a Tesla is stolen, their recovery rate is miles above the 58% that was reported in 2016 for stolen cars and trucks. Between 2011-2018, only three of the 115 Teslas stolen in the U.S. weren’t recovered.

That’s a smart car, indeed.

Your best vehicle theft defense? Park in the garage.

Even if you own one of the least stolen vehicles in America, you shouldn’t have a false sense of security about how safe your parked vehicles are. 

To virtually eliminate the accessibility thieves have to your vehicles, all you have to do is park them in a secure garage. After all, an experienced thief can steal a vehicle without a key parked in your driveway in as little as 30 seconds. 

Garages are the most cluttered rooms in homes, which makes parking indoors easier said than done. A U.S. Department of Energy study found that a quarter of people with 2-car garages don’t park in them at all because clutter prevents them from doing so. A third can only park one car.

Solving your garage’s clutter problem is easier than you might think. Take a page out of a Tesla owner’s handbook when it comes to protecting your four-wheeled investment. 

All you need to do is have smart storage systems added that maximize the garage’s storage space on the walls and in the ceiling area. That eliminates or significantly reduces how much obstructive clutter gets left on the floor.

most stolen vehicles in America, SUV parked in garage

Any vehicle is a lot more safer when it’s parked in a secure garage.

7 more smart reasons to park in the garage

A messy garage that prevents you from parking inside to keep your vehicles safer isn’t the only reason to finally get your garage in order.

Other than safeguarding one of your most expensive assets besides your home, here’s why you should be parking in the garage instead of the driveway:

  • time will be saved because vehicles won’t need snow and ice cleared off in the winter
  • vehicles will warm up faster in cold weather
  • vehicle windows will be less prone to fogging up in damp weather and from early morning dew
  • having your vehicles closer to the garage access door into your main living space is more convenient for getting groceries and other transported items inside
  • indoor parking lets you avoid dealing directly with bad weather when entering and exiting vehicles
  • some insurance companies may lower your car insurance rates
  • vehicles are protected from body damage caused by long-term exposure to the sun, tree sap, and projectiles when there are high winds

Talk to Garage Living to find out how we can give you more usable square footage for storage in your garage. We have a variety of highly effective storage systems like slatwall, cabinetry, and overhead racking to maximize any garage’s storage space.

Your floor will stay clear, parking will be a breeze, and your garage can even become a more useful space.

We also have car lifts available, which are a great solution when a lack of garage parking space is an issue.

7 additional tips to safeguard your vehicles

In addition to garage parking, there are many other practical and simple ways to ensure the protection of your vehicles – and most of them won’t cost you a cent.

  1. Naturally, always lock your vehicle doors and keep the windows shut, even if the vehicle is only going to be left unattended in your driveway for a few minutes. A window cracked open even an inch on a hot day is all a skillful thief needs to get inside.
  2. Hide anything of value that’s visible inside your vehicle. Why give a burglar who only wants to take what’s inside your vehicle and not steal the vehicle itself any extra incentive to gain entry?
  3. audi key fobWhen we say “anything of value”, that includes your key fob and traditional car key. Incredibly, the National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that the number of vehicles stolen because their keys or fobs were carelessly left inside them has increased 88% between 2013 and 2018.
  4. Don’t just be careful with your entry fob when you’re out and about. The newest security concern with key fobs is that they can be used to steal your vehicle, even when you’re inside your home. If your fob is within close proximity of your home’s walls, windows, or an exterior door, a pair of thieves with wireless transmitters can potentially hijack its signal to steal your vehicle. It’s called relay theft.
  5. Don’t let your vehicles idle unattended while parked in the driveway or garage, especially an attached garage. Vehicles shouldn’t be idling in the garage for long periods anyway, as this can create high levels of carbon monoxide that can be dangerous to the rest of the home. It also wastes gas. Think twice about using a remote starter to warm up your vehicle on frigid mornings, too.
  6. Documents left in vehicles like insurance paperwork can be used for insurance fraud or identity theft. Remember, that locked glove compartment isn’t exactly Fort Knox.
  7. When away from home, park in safe, well-lit areas, even if it means a longer walk to your destination. Anti-theft devices like brake pedal locks, steering wheel locks, and GPS tracking systems for older vehicles are also good investments.

Make space for garage parking today

If you do own one of the most stolen vehicles in America, you clearly have every reason to step up the security measures for your car or truck.

And while newer vehicles and luxury cars and trucks are stolen less often, consider this fact: our vehicles sit parked 95% of the time.

Why increase the risk of having your vehicle stolen by leaving it highly visible to the entire world because it’s parked in the driveway all the time?

Schedule a free design consultation with us to make space in your garage for parking to keep your vehicles safer.

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