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Protect your new vehicle from rising auto theft

Vinnie’s Mr. Fixit offers some safety tips to deter car thieves

If you're behind the wheel of a new Honda CR-V, Dodge RAM 1500, Ford F150 Series, Lexus RX, Toyota Highlander, Honda Civic, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chevy Silverado, or Jeep Wrangler, you're part of an exclusive group. Recent statistics reveal that these vehicles are among the most targeted by car thieves in Canada.

Often linked to organized crime rings, these thieves focus on stealing high-end luxury sedans and SUVs, which are then shipped overseas for higher resale value. The proceeds from these thefts are subsequently used to fund various illegal activities within Canada.

The surge in vehicle theft has prompted the Government of Canada to host a National Summit on Combatting Auto Theft. This event brought together all levels of government, industry representatives, and law enforcement to collaborate on a coordinated response and build upon existing joint initiatives.

"The impact of auto theft on families in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and across the country is significant," noted the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions, and Intergovernmental Affairs in a recent press release. "Through greater enforcement, collaboration, and prevention, working together can make our communities safer."

While the government addresses the issue, it's crucial for car owners to take precautions to avoid falling victim to theft. Unfortunately, part of the problem lies in the way cars are manufactured.

"A significant issue with newer vehicles is that some are surprisingly easy to steal," said Vince Klimkosz, owner of Vinnie's Mr. Fixit with three locations in the area. "Despite the presence of computers, codes, and key fobs in modern automotive technology, they should be harder to steal, but it's the opposite. For tech-savvy individuals, learning how to do it doesn't take much."

Klimkosz explained that the process of stealing these new vehicles typically begins with obtaining the vehicle's serial number, often easily found where the dashboard meets the windshield. Once the thieves have the serial number, they can input it into a key code program on a laptop, mobile phone, or tablet. With this information, they can program a key, start the car, and drive away swiftly and often silently, leaving the owner unaware.

Another vulnerability lies in the susceptibility of key fobs to hacking. To protect your investment from high-tech thieves, Klimkosz suggests taking specific measures.

"Storing any type of vehicle key fob in a Faraday bag is crucial to contain the signal transmitted by a car's key," he advised. "This precaution eliminates concerns about proximity to doors. Additionally, it's wise to store your keys in a location not immediately visible if someone breaks into your house."

Klimkosz also recommends using an old-school steering wheel lock, such as "The Club," to deter quick-acting thieves.

"Remember The Club from back in the day? It can actually slow them down. Preventing theft is crucial since thieves prefer swift jobs. If there's a club to contend with, they might abandon the attempt and move on to the next vehicle."

Simple steps like covering the serial number on your dashboard, keeping your car well-lit, parking in a garage, or boxing in your newer vehicle with older cars can deter thieves. Investing in a reliable alarm system is another effective measure.

"Many insurance companies covering frequently stolen vehicles suggest installing tracking systems," Klimkosz added. "These activate once your vehicle is reported stolen. There are also aftermarket devices available that disable the starter, requiring a specific sequence of buttons to allow the car to start. An immobilizer is another option."

Vinnie's Mr. Fixit's Woodlawn location boasts an expert in alarm installation.

Drop by any of their three area locations or visit the newest one at 86 Dawson Road, across from the Dawson medical buildings. Call the new location at 519-821-8188 or visit for more information.