Whether you're parking in Miami for the evening or leaving your car for a week while you sail off on a cruise, there are some things you should be doing before you leave your vehicle alone. These things are fairly common sense, but you would be surprised how often people walk away from their cars without even thinking about them. Make a habit of completing this list every time you leave your car to protect it from would-be thieves.
This should be something you're in the habit of anyway. Leaving your headlights on drains your battery and can leave you stranded. Although you might be in the habit of turning them on when you enter your vehicle, if you don't also habitually turn them off, you may leave them running all day and not even notice. Finding your car dead is always an unwelcome surprise.
This is another way to prevent your battery life from being wasted. Not only that, but leaving your car light on is also a good way to get your car broken into or stolen. A lit up car is sure to attract more attention than a dark one and can easily show a thief what's inside. If you've forgotten to hide your shopping bags or you have a new stereo, a thief knows exactly which car to break into.
Another way to avoid your car being broken into is to take your things with you. Don't leave purses, wallets, or phones in the car for any reason. It's not worth the convenience of not having to tote them around if you come back to your vehicle and they're gone. Plus, should you be prone to locking yourself out of your car, having your phone will really come in handy when you have to call for help.
If you are going to leave anything in the car, you should tuck it away out of sight. If you don't want your new GPS to draw attention, tuck it and its wires into the glove box before you leave. If you do have shopping bags you want to leave in the car, put them in the trunk or under a seat so no one can see them if look in your windows.
Sure, this sounds obvious and maybe even stupid, but it happens. If you're distracted by anything while you're trying to get out of your car, you might just hop out, lock the car, and not realize it's been out there, running, until you're ready to leave again. This is an even bigger problem when it comes to electric or hybrid cars.
This is the best way to ensure that number 5 doesn't happen. If you make sure you check for your keys and that they're in your hand before you exit your car, you can be sure that it is not running and that you can't lock anything inside of your vehicle that you can't get to.
Not only should you lock them, but you should double check they are locked each and every time you exit your vehicle. This, again, is one of those common sense things, but it's really important. The number one way to make your car easier to steal is to leave your doors unlocked.
Look for things like loose carts, cars parked too close, and whether or not you managed to keep your car in the lines yourself. The easiest way to get a new scratch on your door is to park over the line and block someone's door. While you're checking that out, you may as well check your tires, too. If one went flat or is going low, you can call for service now or plan time in your day for a quick trip to an air pump.
The best thing to do to keep your car and your valuables protected is to be present when parking. If you're fully there, you'll notice things like whether or not your keys are in your hands. More often than not, though, you are busy thinking about other things and operating on auto pilot. Work these eight things into your daily routine so you can be sure they make it to your auto pilot defaults, too.