Although a locked garage is the most secure place to park a car, it is also often the first point of entry for burglars. There are a few precautionary measures that can help keep your garage and its content safe.
According to research from Easy Fit Garage Doors, in 1 out of 5 break-ins, the burglar enters through the garage to find the necessary tools for breaking into the main house. Despite this, Easy Fit's research found only 50% of Brits lock their garage, leaving valuable items such as cars vulnerable. If left unmitigated, risks such as theft and fire can have a serious financial and emotional impact.
Use anti-theft technology
Almost all modern cars are fitted with an alarm and immobiliser, usually coded to a key or fob. In many cases, auto locking comes as standard. Some keys can disable when not in use, meaning that it is effectively switched off and cannot be intercepted.
To prevent a thief using technology that intercepts the signal and fools the car into allowing access, keys and fobs should be kept in a Faraday pouch which will block the signal and prevent the car from being stolen.
Moreover, spare keys should be kept as secure as the main key. If the garage houses several cars, the spare keys should be stored somewhere secure such as a safe. This should ideally be installed somewhere hidden and secured directly to a solid part of the home, such as a timber or concrete joist, for added security.
Lastly, tracking systems that feature a secondary immobiliser provide an extra layer of protection against thieves. Lockton works with Meta Trak and Scorpion, whose systems are Thatcham Category 5 approved.
Keep access points secure
Access points should be protected for both vehicles and people. For starters, the main door(s) should be fitted with a good quality lock. This can be enhanced by using a hasp and staple which secures the door to its frame or the garage floor. A closed shackle padlock approved to British Standard will complete the picture.
With an electric roller shutter type door, a cut-off switch that isolates the door is a good place to start, while adding bullet locks through the door and into the metal frame will strengthen the door further. Personnel doors can be fitted with added locks and steel plating if they're wooden and glass with anti-shatter film.
For added security to access points, garage owners should also consider the following:
Fit windows with grills or internal bars
Extend or simply add burglar alarms to cover the garage
Install exterior lighting to deter intruders
Protect against fire
Garages contain various highly flammable items and materials. Well-known ignitors include car fuel, but lesser-known risks include lithium batteries in damaged cordless power tools, or fine steel wool. To mitigate against the likelihood of a garage fire, here are some key pointers:
Regularly check to ensure batteries are in good working order
Isolate or disconnect vehicle batteries when left unused for extended periods
Use a good quality trickle charger with a thermal cut-off switch – these will automatically shut down when the battery reaches full charge or upon detecting a heat increase
Always maintain at least a quarter of a tank of fuel in the vehicle – empty tanks will be filled with petrol vapour which is considerably more flammable than fuel
Keep other potential ignition sources (e.g. paint, thinners, white spirit, certain cleaning products, spare vehicle parts) in a closed metal cupboard, and store waste materials inside a bin with a closed metal lid
Have wiring tested by a qualified electrician (unlike a commercial building, there are no regulations regarding mandatory and periodic testing of fixed wiring, although there are rules in place for the replacement and maintenance of electrics
Keep fire extinguishers in accessible places around the garage, mounted with brackets and adjacent to doors (use CO2, powder, or foam for vehicle fires).
For more information on how you can protect your car collection, please contact:
Simon Ambler, Head of Performance, Lockton