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Your Old Junker Is More Valuable Than You Realize

If you were a car thief, which car would appeal to you? A shiny, new Cadillac with a navigation system, alloy wheels, and DVD player or a 13-year-old junker with peeling paint, a stick shift transmission and 200,000 miles on the odometer? You’d probably pick the Cadillac, but a legitimate car thief wants the junker. At least that’s the word from the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s “Hot Wheels 2008” auto theft report which ranks the most stolen vehicles in 2007. Leading the list for the fourth year in a row is the 1995 Honda Civic, followed by the 1991 Honda Accord. 

What may seem like to junk to you is considered gold to car thieves. Although your junker may not be worth much as a whole, its individual parts — engine, transmission, sound system, airbags, etc. — when sold individually are worth a lot on the street.

For 2007, the most stolen vehicles in the nation were:

1. 1995 Honda Civic
2. 1991 Honda Accord
3. 1989 Toyota Camry
4. 1997 Ford F-150 Series Pickup
5. 1994 Chevrolet C/K 1500 Pickup
6. 1994 Acura Integra
7. 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup
8. 1994 Nissan Sentra
9. 1988 Toyota Pickup
10. 2007 Toyota Corolla

To protect their investment, vehicle owners are urged to follow NICB’s “layered approach” to auto theft prevention by employing simple, low-cost suggestions to make their vehicles less attractive to thieves. Following are NICB’s four layers of protection:

  • Common sense — The cheapest form of defense is to simply employ the anti-theft devices that are standard on all vehicles — locks. Lock your car and take your keys.
  • Warning device — Having and using a visible or audible warning device is another way to ensure that your car remains where you left it.
  • Immobilizing device — “Kill” switches, fuel cut-offs, and smart keys are among the devices which are high and low tech, but extremely effective. Generally speaking, if your car won’t start, it won’t get stolen.

Tracking device — Some systems use GPS devices to track your vehicle. Others use radio frequency technology, which helps law enforcement track and recover it quickly.