Cars Made in the 2000s are America’s Most Stolen: 7 Essential Ways to Keep Your Model Safe

Five of the top six most stolen cars in the United States were manufactured between 2000 and 2010, making it imperative that owners of cars built in this decade are especially careful of how they keep their cars safe from criminals. 

When it comes to make and model, the Chevrolet Full-Size Pickup has been the most stolen vehicle in the US, with the number of thefts for the car climbing to 48,206. The most commonly stolen of this particular model is the 2004 version.

In a close second is another pickup, this time from Ford, which saw thefts rise to 47,999 in total last year. For thieves, the most attractive model is the 2006 version. 

Other popular cars that rank within the top six most stolen are the Honda Civic (2000), Toyota Camry (2007), and GMC Pickup (2005). 

Cars manufactured in the early-to-mid 2000s can require different levels of care to be taken in comparison to earlier and later models, due to differences in built-in security measures and onboard electronics. 

With motor vehicle thefts in 30 major US cities rising by some 59% between 2019 and 2022, it’s imperative that owners seek to keep their cars safe from harm. But what measures should they take for their cars? Let’s take a deeper look at how owners can care specifically for their early-to-mid 2000s vehicles: 

1. Keep Your Electronic Keys Safe

The 2000s were the decade that keyless entry for cars really took off, and while it’s brought with it an era of great convenience for motorists, it’s also heralded new challenges in auto security. 

Because keyless entry systems can emit a signal up to a 50-meter distance, we’ve seen the rise of signal grabbers on eBay that can be utilized to pounce on the signal being transmitted from your key and use it to access your car. 

“Even if you have the keys under your pillow, they can hold it up to the wall of your house, grab the signal it’s transmitting, open your car and drive away. Once the engine stops they can't restart it again, but by that time, it's probably in a chop shop somewhere,” warns Dr Ken German, a vehicle crime consultant.

To counter this, consider switching off the signals on your key when you’re not using it, or store your keys in a Faraday pouch or metal box far away from your car. 

If you lose your key fob in a public place or suspect that it’s been stolen, consider replacing your car key immediately and reprogramming it to avoid illegal access to your car. 

2. Etch Your VIN on Your Windows

While some car owners are reluctant when it comes to this method due to fears that it’ll harm the aesthetics of their car, etching your vehicle registration number (VIN) on each of your car windows is one of the most effective deterrents to car thieves seeking to make a quick profit on a vehicle. 

Because it would mean replacing every pane of glass that can lead the car back to its rightful owner, the costs associated with making the vehicle untraceable could help to deter thieves before they even consider targeting your car. 

Although this can be a tricky measure to take, it may be worth asking professionals to add a VIN number should you require an auto glass replacement service if a stress crack or chip emerges. 

3. Install a Tracking System

Another important measure to take is to install a tracking system, sometimes referred to as a vehicle recovery system. In the 2000s, GPS tracking services were yet to enter the car manufacturing industry with the same prevalence as today, but it’s certainly worth owners adding the service to help to track the whereabouts of their vehicle if it’s ever stolen. 

Using wireless GPS technology, a suspected stolen car can send signals to the police or a monitoring service that shows the vehicle's location, helping to recover the car faster. 

4. Consider Adding Security for Your Wheels

Here, it’s also worth your wheels can be highly valuable to thieves too. In fact, $1 million worth of car tires are stolen on a yearly basis. This is because they’re easy to remove and can have a high resale value depending on the car that they belong to. 

Although adding wheel clamps to your vehicle is a great way of keeping it safe at all times, it’s a highly impractical approach to security unless you plan on leaving it for a long time or are located in a high-crime area. However, a good alternative is to use lug nut locks on your wheels to keep criminals from unbolting them. 

5. Make Room For Your Car in Your Garage

Yes, not everyone has the luxury of a garage available to them, but many of the ones who do have repurposed it into storage space or even an extra room in their home. 

To maximize your security, it’s certainly worth checking to see if it’s possible to repurpose your garage back into an off-road safe space for your car. The term ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is especially pertinent when it comes to cars and the prying eyes of thieves. This also applies to storing valuables like work laptops on view in your car. Make sure there’s as little invitation to break into your car as possible. 

6. Consider Utilizing CCTV on Your Drive

If your car is commonly parked in your drive, one of the most effective ways to keep it safe is by installing a CCTV system that can monitor the location of your vehicle at all times. 

Although this can’t stop a thief in the act, it serves as a good deterrent. If your car is stolen, then the CCTV footage you have can help to recover your vehicle and catch those responsible. 

Alternatively, video doorbells can also serve as an effective deterrent in this regard, just so long as your car is parked in view of the camera and it captures motion outside of your home. 

7. Set Your Car Up With a Kill Switch

If all else fails, installing a kill switch in your car can be a great way of stopping thieves in their tracks. The device can be hidden in your car and once it’s activated, nobody will be able to turn on or drive your car until it’s deactivated again. 

This means that if you ever find that your car’s been stolen, activating the kill switch can help to recover it faster before it ends up further away and harder to trace. 

Although cars manufactured in the 2000s have a different set of security considerations to later models, with the right measures they can be kept just as safe as their newer counterparts. 

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to protect your car, looking at where you keep it and the security measures you have in place can really help you to map out where you can improve the safety of your vehicle.