Question:

This question comes to me from a mens fitness magazine.

Q: My car battery was stolen twice in just a few days—is there some way I can stop this from happening? (yes—it’s a scam, they steal your old battery, then come back and steal the new one you bought to replace it! So don’t put in a new battery.)

A. My first suggestion would be to fiddle with the wiring and shock the heck out the next person who touches​ it.

battery shock
N​ow I could say ‘just kidding’ because it’s not nice to hurt people but I’ll actually say ‘just kidding’ ​because it would be too much work​ to fix that every time you started the vehicle.​

There are really 2 ways to deal with this issue.

#​1– The unsightly way would be to buy a cable with a​ lock and make it so that no one can open the hood. We actually did this to many vehicles in the East Village, NYC​ back in the late 80’s when the crackheads were stealing spark plugs. Even newer model car owners were doing it because the issue was so prevalent.

​#​2– Buy a system to lock the battery into place. These generally come as a ​cross bar with a lock​ set up or as a lock box. They aren’t available for every car though, ​b​attery shapes and sizes are vehicle specific so you’d have to look up yours and see if they make them. If they don’t make them for your battery ​and this ​theft issue ​is a common problem in your area then your local mechanic will know someone who can make/weld one for your car.

I’ve been asked if there is a third way: i.e. put in an old battery until the thieves move on and this could seem like a good idea but I have caveats.

I suppose if you were really DESPERATE you could ask your mechanic if he had an old battery that you could replace it with temporarily (so if the thieves come back they can take that instead of a new one). I don’t love this idea because there are so many variables.

A- Old batteries can be dangerous (some of them can leak acid).

B- They can cause your car to have other issues if they won’t take a proper charge.

C- Only do this if you either know what you’re doing or can ask a mechanic to help you.

As with everything I recommend, finding a good local repair shop is the key to keeping your car in tip top shape and they ​are a fountain of information for all of these problems (even your personal problems)​ because they’ve seen it all!

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About dontgetwrenched

Elayne Kling, was the owner of a downtown Manhattan auto repair shop for 25 years and recently in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, www.ZPAUTO.com. Elayne knows the particular ins and outs of the auto repair world and keeps up her blog because people will always need help navigating the potential pitfalls of that world. Due to the crazy NYC real estate market she has since closed down her shop and started a new business called Projects Unlimited Inc., helping other small businesses. www.projectsunlimitedinc.com
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