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What Are Anti Theft Devices for Cars?

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

Cars and trucks have been protected by anti-theft devices for decades. But, what are anti theft devices for cars? The answer to this question has changed throughout the years. We're taking a look at anti-theft device history, and just what the anti theft device definition is.


Anti Theft Device Definition

There are tons of anti theft devices on the market. But what is the anti theft device definition? An anti theft device is simply some sort of tool installed on a vehicle, either by the manufacturer or the owner, intended to prevent the car from being stolen.


Now, notice in that anti theft device definition that it says "intended to prevent the car from being stolen." Unfortunately, while all anti-theft devices intend to prevent auto theft, they don't all effectively serve that purpose.


The Ravelco Anti-Theft Device has been preventing car theft since 1976 — with over 6 million installations and not one vehicle ever stolen. Get a free quote today for the only anti theft device you can trust.


Anti Theft Devices Through the Years

Vehicles have come a long way since Carl Benz's first gasoline engine rumbled to life in 1879. While you might think of the most rudimentary anti-theft devices being locks, the earliest vehicles didn't even have doors! Locks were a much later addition to the automotive industry. Let's take a look at anti theft devices through the years.


Removable Steering Wheels

Since the first automobiles didn't even have doors to lock, engineers had to find another way to secure these early vehicles from theft. The solution? Make the steering wheel removable! This meant that whenever you wanted to leave your vehicle, you simply took the steering wheel with you. No steering wheel, no driving the car. Unless someone brought their own...


Door Locks

Surprisingly, car doors weren't standard until the 1920s. These early car doors had locks, but they were very easy to pick. More sophisticated locks didn't hit the automotive industry until the 1970s. Scripps-Booth luxury automobiles brought power-door locks to the market as early as 1914, but it would be decades before power locks became the vehicle standard.


Car Alarms

With car doors and locks came lock pickers and window breakers. The automotive industry needed a new way to safeguard their vehicles against theft. Enter: the audible car alarm. The first car alarm was patented in 1954 by Victor Helman. This version sat in the car's glove box, with wires running from the hood, trunk, and doors.

what are anti theft devices for cars? Patent from first car alarm
Helman's file for patent, 1951

Car alarms on factory vehicles didn't start until the 1970s. Chrysler was the first auto manufacturer to begin producing car alarms in their models, followed shortly by General Motors. Today's vehicles come standard with car alarms. However, most people consider them to be an ineffective nuisance, not a functional anti theft device.


What Are Anti Theft Devices for Cars that Work?

You won't find removable steering wheels on many of today's vehicles. However, you will find the same car locks and audible alarms that have been failing to stop vehicle theft since the 1970s. These 'anti-theft' devices don't work, so why is this still the norm? And what does actually work?


The RAVELCO Anti Theft Device

The Ravelco anti-theft device has been on the market for nearly 50 years now. In that time, over 6 million customers have enjoyed the peace of mind that comes with an anti-theft device that really works. Seriously, not one vehicle has ever been stolen with a properly installed RAVELCO device.


How it Works

The RAVELCO device is installed in an easily accessible place beneath or flush mounted in the dashboard. A removable 16-pin male plug (which when not in use connects to your key chain) makes all the electronic connections. A hidden armored steel cable protects the wires from the rear of the RAVELCO base on through to the engine compartment where all the connections are made and camouflaged. When the plug is removed from the RAVELCO, it is impossible to start the vehicle.


The Ravelco system is unique in several ways. First, the circuits that are interrupted will vary with each installation. Typically, they would include the electronic fuel or injector pump, the ignition circuit, the starter circuit, or even the computer. This means that a thief can't learn which systems all Ravelco installs rely on — each installation is unique.

Not only are Ravelco installations unique with regard to which vehicle circuits they interrupt, but the plugs themselves are unique, too. With over 100,000 plug variables, no two RAVELCO plugs are alike — there are no master plugs. Without your Ravelco's specific, one-of-a-kind plug, your car just ain't starting. Period. (Don't worry, though, each Ravelco installation comes with a spare plug!)


What Are Anti Theft Devices for Cars? — A Final Word

While anti-theft devices have changed through the years, the effectiveness of most has remained relatively low. Except, of course, for our undefeated Ravelco. Fortunately, we got it right the first time. Since 1976, the only changes to the design of the Ravelco anti-theft device have been improvements to its materials and manufacturing processes. The original design remains the same: effective and undefeated.

If you want an anti-theft device for cars that works, look no further than Ravelco. Contact us for a free quote today and let us bring you peace of mind about automotive theft.


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