Convertible Cars and Theft

Are convertible cars easier to steal? I figure every prospective owner will ask this question. Convertible cars are more prone to thefts and that’s one of the cons of convertible cars. If you are not sure, compare insurance quotes for two similar or at least close to one another car models, but one with a hard or fixed top and the other with a soft top. However the real issue is not stealing the car itself but breaking in and stripping, stealing the belongings left in the car, vandalism or even incidental damage to the inside if you leave it open (someone’s kids may get inside and do whatever their fantasy is). So, it’s mostly not a question of being easy to steal but of being an attractive target for thieves. First of all, a convertible implies that the owner is not short of cash as he or she has spend extra thousands on the retractable roof. Leaving aside the case when you leave the keys in the car or and the roof down (the only next level I fancy is placing a big “WELCOME, DEAR THIEF” banner), soft top convertible cars are definitely more susceptible to robbery because they are easier to break in. Although I see a lot of cars parked with tops down, I wouldn’t do so. Breaking in the the first step and the glass or at least some roof is still some deterrent, from both stealing and vandalism.

As to stealing the car itself, car owners who changed many convertibles have no complaints about their cars being stolen. If fact, I know a guy who drove many both convertible and rigid roof cars, and the only car that was ever stolen was a non-convertible. In support of the real drivers experience, car theft statistics say that convertibles are no more than %5 more likely to get stolen (the actual percent varies from 1% to 5%, depending on the make and model). Even that small percent is obviously credited to soft-tops or those left in the streets or parking lots with their tops down. Buying a costly convertible car and saving on security systems means being penny-wise and pound-foolish, and most buyers are obviously not like that. Another possible reason is that a non-convertible is easier to sell as a product of generally higher demand.

The chance that your convertible gets stolen is about the same as with a fixed roof car, provided that you have a reliable security system or several systems installed, like the following:

  • Eectronic immobiliser (EWS) safeguards which prevents starting the engine without a specialized security key. EWS virtually nullified the possibility to start the engine by hot-wiring (aka short-circuiting).
  • Electric locks that also activate anti-theft. Even if the thief enters the car by slashing the soft roof, the engine won’t start because the anti-theft is still on because electric locks were not turned off.
  • Modern alarm and satellite tracing systems.

Knowledgeable people say only convertibles with weak anti theft devices get stolen, these are mostly Japanese imports. As to stealing the car itself, it depends on the age of your car and complexity of the ignition system. Old-schools locks and inhibitions are easier to handle, be it a convertible or a fixed-roof car.

Convertibles Are Less Secure

Convertible Car TheftCaution! When your top is down, you are more vulnerable to thieves that steal handbags while you are standing at the crossing or a gas station. Also, it’s a very popular scheme when one thief distracts attention by pretending sick, hurt, run over or asking something, and the other steals you bag. Don’t get into that trap!

Are Soft Top Convertibles Easy to Steal?

Not easy but easier than hardtops or common cars, especially if they have and older generation ignition system prone to hot-wiring. If there is a chance to skip the breaking-in stage and get busy with the ignition immediately or almost immediately (when you need to make a cut in the top first), why not do so? Of course, you’ll hear all around that entering any car is not a problem for an experienced thief. Even if the lock won’t give in, breaking the glass with a hammer is a matter of a couple of seconds and even less thinking for a criminal. However, breaking a glass is a noisy and attention catching procedure and any thief would prefer to avoid that so as to stay as indiscernible as possible. With a soft top, there is not need to make any noise at all, cutting the fabric is all it takes to get in. No noises, no eye-catching movements, no broken glass on the ground, even the cut on the top won’t be drawing attention, particularly if the burglar is assiduous enough to take a few seconds and use scotch tape to patch it up as it was so it look just as before and no one pays it any attention. And now, taking into account all of the above, think: if a criminal has two cars in front of him, one with a soft top, the other with a fixed one, which one he would choose to break in and rob?

By the way, from this viewpoint, a canvas roof is a better attraction for a thief because fabric is much easier to slash than the thinker and stronger vinyl, which may require something stronger than a common pocket knife to get past. Although for the for the most part it’s a problem of European convertibles rather than US ones, as the latter typically have vinyl roofs.

So, if you have a convertible, particularly a soft-top, don’t leave anything valuable in the salon, take it with you as you leave or lock in the trunk if its too heavy or large-sized. The latter helped many soft top owners protect their possessions from thieves.