The Top 10 Most Stolen Cars -- And How to Make Sure Yours Isn't One of Them

August 3, 2010
Michael Sheehan

The Cadillac Escalade and the Chevrolet Silverado topped the Top 10 list of new cars that thieves target the most, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute. Here's some tips to make sure yours isn't one of them.

The Cadillac Escalade topped this year's Top 10 list of new cars that thieves target the most, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute. But if you’re a Chevy owner, don’t get too complacent -- three of the ten most-stolen cars were Chevys: The Silverado, the Avalanche and the Tahoe all made this year’s list.

Rank

Model

No. of Thefts Per 1,000

1.

Cadillac Escalade

10.8

2.

Chevrolet Silverado

8.0

3.

Dodge Charger

7.4

4.

Chevrolet Avalanche

7.4

5.

Infiniti G37 Coupe

7.1

6.

GMC Sierra Crew Cab

6.7

7.

Nissan Maxima

6.5

8.

Hummer H2

6.2

9.

GMC Yukon XL 4WD

6.0

10.

Chevrolet Tahoe

5.8

According to FBI crime reports, a car is stolen in the U.S. every 33 seconds. You may think that driving a luxury car makes your wheels a thief magnet, but as this year’s list shows popular mid-range cars are typically among the most-stolen cars. Thieves like these models because stolen cars are usually resold for parts. (It also helps if you don’t live in California, Texas, or Florida, the top three states for auto theft.)

The cost of preventing car theft can vary. Buying a car-alarm system and having it installed, for example, can run from as little as $100 for a very basic alarm device to close to $1,500 for a sophisticated security system complete with cameras and a remote ignition starter. Having a kill switch installed will set you back about $200, including the price of the switch.

Because car thieves want your car for its parts, etching your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) onto the car windows is a cheap theft deterrent that’s so effective that many insurance companies will offer you a discount on your auto insurance if you have it done. That’s because crooks have to replace windows that have the car’s VIN numbers etched on, which eats into their profits. You can do the etching job yourself for as little as $25 with an etching kit. To get one, plug in “VIN etching kits” at your favorite Web-based search engine.

Common sense car theft deterrents, on the other hand, are usually free. Always lock your car. Never leave a spare set of keys in it. Put any valuables out of sight, preferably in the trunk. At night, park in well-lighted areas. And never leave your car running while you duck into a convenience store for coffee; that’s asking to have it stolen.