From alloy wheels to sports steering wheels, car accessories will once again be high on many petrolheads' wish lists this month.

Unfortunately Christmas is also a happy time for car thieves, so it makes sense to take the necessary precautions to ensure that your alloy wheels are still safe and secure when the festive season is over.

Thieves have long since worked out how to beat older locking wheel nut designs, so Vauxhall now offers accurately machined locking wheel bolts and nuts to the latest anti-theft specification to suit not only its current model range but also some older models. Both feature a hardened drill-proof head, individual lock numbers and easy key location.

Most importantly, these kits exceed the Thatcham security standard and achieve a gold rating from the Sold Secure organisation, which indicates that both kits have successfully survived a five minute attack test.

Crime statistics indicate that the average car thief would wish to spend no longer than two and a half minutes trying to gain entry and driving off.

Priced at just £25 a set, the bolts fit Astras and Cavaliers from 1988 onwards, plus Calibra, Combo van, Corsa, Omega, Tigra, Vectra and Zafira, while the nut kits fit Agila, Brava, Frontera and Monterey.

"Even if the alloys are not new, this advice is just as valid," says Vauxhall's accessories marketing manager Mark Miller. "Car enthusiasts may think that the locking bolts or nuts protecting their special wheels are sufficient deterrent, but tests by leading car magazines have shown just how easy it is for thieves to compromise security products that do not measure up to the latest standards.

"For real peace of mind it is critical that all car owners with alloy wheels ensure that their locking wheel bolts or nuts are the latest design and have passed both Thatcham and Sold Secure tests."

A new steering wheel security bar with airbag function is now available for all Vauxhall models except the VX220 to provide added total vehicle security and protection from airbag and steering wheel theft.

This highly visible deterrent is made from super-hardened steel, is quick and easy to fit and features a 10,000 variation anti-drill lock. It has been fully attack tested and meets Thatcham requirements. With two keys, instructions and key code, it costs £49.

For complete vehicle protection, Vauxhall recommends fitment of its state of the art Double Security Alarm, which carries full Thatcham Category 1 approval. This deters forced entry through the doors, bonnet and boot or tailgate, while if the glass is smashed, entry is detected by a ultrasonic relay to activate the alarm.

An optional tilt sensor can detect attempts to tow the car or tamper with alloy wheels. Suitable for all new Vauxhall cars, the DSA system can be fitted from £285.

Published : 02/12/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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