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VIN etching could deter thieves from stealing your car

According to the FBI, a car is stolen about every 43 seconds in the US.

Some thieves are just looking for a joyride, but many are trying to cash in on a quick sale or make a profit on all the parts.

Keeping your car safe from being stolen can be as simple as adding a few scratches to the glass.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etching involves permanently engraving your car's VIN number onto the windows and windshield and, sometimes, onto the engine and other parts as well.

Tom Crosby, with AAA of the Carolinas, says VIN etching makes a vehicle unattractive to thieves.

"Especially those who are going to take it to a chop shop," Crosby says.

To be clear, etching won't prevent a car theft, but Crosby says burglars know a visible VIN number makes the vehicle and it's parts harder to sell.

Most crooks aren't going to pay to replace all the windows and parts.

Criminals, however, may keep on walking if they see the VIN on your window. If the car is stolen, window etching can help police identify it with just a glance.

Crosby says it's a tool best used on older models.

Some older model cars are the ones that are more easily and frequently stolen.

New cars are now equipped with all sorts of safety technology including GPS making them easy to trace.

So, if you're buying or driving a used car, window etching is one way to keep your investment protected and it may even get you a discount on your car insurance.

The process takes about 15 minutes and can help you shut the window of opportunity on car thieves.

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 Additional Information:

The following information is from Allstate.com in an article entitled "VIN Etching: Deter Car Thieves And Recover Your Stolen Vehicle" (Source: http://blog.allstate.com/vin-etching-deter-car-thieves-and-recover-your-stolen-vehicle/?replytocom=5660?intcid=ILC-Internal-Search-Results-120808:vin etching:result).

  • VIN etching is the term used to described the process of permanent engraving a vehicle's federally registered Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) onto its windshield and windows.
  • VIN etching makes it nearly impossible for thieves to sell the windows and windshields.
  • VIN etching makes it more difficult to dispose of the vehicle once stolen.
  • Etching is a process that takes only a few minutes.
  • A stencil of your VIN is used with glass etching paste to engrave the number onto the windows of your vehicle.
  • In order to sell a stolen vehicle in which the windows have been etched, a thief would have to replace the windows, widdling down their profit.
  • A number of insurance agencies offer a discount off the comprehensive portion of your insurance or waive your insurance deductibles if your vehicle is protected by VIN etching.
  • Offered by many car dealerships and local police departments, do-it-yourself VIN etching kits are also available at car specialty stores or online.

The following information is from the website wiseGeek.com in an article entitled "What is VIN Etching?" (Source: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-vin-etching.htm).

  • VINs are installed by the manufacturer and they are used to uniquely identify a vehicle for a variety of purposes, from ensuring that the right part is ordered for repair to signing up for car insurance.
  • As a general rule, car parts which include a VIN are harder to sell, because people often assume that they are stolen, and as a result, a car which has been subjected to VIN etching will be less valuable in the eyes of thieves.
  • DIY etching kits include a stencil and the acidic paste needed to etch the glass, and they are usually very affordable. People should be careful when using a home etching kit, as the acid can be very dangerous: if it's designed to eat through glass, imagine what it can do to the body!


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