Parts Marking

How your car can be traced and found more easily

Vehicles taken by an opportunist thief for temporary casual use are usually abandoned and subsequently recovered.

  • Recovery is less likely for cars targeted for permanent removal by 'professional' thieves. Around 150,000 (42%) of the vehicles stolen in 2000 were never recovered.
  • Professional thieves will try to change the car's identity, known as ringing, or break the car and sell the parts.
  • Theft for parts is a particular problem with older cars, and all motorcycles, where there is a healthy demand for parts and repair but owners are less willing to pay dealer prices.
  • Parts marking can make it more difficult, more costly or more time consuming to disguise the identity of the vehicle.
  • Home Office guidelines for new cars call for several different approaches to parts marking:
    1. visible VIN – a secure plate with the VIN number marked on it that's visible through the bottom of the windscreen on the left-hand side near the tax disc holder
    2. marked Parts – at least ten major components marked with the VIN or another unique and traceable number
    3. etched glass – etching the registration number or another unique and traceable number into each piece of glass
  • If you have already bought your car look out for window etching and parts-marking services and products. These are worth considering as an additional deterrent against theft.