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My car was recently stolen in the middle of the night, and I just bought a replacement. I'd like a simple, cheap way of disabling the vehicle, and I was thinking of doing something like just pulling the fuel pump fuse out every night.

However, I ran across this comment in another post:

I'd also rather not pull the fuel pump fuse or relay, because that seems like a recipe for coming back to a dead battery should the car be targeted.

Is there some fundamental problem with leaving the fuel pump fuse out over night, or is it just an issue of the potential thief cranking and cranking the engine in a futile attempt to start it and draining the battery?

If it matters, it's a 1.6L 1999 Nissan Almera.

As a side note, my car apparently doesn't have a fuel pump fuse, so in the mean time I'm pulling the starter fuse.

  • That sucks, Robert. I hope you were able to recover the car (and that it wasn't wrecked). Also, better a dead battery than a stolen car. You should also look at this Answer I wrote a while back. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 3 '15 at 14:28
  • @Paulster2 Unfortunately, only 22% of stolen cars are recovered here in Israel, most of them end up in chop shops in the "Palestinian" Authority controlled areas. – Robert S. Barnes Jul 3 '15 at 14:35
  • @Paulster2 That question you linked to is the one I referred to in my question. I'm looking kind of for a short term solution till I can get either a steering wheel lock, boot or something similar. – Robert S. Barnes Jul 3 '15 at 14:42
  • Sorry, I should have realized ... I'm not awake this morning. I just think it's a fairly easy and elegant solution to the issue. I don't trust steering wheel locks because they are fairly easily defeated (though very visual and a good theft deterrent for those casual thieves). A boot, on the other hand, is a great deterrent. Very few ways to defeat them. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 3 '15 at 14:50
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    "problem with leaving the fuel pump fuse out over night, or is it just an issue of the potential thief cranking and cranking the engine in a futile attempt to start it and draining the battery?" The latter. As for steering wheel locks, I came across this article about how much thieves may be helped by the Club when I was researching the question you quoted. – Josh Caswell Jul 4 '15 at 15:54
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Rather than the fuel pump relay/fuse, you could pull the starter relay/fuse. If the starter can't turn, the thief isn't going to kill your battery by cranking the starter until it dies.

You could install a hidden button and connect it to the starter wire (between the ignition and the relay), so you need to press the button and turn the key to start the engine.

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Unfortunately, simply unplugging a fuse isn't going to stop a determined thief, as they often tow cars away rather than going to the noise and effort of trying to start them...

I'd suggest some kind of physical lock, either on the steering wheel, gear lever/handbrake, or similar - they often act as a visual deterrent to casual thieves as well, who will go for an easier target.

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It would help to know what type of car it is but on a petrol vehicle, a quick and easy solution is to remove the king lead from the coil (it's the one that runs to the centre of the distributer cap). No coil lead means no spark which on a petrol car means it won't start.

Unfortunately this won't work on a Diesel as these don't rely on spark plugs.

  • Won't this have the same problem as the fuse approach, that a would-be thief may drain the battery cranking the starter? – Nate Eldredge Jul 5 '15 at 2:33
  • Unlikely, a car thief doesn't want to sit in a car that's not running whilst causing lots of noise by cranking. They would more likely move on to another vehicle. In the event they do drain the battery, you will return to a car with a flat battery as opposed to returning to find your car has been stolen, I know what I would prefer. – Steve Matthews Jul 6 '15 at 8:44
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I often pulled the fuel pump relay breaker on my '85 Nissan 300 ZX ( a long time ago when it was worth something). Because it was a plastic pullout that contained the fuses it could not easily be replaced . It was also under a plastic cover so looking under the hood would not reveal anything missing. I picked the fuel breaker because it was the easiest one to pull out. It took about 30 seconds to lift the hood, lift the cover and pull the relay.

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