There are hundreds of different car security systems on the market designed to deter thieves from stealing your car, or at the very least make it significantly harder.
Cop-lock is a relatively new in-car security device on the market, and one we've been testing at CarAdvice over the past couple of weeks.
Designed by former Victoria Police sergeant Bob Lycoudis, Cop-lock is a brake/clutch pedal immobiliser. It looks a little bit similar to a steering wheel lock, although it's designed to be more difficult for thieves to remove because it attaches to a stronger part of the car. (Steering wheels are often made of foam and soft metals that can be cut with a hacksaw, while pedal arms are made of stronger metals and are therefore harder to compromise.)
Just how effective is Cop-lock? Mr Lycoudis admits Cop-lock doesn't fit every car on Australian roads. In fact, he says it works better on older cars. Despite this, the website claims it "fits most vehicles". We put that claim to the test.
We tested Cop-lock on 75 new models from 12 popular manufacturers. We successfully fitted Cop-lock to either the brake or clutch pedals of 46 new cars. That’s a hit rate of 61 per cent across our test group of popular new cars.
The remaining 29 proved to be incompatible with Cop-lock. On some, the pedal arm was too thick for Cop-lock to slide over. On others, the shape of the pedal arm (angles and kinks) made it impossible to manoeuvre the device around. The shape of the pedal itself can also prove problematic. If the pedal is too long, or the plastic cover extends too far at the rear of the pedal, Cop-lock simply won’t fit.
Mazda: Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda6, MX-5, CX-7, CX-9, BT-50
Great Wall: V240, X240
Hyundai: Getz, Elantra, i30, i45
Toyota: Corolla, Rukus, Camry, Aurion, Prado, HiLux
Nissan: Tiida, Pathfinder
Mitsubishi: Lancer, ASX, Outlander, Triton
Kia: Cerato, Soul, Rondo 7, Carnival
Holden: Commodore, Caprice, Combo, Colorado
Subaru: Impreza, Liberty, Forester, Tribeca
Suzuki: Alto, Swift, Kizashi, Grand Vitara
Ford: Fiesta, Focus (including XR5), Mondeo, Escape, Ranger
Volkswagen: Polo, Golf, Jetta, Passat, Eos, Caddy, Touareg, Amarok
Hyundai: i20, Accent, i40, ix35, iMax/iLoad
Nissan: Maxima, 370Z, Dualis, X-Trail, Murano, Navara
Kia: Rio, Sportage, Sorento
Holden: Barina Spark, Captiva 5, Captiva 7, Cruze
Ford: Falcon, Territory
Along with our list of compatible and incompatible new cars, the Cop-lock website lists a handful of older cars that do not fit the device:
Incompatible (older cars listed on Cop-lock website):
Audi: 1997-2006 A4, A6, TT
Ford: 2002-2006 Falcon, 2005-2006 Territory
Porsche: Pre-1999 991, 928, 944, 968
Volkswagen: 2006-2006 Golf, Beetle, Passat, 2005-2006 Touareg
Mr Lycoudis has developed a second-generation Cop-lock with a wider pedal-arm grip that he says makes it compatible with more cars, but this model is not available yet.
We found Cop-lock works best on cars with thin pedal arms that are vertical, without angles or kinks, and those with short pedal covers. We would hesitate to employ Cop-lock on metallic sports pedals as it may scratch the shiny surfaces.
If Cop-lock doesn’t fit your car, you can return it and get your money back.
Mr Lycoudis admits Cop-lock’s lock can be picked, but says it is not easy and requires professional tools and expertise beyond that of most recreational car thieves.
One big question is: do you really need a device like Cop-lock in a new car? Engine immobilisers – an electronic device that prevents the engine from running unless the correct key is inserted – have been standard in all new cars in Australia for more than 10 years.
Australia’s National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC) says electronic engine immobilisers are the best form of vehicle security available to deter thieves.
NMVTRC’s statistics show that almost 60,000 cars are stolen in Australia every year, or one every 10 minutes. The vast majority of these are over 10 years old. Of those stolen, only one quarter is nicked by professional thieves, with the majority stolen by criminals for joyriding, transport or committing other crimes.
NMVTRC says only seven per cent of vehicles stolen in Australia are fitted with an engine immobiliser, and in many of these cases, the thief has had access to the original keys.
Retrofitting an engine immobiliser costs around $220 for most vehicles.
One advantage devices like Cop-lock have over engine immobilisers is that they are highly visible and may deter thieves from breaking into your car in the first place. Along with the bright yellow and red pedal lock device, the Cop-lock package comes with a branded steering wheel cover and window stickers to further deter thieves.
For $69.95, Cop-lock is best suited to owners of older cars, especially those without engine immobilisers. If you own a newer car, it could serve as a visual deterrent for car thieves and may give you some extra peace of mind. Given that engine immobilisers have been standard on all new cars for the past 10 years, the most effective form of security is simply locking your car and taking good care of your keys.