Protect your car and your wallet! How to keep thieves from stealing your pricey car parts

If you’ve needed any car repairs recently, you’re all too familiar with the rising price of car parts.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau says those expensive parts are leading to more and more car thefts. Those numbers went up four percent in 2017.

The NICB is warning people, saying thieves are stealing cars and trucks to strip them and sell those parts on the black market. If you’re not careful, you could become a victim and be out thousands of dollars.

“It’s a very lucrative business for the car thieves. The parts are worth more than the car in total,” said Roger Morris, Chief Communications Officer at the NICB.

If thieves get a hold of your expensive car parts, replacing them can put a big dent in your wallet. Air bags and tailgates can run more than a thousand dollars, while doors cost at least $500 each.

“The airbags, the headlights, bumpers, doors, catalytic converters are all within minutes you can have them off the car and be gone with them,” said Jerry Leahy, Leahys Auto Body co-owner.

In NICB’s latest report, the 2016 Toyota Camry is the most stolen 2016 model and has 15 commonly replaced components valued at thousands of dollars.

“A thief can steal that vehicle very quickly and get $11,000 worth of parts very easy. That doesn’t even include the engine and the transmission,” said Morris.

There are several ways to not fall victim to thieves. The first one is simple and you’ve heard it, lock your car.

“Try to obviously put it in a garage if you have a garage or park it in some safe, well-lit space and don’t leave items in the car in the open so that people think, ‘Well at least I can break in and grab a few things,’ a laptop or a cell phone. That’s just an open invitation for a theft,” said Morris.

The NICB also recommends taking a second look at your auto insurance. Keep in mind, if you drop comprehensive coverage you’ll be fronting the costs of replacement parts out of pocket. Also, do your homework if and when you need an auto body shop.

“If it’s too good to be true maybe check the source where the part came from. Most shops, including us, would require the VIN number that the part came off of and that can be tracked to see if the car has been stolen,” said Leahy.

This increase in car thefts is really costing all drivers, because the more insurance companies are spending for these theft claims, the higher deductibles and premiums will climb.

Article originally appeared on CBS21 News