Avoid car theft with etched glass

Phoenix, Arizona, ranks # 4 on the list of top 10 cities with the highest vehicle theft! (National Office of Insurance Crimes 2004 [NICB])

In 2002, Arizona had the highest auto theft rate in the United States, with the vast majority occurring in Maricopa and Pima counties. According to the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority (AATA), “a vehicle theft occurs every nine minutes and 16 seconds.” This causes an estimated economic loss of $ 3.7 million for Arizona residents in 2002 alone!

Don’t be just another stat!

Help deter theft by etching your car glass with traceable numbers. This procedure is highly recommended by the NICB, police departments, and insurance companies for its effectiveness. Although vehicle manufacturers mark some parts, it is not enough. By permanently installing visible VIN and serial numbers on your vehicle’s glass, you can greatly reduce auto theft and aid in recovery.

You can visit your local auto dealership or window tinting / glass repair facility; or you can do it yourself with an engraving kit found on many different websites. In addition to etching glass, the NICB also recommends other popular visible or audible devices, such as audible alarms, steering column collars and locks, wheel locks, anti-theft stickers, and car identification markers.

Car glass etching involves chemically marking the car with its own unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on all windows, including sunroofs and T-Tops. The chemical etching process involves the use of a mild acid that reacts only with glass. Burning all glass windows makes vehicles less sought after by car thieves. The actual etching is small and does not mark or deface the window, but it is one of the first details most car thieves see before attempting to steal a vehicle.

Recommended areas for recording include the following:

  • Front Windshield – Driver’s side in lower corner based on factory VIN number.
  • Side windows: bottom corner, near the lock or door handle.
  • Rear window: driver’s side in the lower corner or towards the middle, lower edge.

Here are the next steps for the glass etching kit for those practical do-it-yourself types:

  1. Clean the area to be etched with glass cleaner – Remove the blue stencils from the white backing paper and apply them to the outside of the window glass in the desired places. Using your fingertips, “tap” the template to ensure it is in full contact with the glass, paying particular attention to the area where the VIN number has been cut on the template.
  2. Apply a film of etching cream. – Brush both left and right completely covering all characters.
  3. After etching cream has been applied for 5 to 7 minutes: Carefully remove and dispose of all templates in a plastic bag or container. Spray the etched area with running water or glass cleaner and pat dry with a paper towel. Repeat the process for all windows.
  4. Warning decals – Apply inside the windows in visible places. Suggested Location: Near the front door handles.
  5. Complete the “Proof of Engraving” certificate of insurance.

However, it is recommended that it be done by a licensed professional. as this process requires a very steady hand and must be done under optimal conditions. Do not etch the glass in direct sunlight on very hot days, when the temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, or in windy or humid conditions.

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