What Is AThatcham Device And Should My Vehicle Have One?

Thatcham is an independent research centre that looks at vehicle security repair and safety standards. You could almost think of them as ‘Which’ for car alarms. They review alarm and immobilisation devices and then categorise them so that it is easy to know what standard of device you have fitted on your car.

The idea is to demystify the whole process. Devices that meet their criteria are referred to as ‘Thatcham Approved’ devices. This means they are trustworthy.

What Do The Categories Mean?

Devices are placed into the categories based on what they do. As a general rule of thumb, the lower the number of the category, the more safety features the device offers. So, in general, you would be better off with a category 1 alarm rather than a category 3.

There are a total of seven different categories.

Category 1  – These are the most advanced type of device. They include both an alarm and an immobiliser. There will be multiple sensors attached to the alarm. The alarm will have its own power supply independent of the car. The immobilisers will not require the driver to activate it. In other words, you can just forget about it and walk away.

Category 2 – These devices only immobilise the car; they do not have an alarm. The immobilisation is done electronically. However, they also do not require any input from the driver. They are automatic.

Category 2/1 – This is an immobiliser system, like in category 2. Only it has now been upgraded also to include an alarm component. So it should be the equivalent of a category 1.

Category 3  – This is a device that mechanical immobilises the car. They need to be activated by the driver. An example of this would be a steering wheel lock.

Category 4 – These are devices that prevent your wheels from being stolen. Locking wheel nuts are an example of this. They are expected to be durable and resistant to attempt to remove them.

Category S5 – This is a system that allows you to track your car if it has been stolen. It should also have the ability to shut the car down.

Category S7 – This is the same as an S5 but without the remote shut down option.

So Should Your Car Have a Thatcham Device?

You would expect any modern car to come with a Thatcham approved device as standard, and it is crucial to check what category the device is and the safety standards that are in place.

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