Monthly Archives: November 2012

How Window Reinforcement Helps to Avoid Car Theft

window tintingIt has to be said that South Africa’s criminals have always been very quick to adapt to advances in security measures. Frustrated in their attempts to steal from parked vehicles due to more efficient alarm systems and to purloin those on the move following the introduction of ante-hijacking technology, smash and grab appears to have become the most viable alternative. How best to avoid the theft of valuables from a car when it is immobilised by a red robot or trapped in dense traffic has now become the latest concern of the beleaguered motorist.

In practice one of the best precautions that can be implemented by without spending a small fortune on armour plating and bullet proofing is to compromise by applying some means to delay an attempted intrusion long enough to enable the driver of a targeted vehicle to resort to some form of evasive action.

Normal windscreen glass is prone to shatter when struck with a heavy object, the usual tactic of the smash and grab artist, but even a relatively small stone thrown up by an overtaking vehicle can have the same result. However, the simple application of a layer of protective safety film to the inside of a vehicle’s windows is able to prevent the shattering effect. The damaged glass remains held together, obstructing the thief’s attempts to gain access to any valuables such as mobile phones and laptops that happen to be visible and within reach.

Quite often, the unexpected delay caused by the safety film will be enough for the thief to abandon his efforts and to retreat before drawing too much attention. In other instances it provides sufficient breathing space for the driver to escape the scene with no loss other than the damage to his or her windscreen.

Precautions to Observe When Installing Window Tint

How to avoid this type of car theft totally is, for the foreseeable future, likely to remain a problem for the nation’s law enforcement agencies to wrestle with. However, in the meantime, fitting an approved safety film is definitely the most effective and economical countermeasure currently available to the South African motorist. Among the leading products in this class, worldwide, are those manufactured and distributed by Commonwealth Laminating & Coating, Inc. under the SunTek brand. In Pretoria, the Electronic Fitment Centre (EFC) is a stockist and certified installer of the US company’s premium safety film, a product designed specifically to provide protection from Smash and Grab incidents but equally effective in limiting the consequences of accidental damage.

The product should not be confused with many others, often fitted in makeshift workshops and designed simply to reduce glare by providing varying degrees of opacity with a coloured tint. While it may certainly be true that it makes it more difficult for the would-be thief to determine the nature and number of a vehicle’s occupants and what valuables, if any, may be up for grabs, only films manufactured from the right materials and to an adequate thickness can be expected to display the strength that is guaranteed to provide the degree of protection required.

The SunTek product has also been designed to provide protection from both heat and UV rays while, at the same time, it offers the exceptional optical clarity that serves to ensure maximum driver visibility under all conditions. While the manufacturer’s guarantees offer users total reassurance with regard to the product’s potential performance, it must also be born in mind that, only when it is installed to the company’s specified standards, can it actually be expected to achieve the promised performance.

SunTek safety film is how many motorists choose to avoid car theft from smash and grab attacks but it is essential to ensure that it is fitted professionally by an accredited installer. For vehicle owners in Pretoria this can only mean a visit to Hatfield’s Electronic Fitment Centre.

In-Dash Navigation Systems Offer a Safe and Tidy Solution

Perhaps one of the single greatest advances to benefit the motorist, the SatNav device has totally changed the way that drivers all around the world now locate their destinations and plan the best routes by which to reach them. The underlying technology known as the Global Positioning System or GPS uses the combined signals of multiple orbiting satellites to pinpoint the location of a device within metres. Since this service was first made available for public use, the market has been flooded with a series of hand-held, window-mounted and in-dash navigation systems designed to help hikers, bikers and car owners to establish precisely where they are and where they are headed.


The satellite information is actually free to use, courtesy of the United States Department of Defence, but the maps used by the various devices need constantly updating as changes occur and these are normally items offered for sale by the makers of the various devices. The slightly modified application of the same technology is used by fleet owners to keep track of the position of their vessels and is equally applicable to land-based vehicles, aircraft and ocean-going craft such as super tankers. In South Africa and elsewhere, security companies employ the same means to trace stolen vehicles but GPS technology is still most widely used as a far more compact and efficient alternative to the now, largely outmoded, street and tourist maps.


Useful as they may be, if you have ever tried to operate one of the hand-held devices while driving, you will beware that the practice is both difficult and, potentially, very dangerous. Depending upon the make and model of the vehicle, mounting the device on the window by means of a suction cup offers a distinct improvement and certainly eliminates the risk of dropping it.  However an in-dash navigation system is, without doubt, the safest solution as well as preserving the general clean lines of the vehicle’s dashboard and without intruding on the driver’s line of sight.


There are devices suitable for installation in most of the more popular vehicles on sale in South Africa today. These include Toyota, Nissan, Kia, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Hyundai and Subaru. Some of the GPS products are even available as a combination unit that incorporates a DVD player and or a sound system.


Supply of these products and expert retro-fitting for motorists living in Gauteng is competently handled by a Pretoria company known as the Electronic Fitment Centre or EFC.  It employs more than 40 trained technical staff in-house and 8 mobile teams to serve anyone that is in need of a top quality in-dash GPS navigation system.

Installing Car Sound Systems Requires Skill and Experience

Those of us who may be a little older will certainly recall the days when buying car sound systems from the local supermarket and installing them oneself was very much the norm. Times, however, have since changed and so too has the average vehicle radio. Both the old 8-track and the more compact tape player have been replaced by the CD player and today’s rear-seat passengers often spend their journeys viewing movies rather than the scenery.


Perhaps even more significantly, none of these items has evolved quite as radically as the vehicles themselves and the days of the DIY fitting is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Today the task has become the undisputed realm of experts such as those to be found at EFC, a specialised Electronic Fitment Centre located in Hatfield, a suburb of Pretoria.


Each member of the centre’s 41-strong technical team has undergone the most rigorous training needed to become fully familiar with the wide range of products and the even wider range of vehicles into which these products must be fitted. The company is a stockist of most leading audio brands including Sony, Pioneer, Panasonic, Phillips and Kenwood and enjoys the gold status VESA approval that identifies them as thoroughly competent to undertake installing any of these prestigious car sound systems and numerous others besides.


Not limited to one-off personal installations, EFC has gained considerable experience in serving the needs of large vehicle fleets. Since opening its doors, the company has undertaken specialised electronic services in support of some of the country’s largest and best known fleets including Avis, Early Bird Farm, AVBOB, Executour and Telkom’s Debis Fleet.


Car Sound and other Installations


Over and above its audio range, EFC also supplies numerous other vehicle-related electronics such as cruise control, electronic windows, air conditioners, alarms, satellite tracking devices and GPS navigation systems. Together with Bluetooth kits, iPod converters and even smash and grab protection, the company’s exceptionally broad product portfolio has also served to make it a preferred one-stop shop for a number of the nation’s short term insurers.


For those in the immediate area it is normally only necessary to drive in and wait for the next free technician but the company also fields 8 mobile teams. Serving those customers that live or work in the more distant parts of Gauteng such as Witbank, Rustenburg, Bella Bella, Krugersdorp and the East and West Rands, the mobile teams are skilled at installing car sound systems and various other electronic devices that are designed to be fitted into domestic or commercial vehicles. For convenience these fittings may be undertaken either at a client’s home or business premises.

What Exactly Is Park Distant Control?

A park distance sensor is proximity sensors for cars that alert the driver of unseen obstacles when performing parking manoeuvres. This type of system is commonly referred to as a park distance control or PDC of which fall into two different categories such as the ultrasonic parking sensor and the electromagnetic parking sensor.

The electromagnetic sensor relies on the driver moving the car smoothly and slowly towards an object they wish to avoid. Once the obstacle is detected and the vehicles stops momentarily when approaching, the sensor will keeping giving the signal of the obstacles presence. The closer the vehicles get to the obstacle, the alarm signal will become louder.

How It All Works and Why You Should Consider Installation

Park Distance Control InstallationA park distant control installation with this type of sensor does not require any holes to be drilled, as the electromagnetic parking sensor is unique designed and can be mounted on the inner bumper, making the device invisible, especially on new vehicles. However, currently the ultrasonic parking sensor is already available in several of the new brands of vehicles which are also known as parking aids and parktronic’s.

There are also upgrade park distance control kits available for cars that do not already have a park distant control installation or for those that systems are outdated. A PDC provides a common feedback to the driver which is usually audible tones and/or beeps. The closer the car moves towards an object the beeps will become faster, and the beeps will also indicate the distance the vehicle is from the obstruction.

When the vehicle is extremely close to an obstruction, a continuous tone can be heard which will warn the driver to immediately stop avoiding a collision. As opposed to audible tones, some PDC systems have visual aids such as LCD or LED read-outs which give the driver an indication of the distance of the obstruction. The distance and direction of the obstruction is indicated by the strength and location of the PDC warning symbols.

Consider Your Park Distance Control Installation Carefully

However, some systems have shortcomings in that they purely rely on sound waves and reflection, which at times may not be detected, if the obstacle is not large or flat enough to reflect sound. An ultrasonic park distance control installation that has been constantly exposed to the environment does not have a long life span and may need to be replaced after several years.

In most instances, PDC systems come with a fail safe mode that will detect malfunctions and immediately alert the driver that the system is malfunctioning, and the driver hen should not rely on the device when reversing.