How important is Thatcham Approval?
by Fiona Taylor
What exactly is Thatcham approval?
If you have been looking for vehicle tracking or alarms recently you may have seen the term thatcham approved or thatcham approval. But what does this mean?
Lets look at the thatcham categories;
There are a number of categories that alarms, immobilisers and vehicle tracking units fall into, lets review them;
Thatcham Category 1 – electronic alarm and immobiliser
A Category 1 alarm will feature perimeter and ignition detection. It will incorporate movement or glass break and tilt sensors. There will be an alarm powered by its own battery supply that will sound if your car gets broken into. Immobilisers are also a requirement to be identified as Category 1 and they have to be passively set. This means that they are set without any action from the driver – while a minimum of two operating systems or one control unit used for normal operation must be isolated.
Thatcham Category 2 – electronic immobiliser
An immobiliser is required to be awarded Category 2 Thatcham security status. Just like Category 1 systems, a Category 2 device has to isolate at least two circuits or systems in the vehicle . Or it can isolate one vehicle control unit that’s required for the car to run properly. Again, it has to be passively set.
Thatcham Category 2/1 – electronic alarm upgrade
This Category is achieved if upgrade work is carried out on a Category 2 vehicle. As long as the car has Category 2 security status, adding an alarm with the above facets from Category 1, the car can be upgraded to group 2/1.
Thatcham Category 3 – mechanical immobiliser
Unlike the Categories above, Category 3 immobilisation devices are mechanical, not electric. This means they are physical devices that disrupt how a car operates. Generally they are easy to set and unset, with the rules stating that they have to isolate a minimum of one operating system required for vehicle use. They can be permanently or temporarily installed. Category 3 devices include steering wheel and gear lever locks.
Thatcham Category 4 – wheel locking devices
Most modern cars fitted with alloy wheels benefit from locking wheel nuts. These make it harder for thieves to steal your wheels, as a special key is needed to remove one of the nuts. They actually count as a Category 4 Thatcham approved device. A category 4 device has to be reliable and durable, have a secure key replacement procedure, feature a traceable product and provide resistance to attack.
Now here are the thatcham approval categories that we are interested in, tracking:
Thatcham Category 5 – post-theft tracking and recovery systems
These systems can track the whereabouts of a stolen vehicle, but also have the ability to immobilise the car remotely by capping certain engine functions so the car can be shut down. This function is not permitted on Category 6 or 7 systems, though.
Thatcham Category 6 – stolen vehicle tracking
Trackers with this function can track a vehicle, but don’t permit it to be remotely shut down.
Thatcham Category 7 – stolen vehicle location
Similar to the above, again immobilisation of the stolen car from a different location is not allowed.
Do you need a tracker with thatcham approval?
Latest provided figures show that nearly 70,000 cars are stolen annually in the UK. That’s nearly 200 cars a day! Many people will never see their cars again once they have been taken, but how will thatcham approval help you?
Your overall vehicle security is improved significantly by installing a car tracker. You can see where it is, where it has been, routes it has taken and speeds that it is travelling.
Thatcham approved units often claim that they have a highly advanced motion sensor installed in them. This sensor will instantly identify any illegal movement. This is great, I have just one question though – how?
- How does it know that you aren’t driving?
- How does it know that the movement is illegal?
Units with thatcham approval are often linked with a secure control center, and once they have been alerted, they can begin to track your vehicle immediately. Sorry, what? Did I say once they have been alerted? You are still responsible for alerting the control centre. If you don’t tell them then they have no way of knowing that your vehicle has been stolen.
Thatcham approval has become something that insurance companies ask for, but is it really necessary?
A vehicle tracking unit from Satmo will allow you to see exactly where your own vehicle is, you can use the geofence feature on the system to set up alerts, and you can have access to your vehicle whereabouts 24/7.
Why not ask your insurance company if you can have your own tracking system fitted and then you can bet alerted directly by the Satmo software if your vehicle is moved outside of nominated hours.
If you have any questions about this, or any of our tracking products please give us a call on 01274 587748 and we will be happy to help.