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Very few car enthusiasts would turn down owning a Rolls-Royce, but most people can’t really justify the exorbitant price tag attached. The “cheapest” model still retails for over $330,000 in 2022. As you can imagine, the luxury styling and sky-high values of these vehicles also make them major targets for car thieves.

While insurance can help compensate you if your vehicle is stolen, it doesn’t replace the loss of your beloved car. However, as one NYC driver found out, you might be able to get your vehicle back with two key features.

How a Rolls-Royce owner outsmarted these thieves

According to the New York Post, Staten Island resident John awoke at 4 a.m. after hearing burglars break into his home. After smashing one of the home’s windows with a rock, the group found the keys to John’s $400,000 Rolls-Royce Dawn convertible. John wasn’t able to keep the thieves from driving away, but he was able to track their location with his computer.

That’s because this Rolls-Royce had a GPS tracker installed on it. After the thieves parked the car in New Jersey, John activated a remote kill switch to prevent the car from starting again. John was able to locate his vehicle afterward, the thieves nowhere in sight.

Police are still reportedly searching for the suspects, who have been involved in multiple car thefts throughout the area. Police believe the group chooses its targets based on photos from luxury real estate websites.

John was especially at risk because he kept his Rolls-Royce uncovered in his driveway. John also suspected the thieves could easily see the keys on the counter from outside the broken window. 

Why the 2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn is so valuable

A Rolls-Royce Dawn parked outside the Design Museum in London, England
Rolls-Royce Dawn | John Phillips/Getty Images for Rolls-Royce)

Looking at the car in question on Edmunds, we understand why anyone would be upset to lose it. The 2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn has a hearty turbo V12 engine under its hood, capable of 563 horsepower and 575 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and RWD.

Despite its sporty powertrain, it behaves more like a refined grand tourer. When driving at speeds of 31 mph or less, the convertible’s top can open and close itself in 22 seconds. 

The interior is whisper-quiet with the top closed, and riders are surrounded by real wood surfaces and plush leather. This two-door convertible has four spacious seats, although its trunk area only offers 11 cubic feet at best.

A rotary controller is required to use the touchscreen, but voice controls can also be utilized. You also get a standard navigation system and a luxurious Bespoke stereo system with 16 speakers. Like the rest of the Rolls-Royce catalog, the Dawn offers virtually endless aesthetic customization options.

Should everyone have a kill switch in their car?

As the news story demonstrated, a kill switch can disable any part of the car that a thief might need to get it started. John’s kill switch was connected to the ignition wire, but Mechanic Base explains that you can install it elsewhere. For instance, a kill switch installed on the fuel system relay will prevent the engine from using any gas in the tank.

You can also add a kill switch on the car’s battery or the fuse box. Most kill switches can have remote controls, which can be attached to your keyring or downloaded onto your smartphone. Having a kill switch installed by a professional usually costs around $100.

Kill switches are also easy to install on your own. Just decide which component you’d like to disable, locate the corresponding wire, and run it through the switch. Even if you pay someone to do it, it’s a relatively cheap fix to protect your expensive vehicle.


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