Whether you’re hiring a van to move home, or you use one every day for work, you don’t need to be the sharpest tool in the box to take a few simple steps to safeguard your vehicle. So, “what are your top tips on how to keep your vehicle safe?”, we hear you cry.
Not sure what to insure?
Let’s start with first things first. When you buy a van or hire one for either a short or long period, it’s a good idea to get proper insurance in place. No one wants to be the third wheel, so why would you want third party? Fully comprehensive is the way to go if you want to fully protect your van and everything in it. The clue’s in the name, see – full and comprehensive. If you’re hiring a van, take out insurance which covers your contents, in case some nefarious twerp takes it upon themselves to break in.
Boss of a large band of employees? Work for the man? One man band? Thieves don’t usually discriminate, especially the opportunistic ones who spot a poorly-guarded vehicle. A recent study showed more than 30 vans are stolen every day, with over 80 further break-ins. Thankfully, there are lots of ways you can deter those tiresome thieves.
– Don’t forget the essential
Let’s start with the obvious. Lock your van. Even if you’re only leaving it for a minute or two, always make sure you lock up. That’s all those opportunistic pests need if they spot you coming and going, so don’t make it easy for them. Check handles to be certain, always close your windows and never leave valuables on display. This includes things like your sat nav overnight. Another big no-no is leaving your keys in the van unattended. Your insurance will be invalid if you do this, and your mates will laugh at you. So just don’t, alright?
– Park smart
Sometimes it might not be possible to pick and choose where you park. Most of the time though, using your wits where parking’s concerned could be the difference between a thief licking their lips at the prospect of robbing you.. Try to park under streetlights when it’s dark and in busy car parks with CCTV when you’re out and about. Tuck in your van at night in a cosy garage if you have one or install security lights on your driveway if it sleeps under the stars.
– No tools left in van overnight
We’ve all seen this sign on vans, and you may well have one yourself. If so, practice what you preach! It may not be an option to completely unload your van every night but do make sure there’s nothing of high value in there. Removing the minimum of what you need to do your job could be a good place to start, so you aren’t left incapable of working if someone does break in or steal your van.
– No peel, no steal
You may have read about ‘peel and steal’ in the news a few years ago. Also known as ‘peek and seek’, thieves are able to grab the top of a van’s side or back doors and use brute force to pull them down. It only takes a few people to force an opening in these locked doors, but the ploy can be prevented by parking close to walls and building doors to deny the space required.
Good, good, good, preparations
Okay, so the Beach Boys were singing about vibrations. But preparations can be good too. Here’s how to get your excitations in the fight against those burglars.
– Upgrade your security devices
Most new vans nowadays come with pretty good security systems, which include alarms and immobilisers. It doesn’t do any harm to go further with things like steering locks, tracking devices and extra door locks though. Especially if they’re highly visible and able to deter the master criminal eyeing up your ride.
– Tool up by tooling down
These days you can get secure, lockable toolboxes that you can fix down to your van’s floor. Picking up one or more of these is a great way to prevent the pillagers from prospering and could also save you the job of emptying your van of tools every night. Although that’s still the best thing to do in case someone steals the whole shebang, of course.
– Don’t let them get the cat out of the bag
Annoyingly, catalytic converters have become a target for thieves. The metal in these parts is valuable when resold and removing them isn’t very hard. Catalysts are easier to get to in vans because of the higher ground clearance, but you can buy anti-theft devices which give them an added layer of security.
– Go all Marky Mark
Clue’s in the name with this one. Always mark your stuff. Register and then mark all your equipment and tools with a UV pen, and take an inventory of all your gear by recording makes, models and serial numbers to show insurers in case you get done over.
– Keep thieves far away with Faraday
Michael Faraday. What a man. He may have died in 1867 – almost two decades before the first production motor car was built – but his genius still reverberates around the world of motoring to this day. Why? Because of those fancy keyless fobs we all love so much these days. Their electrical signal can be easily hacked by a device favoured by sneaky swindlers, but not if you pop them into a Faraday sleeve, pouch, bag, box, or whatever receptacle tickles your fancy/matches your decor.
So there you have it. We may have taken a slight detour together to visit some scientists and singers, but hopefully you’re in a much better position to keep your vehicle safe and secure after our little journey together.