Van security: comparing the different locks on the market

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Andrew Hill • May 18, 2016 • Van security

Vehicle theft may have dropped steadily over the last couple of decades, but there is still a thriving market for stolen commercial vans and the expensive tools and equipment carried in many of them.

According to the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS), the Ford Transit was the UK’s most stolen vehicle in 2015, with the Mercedes Sprinter in second place.

The vast majority of stolen vans are never recovered or returned, with many of them being broken down into parts which are then sold on. The loss of a vehicle to a large fleet is significant, but to a smaller business it can be crippling.

In this post, we help you stay one step ahead of the van thieves by looking at the different types of van lock on the market – and how they can keep your vehicles on the road instead of becoming part of this year’s crime statistics.


These automatically lock your van door when you slam it shut. The idea is to prevent opportunist thieves entering your vehicle when you leave it unattended for a short period of time, for instance to make a delivery.

These locks come in two main formats – key operated and remote controlled. Of the two, key operated locks are the safest because only the key-holder can re-open the door. While thieves with expert knowledge can pick many locks, the cheapness and ready availability of digital lock picks makes it much easier for the amateur criminal to open a remote controlled slamlock.


Do you want to ensure your vans are as secure as possible? Find out how to protect your business from van theft with our free guide. Click below to download.

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Deadlocks are very difficult to pick because they have no spring mechanism that can be forced open. Anyone wanting to open these locks needs a key to open or shut them.

A deadlock works by pushing a bolt into a receiver that is fitted to the opposite body section, normally on a van door. Though highly secure, you need to be able to rely on your drivers to manually lock and unlock them each time they leave the vehicle – which can be impractical if they make multiple stops in short periods of time.

Like the slamlock, deadlocks come in radio-operated versions, using either your van’s current remote control or a separate one. Once again, this is a slightly less reliable way of securing your van, but is a more convenient one.

High visibility locks

External high visibility locks are popular on rear and side doors to prevent theft of tools or other van contents. Some have angled bodies to deflect hammer blows, and the best are made of high security steel.

These locks are good additions to your van’s existing security and send thieves a clear signal that you have taken strong precautions to protect your vehicle.

Steel plate protection

While not technically a lock, you can source specially made steel plates that encase your existing van locks to prevent thieves from trying to drill or prise them out. Available in self adhesive and bolted-on versions, the latter offers stronger security from attack.

As you can see, there are a number of different types of lock available to protect your vans and their contents. And as always, some locks are better quality than others. We strongly recommend installing locks that have been subjected to rigorous testing by Thatcham Research. These locks meet the highest security specifications to give you maximum peace of mind.

Of course, fitting aftermarket security to your own fleet isn’t cheap, but it can more than pay for itself. If you are one of our customers, we are happy to fit additional security systems for you as part of your lease package – including systems to protect catalytic converter theft and ECU bypassing. With our flexible hire package, you will be able to afford newer, more secure vehicles and enjoy the latest developments in van security. We’ll even provide you with a replacement vehicle if any van is stolen – ensuring any downtime is kept to an absolute minimum.

Want to know more about how you can ensure your fleet is safe and secure? Download our free guide below.

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