How secure is your van? Use our tips to protect it

Van now security

Onions. Who’d have thought that they’d have a lot to do with good van security? OK, we’re not saying put one on the dashboard to ward off all evil. It’s all about the layers. The more layers you can put between a thief and your van the better. Let’s face it, your van is your mobile workstation and contains most of what you need to make a living. Having all the right barriers to protect your most important asset means you could deter a very unwelcome visitor – and that should make van security one of your highest priorities. So, read on for our top tips to keep your van – and its contents – safe. 

Park smart

Next time you park up, remember around 30 vans get stolen every day1. Whenever possible, choose a well-lit location to park your van, and ideally one that attracts reasonable pedestrian and road traffic. Both of these will help put off would be thieves. In addition, parking your van in a tight corner that blocks access to your side and rear doors will add a degree of hassle that most thieves would rather avoid. 

Lock it! 

It’s an obvious one, but you would be amazed how many vans are left unlocked, allowing opportunistic thieves to take their chance. Even if you are only going away from your van for a few minutes, always ensure it’s locked to keep it secure. 

Use Secure Locks 

Unfortunately, thieves are finding increasingly clever ways to get past factory fit locking mechanisms on vans, so beefing them up with the following options is worth considering in order to ramp up your van’s security.

Door locks:

Van door locks are highly effective anti-theft devices that are usually fitted to the rear doors of your van. They link the two doors together with a strong lock, making it extremely hard for potential thieves to force entry. Most locks can also be fitted to the sliding side doors as well as rear and are accessed via one single key.


These locks automatically lock themselves when you close a door – perfect for couriers or short-drop drivers, or anyone who is forgetful when it comes to locking their van (see our second tip!).


This kind of unsprung lock is manually locked and unlocked by the driver using a separate key – it works in exactly the same way as a deadlock on a door within a building.

Lock covers:

Lock covers stop thieves from being able to target potential weak spots on your van’s existing locks.

Remove your tools overnight

We get it. It’s a pain in the proverbial – but it’s also the best way to keep the contents of your van where it should be. It may mean that you still suffer damage to your van, but the tools of your trade will be safe. And if you add an obvious sticker to your van stating no tools are left over-night, you further increase your chances of the would-be thief walking on by.

Make your van vanish

If you have a garage or workshop, try and make room for the van. Or, if you have access to other secure premises leave the van there. Out of sight …. out of mind. 

Use forensic liquid on valuable items 

Forensic liquid such as Smart Water, or even a UV pen is a very effective way of tracing your tools, should they be stolen, and putting off potential thieves, providing you advertise the fact that you have a system in place loud and clear.

Stick some stickers on it 

And on that note, whacking some deterrent stickers on your van could stop you coming unstuck. Whether it’s ‘no tools left in van overnight’ or ‘forensic systems in use’ it could be just enough to make someone think twice about breaking in.

Inventory of any tools stored

If you do need to keep your tools in your van overnight, be sure to keep an up to date inventory of the contents of your van – ideally with pictures and receipts. This means that should the worst happen you have a strong start point when replacing the tools of your trade. 

Van boxes & vaults

And if you are going to store anything in your van, investing in a secure storage system such as a Box or Vault will deter thieves who typically want a quick win. A secure Van Vault or Box is not only the equivalent of a safe in your van for your tools, it also helps keep things organised. Bonus.

Fit an alarm, immobiliser & tracker

Many vans will come with an alarm system pre-fitted, but if not, you can still buy and fit an alarm system to help secure your vehicle. But while an alarm will alert anyone nearby to the attempted break in, an immobiliser works in a different way. It makes no sound, however if it feels the van’s security has been compromised it blocks the ignition source meaning it can’t be moved. 

Finally, a tracker means that if all else fails and someone does manage to steal your van, you are able to track its location and recover both your van and hopefully its contents. Our specialist partner Tracker has a unique VHF based tracking system and a direct relationship with the police. They actually recover 95% of stolen vehicles that have their tracker fitted – and can also track the route of any stolen van if it stopped to drop off its valuable contents anywhere along the way. See our Tracker article.

Preventing keyless theft

Keyless entry and start has become more and more common place in vans. But, it’s a shocking fact that vehicle tracking firm Tracker can confirm that 92% of the vans they recover were stolen without using the keys. Tech-savvy criminals are frequently using relay-attack tools that can boost your key fob’s signal and activate it remotely, fooling your van’s system into unlocking the doors – and actually firing up the engine. And often they can do this in just 10 seconds.2

Some ways to fight back include:
• You can put your keys in a signal blocking pouch or wallet.
• Maybe consider fitting an immobilisation system that doesn’t rely on keyless operation.
• Turn off your keyless fob signal at night when your van is unattended. It can be done, but you’ll have to check your vehicle’s manual.
• Get a steering lock. Might be old fashioned but it could be enough to put a thief off.

Last but not least, check your insurance

Check insurance cover thoroughly before signing up and be in no doubt about your level of cover. Some policies, for example, don’t cover you if you leave your van unlocked. Take a quick look at our Van Insurance Guide.
Source. 1 RAC 2

When you want extra guidance, feel free to talk to our specialist dealer partners. They supply thousands of vans every year and with all their experience they’ll always be happy to help.

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