Ask The Mechanic – Vehicle Security

With classic car vehicle theft on the rise classic
car security systems are more important
than ever.
The Mechanic has noticed some members
asking some questions on the Club Facebook
page about van security and what different
people use, so has decided to cover some
options for security to help members understand
what products and services are available to keep
your van as safe as possible.
Starting with the basics, your vans already
has some built in security features from the
factory that you should utilise and ensure are
working effectively before even worrying about
additional security measures.
Firstly check that all of the doors lock securely,
including the tailgate or rear doors in later
transporters. Full lock sets can be inexpensive
and a doddle to fit, depending on the model.
If the doors aren’t locking as expected, there is
plenty of adjustability with the striker plates and
latches, don’t be afraid to give it a go.
All van windows, whether they are manual
windup, electric windup, louver or sliding, should
close fully and latch where possible. Anything
short of this is an invite to an opportunistic thief.
All types of Transporter have a standard steering
lock fitted which is activated by turning the
steering wheel with the ignition key removed.
This stops anyone from being able to turn the
steering wheel and drive off without the ignition
key. The ignition key and barrel is another
standard security feature that should be present,
older vehicles can be modified over the years
to work in several ways depending on whether
there have been problems in the past, but the
ignition lock is something extremely basic that
you want to ensure is working.

Some other very basic things to consider are
where you keep your van parked when not
in use. Do you have a secure location such as
a garage or a lockup? Do you use a driveway
or park on the road? If you have a safer place
available to you, use it.
Now we have covered the basics, we can move
on to additional security devices. There are
various additional security devices available for
vehicles and they can be mechanical or electrical
and very affordable or expensive, depending on
the product and the application.
A basic additional security device that many will
have used at some point is the steering wheel
lock/clamp. These are a mechanical device that
fits to the steering wheel to prevent the wheel
from being turned in the event of you vehicle

being stolen. They vary heavily in application
and price and the choice is a personal decision,
but whatever you choose, a steering lock is a
visual deterrent for potential thieves as well as
a physical mechanical hindrance. I personally
always use a steering lock, even if only leaving my
van for a short period of time, it gives me peace
of mind that it would take longer for someone to
steal my van with it fitted than it would without
it, which should help to put off the opportunistic
types. There are many different types of steering
lock on the market, but “Stoplock” has been a
well known name for years.

Another basic, internal fitting mechanical device
is a pedal lock. These are not as common as
steering locks as some people find them fiddly
to fit and not as quick as simply fitting a steering
lock. These are more common when leaving
a van for a longer period of time and work by
locking the three driving pedals together. These
are more expensive than steering locks and
obviously need to be tailored to the application.
There are several available on the market such
as the “Safe-T Pedal” and “Clutch Claw” that we
looked at in the last issue of Transporter Talk.
These are less visual than a steering lock, but
if someone gets into your van and sees one
of these fitted, there’s a good chance they will
decide to leave it or will need to make noise
and spend time removing it in order to get your
van easily.

That’s not all for internal mechanical locks as you
can also buy devices that lock the gearstick to
prevent any gear changes. On some VW models
you can buy gear sticks and surrounds that have
locks built in. Or you can find devices that lock
the gearstick into position using a part of the
interior, such as seats or steering wheels.
Much like the steering wheel lock and pedal
locks, these are a visual deterrent and will also
slow down any thieves if they’re intent on taking
your van.
Use of these mechanical devices may be time
consuming, but can prove to be a very effective
and wallet friendly means of adding security to
your pride and joy.
Another simple mechanical locking device is the
use of an external wheel clamp. If you use your
van on a daily basis then this could prove to be
an annoyance, but if you use the van on the odd
occasion then using a wheel clamp is a cheap
and effective means of additional security. There
are various designs and styles of clamp available
and they vary in price, but the main thing is that
this extra security device is another problem that
any would be thieves need to break through in
order to get what they want.
With mechanical devices covered, we can now
move on to the electronic advancements that
can help to keep your van in your hands. Some
more modern vehicles already have electronic
devices fitted as standard, but those with older
transporter models will be lacking in this area.
Immobilisers are fitted to modern vehicles as
standard and are fitted to prevent the engine of
a vehicle from running unless the correct key or
chip is present. Those who have ever owned a

car that has an aftermarket immobiliser with
problems will tell you how eff ective they are!
Immobiliser kits can be purchased and DIY
fi tted fairly cheaply these days and there are
companies out there that off er fi tting and after
sales services too.
As well as immobilisers, alarms are also now fi tted
to most modern vehicles and these can now be
added to older vehicles as an additional security
measure. Alarms can be much more complicated
than immobiliser kits as there are more areas for
problems, such as doors and movement sensors.
It is highly recommended that alarms are fi tted
by a qualifi ed alarm fi tter and ensure that you get
some kind of warranty too.
Another excellent and worthy purchase in
the category of electronic security devices is a
GPS tracker.
A GPS tracker is a location device that will track
your vehicle if it’s taken without your permission.
This is the best way of locating your vehicle
quickly to have it recovered and so reducing the
chance of damage or loss.
There are several types of GPS Tracker on the
market, some are standalone devices that are
completely user operated and some utilise
a subscription service where a company will
monitor the tracker and can off er diff erent
levels of service. One such GPS Tracker service
is Skytag, which has been covered elsewhere in
this issue and now off ers VWT2OC member’s a
discount on their tracker service.
Other methods of additional security could
include kill switches or battery isolators, these
are cheap to acquire and simple to fi t for most.
These are best used when leaving the vehicle
for longer periods and can be operated with a
key. One problem with this is that if you have
a vehicle tracker fi tted, the battery isolator will
likely disable the tracker.
Some other diff erent and interesting ideas include
fi tting an electronic fuel pump that has a hidden
switch somewhere inside the van, no fuel, no
running engine! Or you could go very extreme
and remove the steering wheel from your vehicle
for longer periods of storage and would be much
easier on earlier transporter models.
Others have suggested removing the rotor arm
from the distributor as this disables the engines
ignition system, but again is probably best used
for longer periods of storage. To aid with tracking,
some also suggest fi tting a number plate to the
roof so that the vehicle can be identifi ed from
above in the event of it being stolen.
Hopefully some of these hints are useful to
members for helping to think about security
options, but remember that the most important
thing is to keep the basics working.
Without these, any other additional security
device loses eff ectiveness