Trevor Hodgson-Phillips, Head of Service & Parts at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, offers advice on how to keep your van safe.
Most vans on the market are now fitted with an alarm or electronic vehicle immobiliser to help protect the vehicle and its contents. All Volkswagen vans come fitted as standard with a high level of safety and security features. However, for those owners who wish to add further protection to their vehicle there are a wide range of steps they can take.
The first step to protecting your vehicle is making sure that you think about where you park it. Parking in a well-lit area or in a car park with CCTV will definitely help reduce the possibility of unwanted attention. Thieves will normally pick the easiest targets to allow them to commit the offence without being seen.
Where this can’t be achieved or if you have more than one vehicle, parking them defensively can also help as well. Parking behind other vehicles or positioning the van so that the doors are blocked by another vehicle or object can be a good deterrent.
If you’re looking to kit your van out with modern security solutions, we’d recommend that any complex installation is undertaken by a recognised company. This way you can ensure any warranties are maintained and that you have peace-of-mind regarding fitment. Indeed, all aftersales accessories fitted by Volkswagen Van Centres have the same warranties afforded to all of its service work and parts.
A good place to start is by preventing thieves seeing what’s inside by fitting items such as window guards or a full internal bulkhead. These also add protection to items in the load area as well. Adding a security film to the glass can also help to prevent thieves from smashing a window. Dependant on the type of film, it will deflect attacks entirely or encase splintered glass between the two film layers. In the latter case, the thief may still be able to access the van, but it’ll prove very difficult and time-consuming.
Fitting additional lock systems to the rear or sliding doors can also act as a visual and physical deterrent. The aftermarket devices are fitted to the door skin of the vehicle and owners simply use a key to undo the mechanism, which is normally fairly straightforward.
Another option could be to fit secure storage within a vehicle. Systems such as secure storage boxes or lockable internal racking and tool chests can all provide protection for expensive tools and equipment. Most racking solutions can be supplied with locking draws or compartments. By working with the aftersales team at a Volkswagen Van Centre you’ll be able to specify a racking solution that suits your exact security needs. Likewise, operators that use roof-mounted storage can do the same by adding lockable fixings.
A Thatcham-approved alarm system is always a worthwhile investment, and trackers to locate stolen vehicles may not only reduce insurance premiums and act as a deterrent, but also help the police to find the vehicle (and sometimes the perpetrator) if the worst should happen.
Also worth remembering is what you write on your van. While bright livery telling potential customers what you do might be great advertising, it can also be a way of telling thieves what tools might be inside.
No matter which approach you take to protect your vehicle, the key thing to remember is that the harder you make it for a thief, the more likely yours is the van they’ll ignore!