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Van locks explained: which locks are the most secure?

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May 26, 2022
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For drivers who depend on their van for business, van security is an important issue, especially as van thefts have been rising in recent years. Sadly, commercial vans are often an easy target for thieves, especially if your line of work requires you to transport goods or store tools in your vehicle.

Thankfully, installing additional van locks can work as a deterrent for thieves and can protect you from having to pay the costs of replacing tools and goods. But with so many van locks available, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. Here we explore your van security lock options and explain which is the best for your needs.

The different types of van door locks

There is a wide range of van locks available, but the following are considered the most common:

  • Slam lock
  • Deadlock
  • Hook lock

What is a slam lock?

Grey van with doors open to back

As the name suggests, a slam lock locks the vehicle as soon as you close the door. It can be unlocked from inside the vehicle without the key, which is ideal as it helps prevent you from getting trapped inside. However, when the door shuts, this means the door must be unlocked from the outside, which helps improve security.

Slam locks are most commonly installed on the back doors, but they can also be added to the passenger and driver’s seat compartment to prevent thieves from stealing the van itself.

When is a slam lock useful?

Slam locks are particularly useful for multi-drop drivers and couriers as they allow you to secure goods in the vehicle while you’re delivering the parcel with little extra fuss. This is ideal when you have heavy parcels in your hands and locking the vehicle would be difficult or time consuming.

Installing a slam lock and taking out goods in transit cover can be an effective way of protecting your van and your business.

What is a deadlock?

A deadlock is a separate security measure that works by throwing a bolt into the receiving bracket on the opposite side of the door. Unlike the slam lock, you’ll have to physically lock the van doors in order to trigger the deadlock mechanism. Deadlocks cannot be opened from the inside of the van, so if a thief tries to smash a window and unlock the van from the inside, they won’t be able to.

When is a deadlock useful?

Back of white van in a parking lot

Deadlocks are useful for businesses that don’t need to get into the back of their van frequently. This includes:

  • Gardeners
  • Cleaners
  • Removal companies

Slam locks vs. deadlocks: which is better?

Both slam locks and deadlocks work better for different applications. Whereas a slam lock works for people who need to access their van frequently, a deadlock is ideal for those who do not need to access their van as often but still want an extra layer of security.

Deadlocks offer a little extra security compared to slam locks as they use a separate mechanism and cannot be unlocked from the inside, so if you’re only after extra security, this might be the better option.

What is a hook lock?

A hook lock works in the same way as a deadbolt, but the bolt is hooked. When thrown, it hooks into the receiving bracket, which offers an additional layer of protection compared to deadlocks.

When should a hook lock be used?

In general, hook locks can be used in any circumstances where a deadlock would be the best option.

Are there any other locks I can use to improve van security?

Driver who depends on his van for his business

There are a number of other locks you can use so that even if a thief is able to get into your van, they will have a hard time stealing anything or driving off. This includes:

  • Catalytic converter locks
  • Steering wheel locks
  • Gear lever locks
  • Secure lockboxes

What is a catalytic converter lock?

Unfortunately, the goods inside your vehicle aren’t the only target for thieves. Some will simply steal your catalytic converter, a device that turns pollutants emitted from your car’s exhaust into less harmful gases.

Catalytic converters contain precious metals, which make them valuable items on the black market. As they are usually located under the vehicle towards the exhaust, they’re often an easier target for thieves.

A catalytic converter lock makes it more difficult for thieves to steal the converter as it wraps around the catalytic converter and locks in place. The most common lock type is the CatLoc, which can be purchased for about £110.

What are steering wheel locks and gear lever locks?

Both these types of locks work by fixing the steering wheel and gearbox in place so they cannot be used easily, which helps prevent thieves from driving off with your van. Steering wheel locks and gear lever locks require keys to open.

What is a secure lockbox?

A secure lockbox adds an extra layer of security and can be used to store any valuables and tools you leave in your van. The lockbox is usually bolted to the floor of the van so it can’t be taken out of the vehicle easily.

Secure lockboxes come in a versatile range of sizes and are usually between £200 and £400. Paired with tools in transit cover, lockboxes can be an excellent deterrent.

Are there any other ways I can keep my van secure?

Packages in van

Read our blog on preventing break-ins and tool theft to find out more about other security measures you can take in order to keep your van secure.

Does installing extra van security locks reduce my insurance premiums?

Thatcham-approved van security locks can help to reduce your insurance premiums as they help prevent break-ins and thefts. Please note that your van insurance depends on a number of different factors, including:

  • Your location
  • Your driving experience
  • Any no claims bonus you’ve earned
  • The type of van you’re driving
  • How you use your van

Whether you need courier van insurance or company van insurance, call Adrian Flux on 0800 369 8590 or schedule a callback at a time that suits you.

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