Motorhomes and theft: What are the risks?
To new or even seasoned motorhome owners, the eventuality of your vehicle being stolen might seem unlikely. Sadly, motorhome theft does happen, and increasingly so. It also happens for different reasons. It’s important to know why motorhomes are targeted, so you can avoid falling victim to thieves.
Whilst whole vehicle thefts are often carried out by experienced professionals who want to sell on parts for profit, thieves on the road may be drawn by the fact that a home on wheels is designed to be just that. Bringing as much kit as you require to make life on the road comfortable and your adventures hassle-free, unfortunately, means that motorhomes can be targets for break-ins. Vehicle thefts seem to be more common at home, whilst most possession-based break-ins happen while travelling. That’s why it’s important to cover your bases and make sure that you’re equipped with the best motorhome security options within your budget. We’ve collected a comprehensive list of tips and technologies that you should be considering, including the best motorhome steering wheel locks, alarms, tracking systems and other deterrents to keep your motorhome safe.
Read on to find out how you can ensure that a would-be thief takes one look at your motorhome and decides, nope, it’s not worth the risk!
Preventing Motorhome Theft
Unfortunately, stats for stolen vehicles are on the rise. Motorhomes are often targeted because they are often newer with lower mileage. Alongside their increasing popularity, this means their parts sell for more. Don’t stress - there’s plenty you can do to ensure this doesn’t happen to you! Your aim with actions to prevent motorhome theft is to make the vehicle undrivable, so those would-be thieves won’t bother trying to take it away.
- For the best motorhome security, a steering wheel lock will stop the vehicle from being moved. Brightly coloured locks help draw attention to the extra security, so we recommend something as gaudy, clunky and off-putting as possible. Luckily, this Stoplock HG doesn’t actually take up too much space when it’s not in use, so it’s perfect for the job if you’re spending lots of time in the van and storage space is limited. If you’re not on the road in your motorhome so often, Disklok provides the best wheel locks for physical security. It’s a bit more upmarket, but it’s not susceptible to steering wheel cuts, and will just spin when force is applied with tools. It’s a very effective deterrent, which comes in multiple colour options. Unfortunately, it’s pretty heavy, so it’s not the easiest to lock in place and bulky to store. Therefore, it’s the best motorhome steering wheel lock for when it’s sitting idle in between adventures.
- Trackers are a great way to boost your vehicle’s security system and even better, may knock some money off your insurance premium. Just be sure to double-check with your insurance provider before you buy one, as they may require a specific model or that it meets certain Thatcham security certifications. This is also the case for immobilisers, but beware that technological advancements have meant that professional thieves can override some factory-fitted, keyless systems!
- Consider a wheel clamp if you’re heading away from your vehicle for a while and want to ensure it’s unmoveable. The best wheel clamp for motorhomes are police-approved. Look for the phrase ‘sold secure’ on the product, which indicates that it is certified by an independent testing body, dedicated to reducing crime. Before buying one, also be sure to measure the wheel rim and the width of the tyre and make a note of that, as well as checking whether you have alloy wheels or steel wheels. This ensures that you find the best wheel clamp for your motorhome’s wheels. Wheel clamps like this XFORT model are a surprisingly low-cost option for securing your vehicle.
- Motorhomes might be a little bit different to each other depending on the model, conversion and adjustments each owner makes. Get creative with what you can do to deter thieves in your vehicle. For example, some owners who have swivel seats take to locking them together, as anyone trying to drive it away will struggle to reach the wheel or pedals!
- Clutch claws lock the pedals together. It’s an expensive option, but this model can be reset for changes of ownership, ensuring lifelong security. It also comes with flashing LED lights and stickers to deter thieves at the window, which can be useful deterrents.
Speaking of deterrents, whilst you’re on the road, you’re more likely to encounter passing opportunists than professional car thieves. It’s all well and good having the best wheel clamp for your motorhome, but what about break-ins? To cover all bases of security, make sure yours looks like a difficult target to steal from, too. Luckily, the options abound and can fit all ranges of budget.
- Unfortunately, you’ll hear of the occasional, brazen burglary that happens at night whilst passengers are sleeping inside their motorhomes. Luckily, most conversions and some factory-built motorhomes have in-built alarms, motion detectors inside and the best have anti-tow alarms. If not, there are some great, suitably noisy wireless alarm systems out there that are easily installed yourself. Remember that when you’re in the van at night, you need to be able to set the door and window alarms but disable the interior motion detector! Also, make sure it will sing out within seconds of being activated: burglars will be in and out very rapidly if successful.
One of the best self-install alarm options is by Haegil. For just a small amount of straightforward hardwiring, you get a night mode, a tilt sensor, interior movement detector and a high-frequency siren, and there are two alarm key fobs included in the kit. A slightly cheaper option is the Tiiwee A1 kit.
- Considering that motorhome bodywork is often quite lightweight, the doors themselves often feature fairly light-duty locks - not the best for motorhome security! So, it’s no surprise that many owners want to consider door lock upgrades. However, drilling into the bodywork seems a bit daunting. If you go down this road, be sure to check your vehicle warranty conditions so as not to invalidate anything. Other options don’t require drilling into the bodywork, such as this one by Fiamma, which does involve drilling and screws, but just into the aluminium door frame, and is straightforward to install. It’s a great visual deterrent, too. And,though you want it to put off a would-be thief, you don’t want it to ruin your motorhome’s aesthetics. That’s why we’ve picked this option: it comes in various colour ways.
- Security cameras like this one are a great option for your peace of mind. Though it may not prevent a burglary, legitimate signs in the window saying the van is under 24hr surveillance are a good deterrent. Cameras also allow you to see who a thief was in the event of a burglary, monitor everything is as it should be, and if you’re travelling with a pet who you have to leave in the vehicle for a short while, you can check they are OK.
- Motion sensor lights are another great addition to any other security measures you have in place. They provide another winning combo of security and convenience. This one by Fiamma is our pick for best RV motion light, because it is made to fit a door, so you have multiple choices of location, it will only light up in the dark, it’s effective up to 7m away and will stay on for 60 seconds after activation. Though we think this is the best RV motion light, you’ll find all sorts of other options on Amazon at a range of prices, including solar-powered lights.
More Security Tips
- Close and lock all windows, doors, and vents before you leave. Yes, your motorhome is designed to be your vehicle for a relaxing escape, but don’t get complacent!
- Stash all your valuables and devices out of sight, somewhere safe.
- All these options are more effective when used in tandem!
- Use secure parking when at home. If your drive isn’t very safe, you can always fit a security post like this one.
- Don’t leave your motorhome unattended for long periods of time if you’re staying at an aire or wild camping. And, always trust your instincts. If something feels off about a place, you might sleep better somewhere else.
- Whilst campsites are usually very secure from outside trespassers, unfortunately, most thefts on a campsite occur from other people already on the site. These people are opportunists, so just don’t give them the opportunity to swipe anything. Keep your space clear of your things, securing them away at night and when you’re out of sight.
Don’t spend your road trips fretting about the fate of your motorhome. That would only defeat the object of taking off on the road in the first place! If you apply as many of these options as you can, you won’t have to, and will rest easy beneath the stars.