Vandog Traveller

Fitting extra locks to my van

I always said that security is the main thing I worry about when living and travelling in my van. It’s the only reason I’m never too keen on staying around big cities for too long.

My van is pretty easy to break into

You can non destructively get in without a key by using a stick which takes about 30 minutes. Or you can jam a screw driver into the lock which would take a few seconds. Or you can just break the window and reach in and unlock. Fitting deadlocks will make all of these three ways of breaking in a lot more difficult – hopefully too difficult to bother.

Fitting deadlocks to all the doors

I found a company offering deadlocks kits that are sold for all different types of vans – Locks4Vans. These things were not cheap at just over £200 for all the doors – the passenger, driver, sliding door and back doors. I’m not covered on insurance if I get anything stolen so I think it’s worth it. I’d rather spend money on security over insurance anyway…. I think.

The van lock kit from Locks 4 Vans

Each lock casing and barrel differs slightly in size to fit the different doors of the van – 2 front, sliding side and double rear doors. Each lock comes with a sheet of A4 with a cross section diagram of the door and the exact measurements for fitting.

The locks are pretty straight forward to fit. This post will give you an idea…

1. Measure and mark to fit lock casing into door

The lock casing fits into the door, just above where the existing lock is

2. Cut casing slot

If you want to be careful you should probably cover the surrounding area with masking tape so the sparks don’t damage the paint

3. Cut barrel hole

I cut one big hole and two smaller holes for the lock barrel

4. File to fit the barrel

5. Paint edges to prevent rust

6. Fit barrel into lock casing

The rectangle lock case goes in first and then the barrel is inserted at a right angle and secured with the barrel screw. With everything looking straight I made marks where the fixing rivets will go

7. Drill holes and rivet the lock case

I used the rivets that came with the kit: 5mm for the lock casing which is shown below

9. Drill holes and rivet the barrel face

I put some sealant on the underside of the barrel face plate and riveted in place using the 3mm supplied rivets

10. Mark bolt slot location on the door frame

To mark the right location for rectangle hole that the bolt will fit into (when locked) I put two dots of paint on the lock bolt, closed the door and turned the key. The two dots of paint will be the top and bottom of the rectangle that needs to be cut out – for the lock bolt to slot into.

11. Cut out bolt slot on door frame and fit metal plate surround

That it! I repeated this for the other doors

Conclusion

I’ve never fitted locks before but it’s really straightforward and I think anyone can do this at home. The locks all fit nicely and work smoothly. They are solid. I’m definitely going to feel better about leaving the van when parking in cities.

These locks feel really solid but hopefully the look of the extra lock faces on the outside of each door would be enough to deter most opportunist thieves in the city. If someone did want to get into the van they’d have to smash the window and climb through. That would be pretty annoying if you were trying to do it quickly.

So I cannot lose the key!

And for the fellow vanners: What do you do to secure what is your home? What do you think to these deadlocks? do you trust your factory locks? Any other ideas? comment!