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Old 11 Dec 2006
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Using wheel boots to protect car

Long time reader of HU, but first time poster...

I am planning a trip into Central America this coming summer with my two sons. I have read enough to have a reasonable concern about vehicle safety, particularly theft. I have a relatively new Nissan Xterra that I am not interested in donating to someone else.

Have any of you used or thought of using wheel boots such as those used in law enforcement to prevent an owner from moving their car? What other devices are the best to prevent theft in risky areas? Is the best advice just to park in guarded lots?

Thanks for any advice you may have.
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Old 12 Dec 2006
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Hi GreanBean,
firstly welcome to the HUBB,
for overlanding I use a steering wheel disclock if im parked up somewhere in a city and cant find decent parking or someone to look after the vehicle - though in CA the vehicle is more likely to get broken into than stolen.
Also a good idea is to fit a vehicle safe and obviously keep any valuables tucked well out of site or locked away - tinting the vehicles rear glass is also a good idea too.
You will normally find secure parking most places you go and Id suggest you use it for CA - I never had any problems in the smaller villages - mainly towns and cities where you have to watch it more - the more popular areas of the Yucatan and Guatamala especially.
- alot of the Posadas/hotels will have a courtyard to park in - if not, ask around and get your vehicle off the street - if theres no other vehicles around or theyve been moved as it gets dark - dont park there - it means theft is a problem.
Also try not to take anything you cant afford to lose - use old gear and clothing, dont take loads of expensive electronics,- get into a routine with your security, dont wash your 4x4 much and keep it nice and messy inside - it will look more like a local truck.....

CA is a great place - enjoy the topes !!!

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Old 12 Dec 2006
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I would avoid an imobiliser because of reliability problems, you don't want to immobilise yourself!! a mechanical battery isolator or fuel cut off is more useful. bear in mind that car jacking is an easier way for criminals to nick a well protected motor so lock your doors when you are drivng in town and keep phones, GPS etc well out of reach, my mate had his snatched from it's dash mount while he was sitting at traffic lights. this is why I drive a motor that looks like an old shed with dents and a coathanger as an aerial, it also keeps border and police 'fees' down!!
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Old 15 Dec 2006
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Thanks for your thoughts...

Thanks for your thoughts. I looked more into the options you listed and think that the fuel cutoff or battery cutoff might be the best options.
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Old 15 Dec 2006
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Good idea's

Good idea's guys

the master red handle - worked for me and several friends - despite several theft attempts on firnds 110.

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Old 19 Dec 2006
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Smile alternative

I once met a guy who had his steering wheel bolted on with lots of grease, and then held with a split pin. Took him less than 20 seconds to remove the pin, spin the bolt and take the steering wheel off!

Try stealing that!

BUT, do make sure that it cannot come off when you are driving!


PS I guess only possible on older 4x4s where the wheel isn't also airbag/stereo control etc. etc.
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Old 20 Dec 2006
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Most of the steeringwheel-locks are very flimsy except for the big discs covering most part of the wheel (which are heavy and clumsy when not in use). Stay clear of the gadgets connecting one pedal with steeringwheel and the sticktypes wich try to prevent turning the wheel, most steering wheels are easy to saw through (bend a bit and you slide the lock of the wheel), same goes for some of the ones connecting gearlever with handbreak (gearlevers can be sawn through or even just turn the knob of the lever and you can take the lock off). Best models are the big discs with a stick to prevent steering, and the ones which locks two pedals together (preventing the pedals can be pressed). Apart from the model the lock itself is off corse the most important factor. One of the benefits of this kind of locks is their psychologic factor, you can see them in plain sight alarming uninvited chauffeurs in flashy colors.
As others stated stay clear of electronic immobilisers especially aftermarket types. Although if it's already there you can use it but try to figure out how it works/behave after a powercut/reset and incase of damaging/drawning or loosing the radiobutton. This can involve a hilarious ritual of opening doors an turning on/off the contactkey a few times in a specific order and duration, at least on the one I've got. Try picturing that on a crowded marketplace while sirens are deafening you and all the lights are blinking.
A mechanical immobiliser is the way to go, as said before a main powerswitch or a fuelline valve, or some secret switch tucked away in dashboard instead of contactkey for starting the engine. You can think of something.

BTW if someone wonders how I get this info , I invested some time in this after my old HJ60 had some attention wrecking the doorlocks one by one (good locks!) in the streets in my hometown.

Originally Posted by Sam Rutherford
I once met a guy who had his steering wheel bolted on with lots of grease, and then held with a split pin. Took him less than 20 seconds to remove the pin, spin the bolt and take the steering wheel off!
Great idea, but somehow I cannot see myself walking around town with my steeringwheel in one hand...

bart & sophie
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