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Tailgate theft: pickup drivers beware

Pickup drivers beware. Tailgate theft is more common than you think.

Tailgates are easily removable from trucks and allow thieves to run off in seconds before any one notices they are gone. Tailgates are also not cheap to replace. Depending on your vehicle, the tailgates can cost upwards of $3,000 which is what makes the gates so attractive to auto parts thieves.

The goal of the HEAT program is to educate individuals on how to effectively prevent auto theft. This includes the stealing of car parts, like tailgates, and so it is important for citizens to know what to look for and how to deter this from happening.

What is tailgate theft?

Tailgate theft is the removal of a truck’s gate from the back of the truck bed. It is not hard to remove and has become a commonly stolen car part. Not only is it easy to steal, but it is expensive to replace. The tailgate is also not identifiable by a VIN or identification number as it is not marked on the gate part making the recovery process nearly impossible.

How does tailgate theft occur?

Tailgate theft can occur in almost any place a truck is parked, from a private driveway to a dealership lot. Auto parts thieves will scope out vehicles that have a tailgate and will determine if it can be easily removed without anyone noticing. The gate is then taken off of the truck and removed from the property.

Once a thief has stolen the tailgate, they are likely to resell the part as it retrieves a high resale value. Common places that stolen tailgates have been sold are EBay and Craigslist. Thieves will also sometimes sell the gate as scrap metal, depending on the condition of the part. A buyer has no way of knowing if they are buying a stolen tailgate as there is no type of identification printed on the car part.

How can you avoid having your tailgate stolen?

There are easy ways to prevent your tailgate from being stolen. The first is to simply park your truck in a garage if possible or to back the truck against a building wall to limit access to the tailgate.

Another way to prevent this theft is to buy a tailgate lock that will secure the gate part. There are multiple types of locks and keys that you can choose from all based on your make and model of truck. The lock will make the gate harder to remove from the truck, in turn making it harder for thieves to steal.

Lastly, you can choose to have your VIN number etched onto the tailgate. By doing this, it ensures that even if your tailgate is stolen, it is possible for it to be recovered and identified. Whichever prevention measure you choose, it is always important to be cognizant of your surroundings and to always check your vehicle for possible signs of auto part theft.