Many reports are now emerging about the growing trend of Defender door and bonnet thefts. Police forces up and down the country are getting regular reports of these items going missing overnight from owner’s beloved vehicles. The problem for owners is the ease of removal by the perpetrators. Quick use of a cordless drill with a posi-drive bit on the hinge bolts and they are off and away.
The growing figures are being put down to several reasons;
i, the age of the original parts are now rotting away and need replacing.
ii, the cost of the replacement parts to buy.
iii, high demand for these parts on the second hand market.
The Defender vehicle itself has been a target for theft for many years now due to their popularity and constant demand for second hand parts to keep them on the road. Unscrupulous parts dealers have always rated them highly for their component stripping profits, more so than the complete vehicle value.
As one Defender door retails at a several hundred pounds for a referb and no option for a new one, four or five can prove very costly and prohibitive for many, leaving the second hand market as the only option. With second hand parts there is little or no chance of knowing the history of the components, they are readily available on online auction sites, forums and breakers, again you cannot prove or check the genuine sellers from the shady ones.
There are companies out there who have spotted the niche in the market and now supply repair kits for doors, a new company has also started to produce GRP (fibre glass) Defender doors, a great answer to the corrosion problem, but not to the theft issues.
So how can you protect your Defender’s assets? We have spoken to a few people in the components industry and as yet no one as yet has a “real fix” for the problem, although a few are aware and looking into the issue. We have however been given a few DIY tips that will make it very difficult for the thieves to get what they want without making some serious noise or spending time on the vehicle.
Our tips below offer a deterrent that will hopefully make the culprits walk away leaving your pride and joy intact.
A, Spot Welding.
On the inside of your bonnet and the door mounting bolts, spot weld the bolts to the captured nuts. A simple job to complete, but obviously will need grinding off if you need to remove them for future works.
B, Body Filler.
Filling the screw heads on the outside of the panels with body filler and a touch of paint, will create a time consuming operation for the thief to dig-out the filler. Time is not on the culprit’s side, but you will have a few minutes in daylight to remove the filler if you need to remove the items for repairs.
C, Hex Head Bolts.
Change over your mounting bolts to hex head’s then knock in a small cap or ball bearing to block the access for a removal tool. The cap or ball bearing can then be drilled out if you need future removal.
Hopefully some of the above tips may be considered useful to you and worth implementing, a few minutes extra work is a much cheaper price to pay than a set of doors or a bonnet.
If you have any other simple security tips that you think are worth mentioning, please leave a comment below to advise other Defender owners.