This past week I was talking to a friend about trailer theft. He said, “I don’t know what to do. In the past, we would paint up the sides of the trailer to let everyone know what we did. We were, and are, proud of our drag racing accomplishments. Then, trailers started getting stolen so we took all the graphics off. Now, more and more trailers are getting stolen, and they all tend to look the same. You wouldn’t know yours if it passed you going down the highway. Now I am thinking of painting it back up again so if it is stolen, I can identify it. Lyle, what should I do?”
This is a tough situation. Trailer theft is definitely on the rise; thieves don’t seem to care if something is painted on the sides or not. And, this can get you into a very sticky situation with the state DPS. What I mean is, many states are starting to insist that those who pull a trailer, regardless of the size and if they have ANY type of advertising on the side, must carry a CDL drivers license.
At the very least, paint the roof of the trailer with some sort of large identifying marks such as the trailer license number which would be hard for the thief to remove. Then take a can of fluorescent paint, and paint an area on both the tongue and the rear frame of the trailer. While you are at it, paint a small circle, about 2″ in diameter, on each side of the trailer, out of the way. These are all marks that you would be able to recognize if necessary. Hopefully, the small circles would be small enough that a thief won’t consider them as identifying marks. If you choose to paint your racing stuff on the side, DO be careful.
Other things that can be done for theft prevention, whether for the trailer or the contents, are: good locks, alarms systems, and/or GPS tracking systems. The locks on the doors and tongue must be good. If you get cheesy padlocks, you’re asking for it! Even the big round locks are easy prey; thieves cut the swing-down hasp right behind the lock. The DL-80 lock is one of the best I have seen. These locks cover the entire hasp area of the locking mechanism, and are virtually indestructible. Again, place a good lock on the tongue of your trailer and lock your safety chains together to the tongue lock, as many trailers have been stolen by dragging the trailer down the road by the safety chains alone.
Alarms mounted on the trailers are great! These will and have thwarted off thieves by the droves. Many alarms have an LED to mount on the outside of the trailer to warn the crooks. If they decide to take it on, there are shock sensors that will set off the alarm if they try to knock the locks off. If you are also using a simple padlock, and the thief uses bolt cutters, the door sensors will activate the alarm. Many alarms also have optional motion sensors to place inside the trailer. But are these alarms just noisy horns like car alarms? NO! These alarms will flash the running lights on the trailer, sound a 120db siren, and lock the electric brakes on the trailer. There are also optional paging units to page you up to a mile away. These are good for those over-night stays at hotels/motels when you are on a trip. Don’t forget, many insurance companies offer discounts for their use.
Finally, GPS tracking systems are excellent for notification of theft as well as theft recovery. If you have your GPS activated, you can have it notify you when your alarm goes off, or if it goes beyond the geo-fence you set up. If the unit is not active, and you want to use it as a theft recovery device, you can do that as well. Again, contact your insurance company because you might get a break for using a theft recovery device. Regardless of what you do, do what you can. These are only suggestions; there is no 100% guarantee that your trailer won’t be stolen.
Keep yer stuff safe!