Pimp your ride … secure your gear

by Jake Poinier

8-DECKED_Painter 02_150There’s an old saying among locksmiths that, “Locks keep honest people from stealing.” In the trades—carrying thousands of dollars worth of gear in the back of your truck—you want to do everything in your power to not just keep honest people honest, but to deter savvier thieves from targeting you. The following roundup offers some ideas that will help you accomplish that.

Truck toolboxes

A sturdy aluminum or steel cross-bed, rail-top or side-mount toolbox not only serves to improve your organization and protect your gear from weather and travel damage, it offers piece of mind that your tools will stay where you left them. There are a number of considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right box for your vehicle.

Latch security: Whether your system uses a keyed internal lock or external padlock, this is arguably the most important item on your checklist. Manufacturers take different approaches, such as the Dee Zee, Inc. Padlock Crossover Tool Box, which has a patented slide that surrounds heavy-duty striker bolts to keep the lid closed with a single moving part—and the padlock is nested to prevent access by bolt cutters. The majority of Northern Tool + Equipment’s truck boxes use a two-stage rotary system lock with a self-adjusting pin to prevent it from shifting out of alignment.

Hinge type: The heavier duty the hinges, the better. For the best protection against break-ins, consider a piano hinge, which runs the full length of the box.

Installation: When loaded, even the lightest truck box is heavy enough to make it a challenge to steal. Most use a clamping system to secure the box to the vehicle, but for an extra thief-proofing measure, drill it directly into the truck.

Bed systems

DECKED offers a full-bed system that provides security as well as organization. Two ergonomic drawers, which measure 8-1/2 inches tall and hold 200 pounds each, slide in and out of the 100% recycled HDPE top deck, which is molded around a steel subframe and can handle a 2,000 pounds checklist in addition to foiling would-be criminals. The drawers can be outfitted with an accessory lock kit, although the DECKED unit fits snugly enough into most pickups so that the tailgate prevents opening them more than a few inches.


Security isn’t limited to old-fashioned key or combination locks anymore. Here are a few unique or purpose-built options to consider:

BOLT Series Padlocks are the ultimate in convenience, since they ‘learn’ the pattern of your truck ignition key. They feature a 5/16-inch-diameter hardened steel shackle and a 6-plate tumbler sidebar to prevent picking and bumping.

Master Lock Steel Truck Bed U-Locks fit most late-model, full-size pickup trucks. The lock slides into the stake hole pocket or tie-down locations in the truck bed, and can be used with chains or double-looped cables.

Master Lock Ladder Locks mount on a wide variety of square, round, and rectangular ladder racks to secure a ladder or other cargo.

For more on how truck boxes and other systems can help you improve your efficiency and security, read the expanded feature article in the August/September 2015 issue of inPAINT magazine:

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