While travelling in the Third World countries, vehicle security cannot be neglected. Initially, I added some simple security features to my Jeep and I hopped everything will be fine. It turned out that thieves broke into the car without any problem. I thought that car alarm and tinted windows would deter them. It was a costly lesson. I learned brutally, how wrong I was. After the robbery in Mexico, I realized that my expedition vehicle required more sophisticated security protection. I need to be better prepared against those who would trying to break-in and steal my belongings or the worst, the car theft.
In Puebla, Mexico, thieves broke into our car. They did not need to break the window. It was enough to force the lock key cylinder to open. I do not know what tool they used, but without a key, they quickly opened the rear gate! All our belongings were stolen, leaving our car almost completely empty inside. That incident proved that door key locks provide no protection and are an easy way to get access into the car for everyone.
This is a simple car alarm with motion sensor and keyless access. I am not always happy with it. When traveling, some insects get into the cabin causing motion sensor to activate and trigger false alarms. Based on my experience, car alarm does not protect well against thieves.
What is car alarm worth when anybody can open a hood and disconnect the battery? The hood lock is necessarily. I mounted a Mopar lock because it is designed to use the ignition key. There is no need to carry a bunch of keys.
Locking Gas Cap
Jeep Wrangler comes without a locking gas cap. Somewhere in Mexico, I noticed the other Jeep parked next to my, that had cap open. I realized that I should do something to prevent that from happening. Kids can steal a cap or throw something inside a tank. Other may try to steal my gasoline. Gas cap that uses the ignition key was the one installed. It is not a “bullet proof” protection, but at least it should stop unexperienced thieves.
I changed all rear door and rear liftgate glass for tinted versions. They reflect light making it hard to look inside, especially when they are dust covered. Do not be fooled. Tinted windows will not stop thieves to break-in to your vehicle. They know that whatever they find in the foreign car is a valuable reward.
In order to protect wheels and tires from theft I replaced one of the lugs in each wheel for strong Gorilla wheel locks. This is a well-known security protection feature. Only special key tool allows installation and removal of the wheel that includes the spare one hanging on the rear gate.
Door Security Bolts
Doors in Jeep Wrangler are easy to remove by design. Some people do drive without doors. This is a cool feature, but also allows thieves to walk away with my doors. Actually, doors can be removed only in the open position. Closed and locked doors are relatively safe. Anyway, I decided to use door anti-theft bolts that replaced the lower hinge nuts. Like locking wheel lugs, McGard security nuts can only be removed using a special key.
Anti-theft car battery protection
In developed countries, it is not common to have a car battery stolen. However, this is sometimes the case in Third World countries. Actually, it can happen anywhere. To secure the battery, a locked bracket is the best solution. I had dual battery full metal tray already installed. In this solution, a top bracket bolted on each side using threaded rods holds down both batteries. The problem is that a traditional wrench easily unscrews these nuts. In this case, additional unconventional nuts are an effective solution. To complicate the battery protection, I installed an additional screw on each side of the existing bracket. I also made an additional two small, thick metal buckles. Each of them has two holes to apply them on the top to the vertical rod and an additional screw at the same time. The security nut holds down my custom bracket so that it cannot be dismantled. In this configuration, in order to take batteries out, I need to unscrew two security nuts first. However, it can be done using an encrypted key only. Without it, it is almost impossible to remove ICI 40M6-N safety nuts. Traditional wrenches, or even pliers, are useless.
After Mexico robbery, I realized that the key access using door locks is a weak point in my vehicle security. Door hasp and additional locks would be of a solution to improve protection, but I came up with another idea. I already had power locks installed in all the doors. I disabled all key cylinders in doors by removing a links between cylinders and latches. Now, it is physically impossible to open the door using a key, or by forcing the lock key cylinder. This is because there is no link to the latch present. The only way to open a car is using keyless remote control. What if I lose the remote? It is the same like losing a key, isnt it?
More sophisticated security protection
I am working on additional protection. It has to be completed before our next trip to Central America.