How to secure your van and its contents: van locks explained

How to secure your van and its contents: van locks explained

15 December 2021 | Kate Kozlowska | 10 min read

Often, vans are used by tradespeople and couriers and are stocked with expensive equipment hence may prove to be a more attractive target for thieves than cars.

So, what can you do to protect your van and its contents? 

One way to make your van less attractive to thieves is to install new van locks but with so many options available on the market, it can be confusing to choose the right one. In this article, we discuss how you can find the best locks for your van. 

Different types of van locks

To make your van more secure, you can get the following types of locks:

Van deadlock

Deadlock is a locking mechanism fitted to your van's door for an extra level of protection. Your van's security could be doubled with a van deadlock: due to the lack of a spring mechanism, the deadlocks are almost impossible to pick or force open. A key is usually the only way to open a deadlock. If the key is safe, the deadlock should be secure (make sure you don't accidentally lock yourself out though!).

Deadlocks use a separate mechanism from the rest of the van. Even if thieves manage to get past the van's original lock, the deadlock will prevent them from gaining access.

Van deadlocks cannot be unlocked from inside the vehicle either. Thus, a thief would have no chance of breaking a window from the inside and opening the van.

It costs around £130 to fit a deadlock to each van door, according to the Master Locksmiths Association. Prices may vary depending on where you are though. Before you commit, shop around and get quotes from a few locksmiths. 

Van slam lock

Slam locks differ from the deadlocks in that they don't require a key to lock them. Slam lock locks immediately after you shut the door, as its name suggests. It can only be unlocked with a key.

The slam lock replaces the function of the van's door handle. By turning the key, you can open the door without pulling on a handle.

For drivers who make a lot of drop-offs, like couriers, slam locks are usually the best choice. Having the ability to lock your van by simply closing the door could help you in keeping it secure while you're making numerous deliveries.

Slam locks can, however, be unlocked from the inside. 

Installation of a van slam lock may cost around £130, although the make and model of the lock you choose and the model of your van may influence the cost.

Van catalytic converter lock

The precious metals contained in catalytic converters help them break down pollutants. Unfortunately, these precious metals also attract thieves. 

Catloc is the most common type of catalytic converter lock. It's like a cage protecting the catalytic converter, making it difficult to remove. Catlocs were originally made for Toyota vehicles. However, they can now be used by many manufacturers.

An average catalytic converter lock costs around £120. To find out the cost of fitting, contact your local garage. 

Internal van locks

There are options for fitting locks inside your van if you're looking for extra security. They are sometimes referred to as mechanical immobilisers. 

Steering wheel locks and gear lever locks are the most common. These locking devices attach to the steering wheel or clamp the handbrake and gear stick together. 

The thief will have a hard time trying to steal your van even if they break in. 

Secure lockboxes

Lockboxes that bolt to your van's floor can be used to secure tools being transported in your vat n. You could use these secure storage boxes to keep your valuable tools safe when you can't take them out overnight. 

If you own expensive tools, you should also consider a tool cover.

Which is better, van deadlocks or slam locks?

Your choice of lock will depend on how you use your van.

A slam lock could be more suitable if you are a courier who makes frequent deliveries. This is due to a reduced risk of leaving the van unlocked. However, because slam locks are integrated with your existing locking mechanism, you have only one line of protection.

Deadlocks provide an additional layer of security that cannot be picked or unlocked from the inside, making them more secure. Over the years, deadlocks for vans have been thoroughly tested, so they are now incredibly reliable.

Van locks: Do they increase van safety?

Your van will be more difficult for thieves to steal if you install locks. It is common for thieves to seek easy targets so they may decide to not bother if they see your van is equipped with a decent lock.

Even a very determined thief may have difficulty breaking into your van if the lock is well made.

By installing locks at the right places in the van, you'll improve security both for the van itself and for any valuables inside. 

Is it true that van security locks will make my insurance cheaper? 

The cost of van insurance is determined by the risk involved. If your van is more likely to be stolen or broken into, your prices are higher. 

If you increase your van's security by adding a lock, you reduce the risk of theft and naturally expect your insurance to be cheaper. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Some insurance companies might consider installing new locks on your van to be a modification. This could result in higher insurance rates. It's always safer to consult your insurance company before making any significant changes to your van. 

Your van insurance premiums aren't solely determined by security though. Many factors are taken into account, including:

  • The type of van
  • How the van is used
  • Where you live
  • What you do for a living.

How to choose the best security locks for your van

Your choice of lock will depend on your van's model and make, where you keep it, and your budget. 

People who make frequent drops off their vehicles, such as delivery drivers, may prefer a slam lock; however, those who don't need frequent access to their vehicles may prefer a deadlock.

Is there anything else I can do to improve van safety?

Your van will be more secure if you install new locks. However, you can also take these steps to beef up security: 

Use an alarm system and immobiliser

Your van can be protected against theft with an engine immobiliser and alarm. A thief will have more difficulty starting your van without a key if they manage to break into it.

Use a UV pen to mark your tools

Theft of tools and high-value equipment is on the rise. By marking your possessions in this manner, the police can retrieve them if they are sold or found. 

Install a van tracker

A tracker could help police locate your van if it is stolen before it is disposed of. 

Can I install a van lock on a leased van?

Slam locks and deadlocks are becoming increasingly common van security features, and the good news is that we can supply and install them prior to delivery. 

As an alternative, you can arrange to have the lock installed yourself. We recommend using a manufacturer-approved installer. When returning the van at the end of your contract, you will not have to remove the locks - this would cause unnecessary damage to the vehicle. 

Do I have the option to install a tracker on my leased van?

Yes, you can install a tracker on your leased van. You can either include this option in your lease and spread the cost over the term of the lease or you can pay an upfront fee. 

We recommend you use a manufacturer-approved business if you want to add the tracker after you've taken delivery.


The latest van theft statistics paint an alarming picture for UK businesses whose operations are dependent upon their van and tools. Van locks are an excellent way of protecting your van and its contents. Contact us and we will be happy to discuss your vehicle security options when you lease a van with CVC.



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