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Securing a Mercedes Sprinter Van from Theft – My Experience

So this article is a bit random, but I recently, and naively purchased a Mercedes Sprinter van, secured it like fort knox, and thought I’d share the experience…

Prior to buying the van I’d never thought about vehicle security. It was only after, that I learnt vans are regularly being stolen around the local area.

Not wanting to part ways with the van so soon, I decided to figure out how to secure it from theft.

The first idea I had was to put a steering lock on it, similar to below:

Partly as a visual deterrent, but also partly to actually deter thieves.

The idea with these steering locks is that the long part catches on the window shield or door as the thief is trying to steer, blocking the wheel from steering.

This works on cars and some vans, but on mine there wasn’t anywhere for it to catch.

After reading more on Facebook groups, I came across this design instead:

These work by making it hard to turn the wheel.

When you try to turn it, the disklock slides independently, and it could make driving quite dangerous.

Bought it, tested it, and it works well ✅

My next idea was to lock down the van’s pedals, so that they couldn’t be accessed without cutting something.

My initial thought was to use something like this:

You place it around the brake pedal, and it prevents the break from being pressed.

However, with an electric saw, it’s perhaps slightly weak.

So then I came across this (UK product) alternative:

Which fully covers the pedals, and then hides the lock behind it:

Here’s an example image (from their listing) that shows how it protected someone’s van from theft:

This unit fitted well, and I plan to use it when I’ll be away from the van for longer periods of time ✅

The next step I took was to get a metal cage put around the ignition unit. This was based upon discussions online and with people in person, about the Mercedes Sprinter’s weakness. Specifically 2006 to 2018 models.

Apparently thieves can break in to the vehicle and quickly access the ignition unit.

They can then either:

  1. Steal it, extract the codes, make a key, then return, fit it, and drive off.
  2. Remove it, add their own ignition unit, and then drive off.

The metal cage (link) looks like this:

And then when installed, looks like:

I had it professionally installed, and it looks like it should do the trick! ✅

The last step was to get a system called the Starline S9, which provides:

  • Alarm system
  • Tracker
  • Immobilizer

The immobilizer works via key fobs, and then the all 3 can be controlled via an app you have on your phone.

It’s quite an expensive unit, and currently I’m still getting to grips with it.

In retrospect, I might have instead gone for just an immobilizer, and then bought my own (cheap) tracker, like the TK905B.

Overall it would have been simpler and less costly.

Downsides would have been the lack of a comprehensive alarm system, and a tracker that wires into the battery, so you don’t need to worry so much about the battery life.

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