Leave This Truck Alone

A two-tier system to keep your rig safe and secure.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Four-wheel-drive pickups and sport-utilities are prime targets for theft. Outdoorsmen's rigs are especially attractive because they're often parked in remote locations. Besides locking the doors and taking the keys-something that a surprising number of people still don't do-hunters and fishermen need to set up a line of defense for their vehicles.

Forget about expensive, high-tech alarms and locks. A pro can disarm the most sophisticated lock in seconds, and what good is an alarm when you're hunting or fishing miles from your truck?

Thieves are like predators anywhere-they'll go for easy pickings first. If you can erect a series of security barriers, a thief will most likely move on to another target. The best approach is a two-tier plan that both protects the vehicle and safeguards components. The basic elements are inexpensive and simple to install.

** Immobilize It **
The first tier is vehicle immobilization via an ignition cutoff switch. Unfortunately, most switches-made to be situated under the dashboard-are easily found. And many can't handle the rigors of offroad use.

The product that has worked best for me over the years is the Little Switch, from Flaming River ($30; 800-648-8022; www.flaming-river.com). You splice this heavy-duty device into the truck's electrical system. When activated, it completely disconnects the system from the battery and essentially turns the truck into a 6,000-pound doorstop. Its special feature is a removable key that you take with you. Even if the thief locates the switch, he can't deactivate it.

**Lock It Up **
The second tier of protection can help keep such expensive and much-in-demand components as spare tires, wheels, and pickup tailgates from being ripped off. Locks from McGard (starting at $20; 716-662-8980; www.mcgard.com) are made just for this purpose, from a high-strength steel alloy that resists tampering.

The "key" to each is a computer-designed puzzle lock. Every wheel gets one lock (in place of a lug nut). Similar mechanisms can protect both outside-mounted and underbody spares, and keep the tailgate from being lifted out of the bed. Going this route delivers good security at a reasonable cost. Just make sure you don't lose the keys.