Truck Thieves Target Parked and Locked Ford F250 & F350’s
Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And of course we're talking cars. How are you doing today, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing well.
Mark: So Ford trucks. Last week, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, which they do every year, announced the most stolen car list. So kind of stuck out. Out of the top ten, eight of them were Ford trucks. Why are Ford trucks being stolen so much?
Bernie: Yeah, this is awesome for Ford. I mean, they've got like 80% of the top 10. That's really not a very good thing. But the reason they were stolen, and there's very specific model years in that top 10 and they range from 2002 to 2007, their F250 and F350s. All of those vehicles do not have an immobilizer system. So you can basically go in there with some pliers or a screwdriver bang it in to ignition lock, give it a twist and truck is yours.
Mark: So there must be a lot of other older vehicles that don't have immobilizers, because that was something that was legislated later on in the 2000s. So why F250s and 350s?
Bernie: Excellent question. And I think the reason is probably mostly used for smash and grab theft, you know, the trucks are awesome. You steal the truck, of course you're not using your own vehicle for the theft. You're using something else. That makes two crimes. But you can go around with a truck and it's a big heavy duty beast. You can go bash, you know drive into say, a warehouse, just drive right through the front door, drive in, grab some stuff, take off, leave your merchandise, abandon the truck somewhere later. And of course, the truck is kind of used for the theft.
The other thing that I didn't mention, there's a top 50 list, and out of that top 50 list, 30% are Fords ranging from 1999 up to 2007. Interestingly enough, after 2007 there are none, which we'll talk about later. But you know, so if you have an F150 and you think, oh, no one's going to steal that, well they're there in the list too, they're just a little further down. But the heavier duty ones are, there's more appeal to those. And there might, yeah, there might be some parts stolen too as well.
Mark: So have you personally seen or repaired any stolen Ford trucks?
Bernie: Yeah, we actually, you know, we fix a wide variety of vehicles at our shop and Ford trucks are among one of our more popular vehicles, and we actually have had a couple of customers' vehicles stolen. We have a road behind our shop. It doesn't happen very often, but over a period of a few years, we've actually had a few Ford trucks stolen. And you know, they're easy to steal. Had a Ford van as well, where someone had, fortunately not stolen the vehicle, but they snuck into the vehicle and broke the ignition lock. I guess they got spooked or something because they never got away with the vehicle. But you know, this is, you know, it's obviously well known for thieves that these are easy vehicles to target. I'll say in one case, one of the trucks that was stolen was actually in for a head gasket job. It was a six litre truck and the owner wasn't too sad that it got stolen because it saved him, you know, he was committed to doing the job and it would be very expensive, but it's like, Oh, well, let's do bad, I'll just get another truck. So sometimes you know, thievery works out, but you know it still ends up costing us all money in the end cause the insurance company ended up paying for that vehicle.
Mark: So is there anything that a Ford truck owner can do to prevent this kind of easy theft?
Bernie: Well, there's definitely a couple of things you can do. So the first and the simplest thing you could do right now, you know, if you hear this and you don't have any theft prevention, you can get yourself a club. You could go to an auto parts store, you can buy a club. It's one of those pieces you stick on the steering wheel. Locks the steering wheel from moving. Or you can get ones that also lock the brake pedal to the steering wheel. You know, those are a bit of a pain in the butt because every time you get out, you've got to do it. But, you know, it shows that, hey, this vehicle is protected and it's going to make yours, it makes yours a harder vehicle to steal than the next one. Can those things be cut off? Sure they can, but it's, it's a lot of extra work. Thieves will have to take extra tools. So if there's two trucks sitting side by side, guess what? The one without the club is the one that's going to get stolen. So that's the easiest thing that you can do. You can order it online, you can go to an auto parts store. The second thing that's probably better, but more work and more cost is to get an alarm or an immobilizer installed. There's a wide range of these. Again, you could buy it online and do it yourself if you know what you're doing or take it you know, probably the best thing to do is find a reputable car audio place. Those are usually the places that do an installations of alarms, find a good one, get something put in, a good immobilizer, good alarm. You know it's a classic thing. You know, where alarms go off and people ignore them. But the thing is for a thief, once the alarm goes off, if it has no immobilizer, the vehicle won't start. It makes a lot of noise. And again, it makes it hard to steal. So those are kind of the two things you can do. And this doesn't apply just to a Ford truck. This applies to, to any vehicle, but you know, now that these are known to be, you know, high theft items, I mean, if you value your vehicle, you'll want to do something about it to protect it.
Mark: Is there any good news here for Ford truck owners?
Bernie: Well, the good news is if you have a Ford truck after 2008, they all have an immobilizer systems in them, so they don't even make the top 50 list after 2008. So you have an 08 and newer, you can rest easy because your vehicle has an immobilizer system in it. It doesn't mean it couldn't be stolen, but it's just not very likely.
Mark: So what other vehicles are in the top 10 and top 50?
Bernie: Well, there's only two other vehicles in the top 10 list. One is, I believe it's around the 2017 model year Lexus, the SUVs, the RX350-450 hybrids. Those are, I believe, number 7. I know these were stolen for different reasons. We're going to talk about this in a separate podcast. And then the other a in the top 10 is a 1998 Honda Civic SI model and again, different reasons for stealing those. That's kind of an old vehicle, it's a car, but they're specific reasons. So we'll do another couple of podcasts about this because they're again, they're things to talk about. Now, of course, those Lexus vehicles, they already have immobilizers and high tech security systems. So why they get stolen, we're going to talk about that. It's a different subject.
Mark: And what about other vehicles in the top 50?
Bernie: You know, a lot of them, a lot of them are, Honda's a huge, a huge number are Honda's. I'll just give it away right now. There are a lot of them are older ones. They have a certain engine that people like. So these are stolen basically for the engine, that people can put into for hot rodding other Honda's. I'd say that's the main reason and the others on the list are a luxury SUVs, there's a lot of Lexus, there's some Toyota Highlanders and Range Rovers. Range Rover Sport are in there too so.
Mark: And what about protecting your key fob because key fob cloning is a thing. What about, is that something that's worth doing?
Bernie: Absolutely you know, this is actually only something that's sort of come to my attention recently over the last couple of weeks, I think since these articles have come out and people been talking to me about it. And the one thing I can say, and we're going to do a little more research on this, but they say, never keep it close to your door because, there's a way that thieves can actually, with electronic systems, can actually clone your key fob and then they can actually start your vehicle and take it, which is probably how these Lexus vehicles are being stolen. But also, you know, any vehicle that has a key fob when you're, when you're walking away say, in a supermarket parking lot, you walk away, you lock the car with the key fob. There are ways that that key fob can be cloned and then people can break into the vehicle and steal things and then of course, eventually steal the vehicle. So it, what's recommended is to actually use the manual lock button in the vehicle when you're walking away. That way he doesn't send a radio signal out. That's not, I don't know if that's possible to do with every single vehicle, but if you're able to do it, I mean, I have an older Suburban and you know, that has a, I’ll walk away with the fob, but I usually just lock it with the lock button. And that sets a security system off and everything too. So if you're able to do that, that's a, that's something, and that's been talked about for many, many years that, you know, so that's one thing I just leave you with, but we'll do more research on this.
Mark: What we can do to protect ourselves from being cloned.
Bernie: Yes, exactly. That's right. Well, it's you know, they make cars more difficult to steal, which is awesome. But, you know that just ups the game for a smart thieves.
Mark: So there you go. If you have a Ford truck and you want to get some advice about making sure it's hardened up a little bit, to not be such an attractive target, give Pawlik Automotive a call 604-327-7112.Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com hundreds of articles on there. Pawlik Auto Repair is the YouTube channel. Thanks for much for so much for watching. Give us a like, rate us on YouTube or on iTunes. Thanks so much for watching us on YouTube and thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. It's always a pleasure.