CRA Motoring & Public Safety News – South Africa

Statistics from the short-term insurance industry suggests that petty theft of various kinds is on the up. One of the perceived easy targets is the faithful spare, a high-value item which can be liberated in seconds if not fitted with a proper anti-theft device. 

With a 17- or 18-inch tyre an alloy rim the default size and with a replacement value sometimes in the five-digit territory, leaving it unprotected is unwise. Manuel Reis, managing director of mechanical anti-theft specialists, Grip-Tech, says the problem doesn’t end with the financial loss however: “In most instances, drivers of bakkies don’t even realise the spare is gone until they need it. That occasion will in most instances already be an emergency – or at the very least an inconvenience, along with the loss of a no-claim bonus.”

Underslung spares are normally secured with a cable or chain arrangement, a crank handle then used to lower it to the ground. Thieves simply cut the cable or break the chain and the wheel drops free. Few manufacturers fit a suitably robust locking device as standard and an aftermarket product is a must-have rather than a nice-to-have, says Reis, a mechanical engineer who has specialised in wheel protection solutions for more than two decades. “We’ve recently added to our Auto-Grip Anti-Theft range and now offer products for virtually every light commercial vehicle manufactured in South Africa and many of their SUV derivatives. We’re always keen to work with OEMs and distributors to come up with the answer to a specific problem. For example, we’ve recently added a device for the Mahindra Pik-Up and made changes to the locks for Isuzu and Nissan.”

Reis says the reason for Grip-Tech’s ongoing success in the marketplace is a combination of sound engineering principals, quality materials, tight production control and simplicity. This is combined with design innovation in coming up with the largest possible number of “key” combinations.