Doubts concerning the efficacy of electronic alarms fitted to certain brands have resulted in an upswing in demand for more traditional security systems, specifically those which operate on a mechanical principle. That’s according to Manuel Reis, managing director of Grip-Tech, a company which manufactures the Auto-Grip range of locking security devices.
“Vehicle-related crime continues to be a massive headache and cost-contributor for South African motorists and traditional insurance is only a partial remedy,” says Reis, a mechanical engineer who has developed and patented many devices under the Auto-Grip banner over the last three decades. “Even if you are comprehensively insured, theft of a vehicle is seldom a zero-loss event - the inconvenience factor is huge, not to mention the excess payment,” he points out. “That’s why, even if you can’t stop them getting into the car and starting it, making it difficult for thieves to actually drive off is a real deterrent. They’ll often simply go look for a softer target.”
Reis recommends that consumers build layers of protection - make sure that the alarm is activated and the car locked. Most importantly, install a gear lock which locks the gearlever in reverse (or Park in the case of an automatic).
With their high-security locks and coded key, Auto-Grip products can generally only be overcome by destroying the gearshift mechanism, to enable a forward gear to be selected.
In addition to gearlever locks for most popular vehicles, Grip-Tech also manufactures a range of reinforced, high-quality spare wheel locks. Theft of “underslung” spare wheels from – in particular - light commercial vehicles, has reached epidemic proportions and the problem is compounded by the loss often only being discovered when the spare is needed.
“The pick-up spare has become a favourite target and you don’t need to talk to many double cab owners until you find one who has had theirs taken,” says Reis. “The spare of a premium 4x4 bakkie is usually a specialised tyre on an alloy rim so it’s a high-value item. We can make removing the spare a much tougher proposition – if you don’t have a key for the lock.”
Which brings us to the third channel which Auto-Grip serves: locking wheel nuts – not only for light vehicles but also for medium and heavy trucks. Once again, wheels and tyres are an attractive proposition and the theft thereof has become rife in the transport/logistics sector. A truck wheel and tyre combination can easily exceed R25 000 and the thieves specialising in this sector have proved to be violently ruthless.
“We launched our GTX range of locking wheel nuts for trucks at the beginning of the year and the exceptional security level they provide is making them highly sought after,” says Reis. “Removing it from a wheel stud is not something which can be achieved easily without power tools and plenty of time.”
There are over 10 000 lock nut ‘keys’ and without the right one, the nut is virtually impossible to remove.
Concludes Reis: “The common thread with our products; whether talking wheel, spare wheel, or gear locks, is that they represent exceptional value as an affordable form of insurance against theft. Because they’re of superior quality they’re capable of warding off the most determined attacks and are designed to provide reliable service and trouble-free operation for many years.”
Motorists can purchase Auto-Grip products online at www.auto-grip.co.za.