Some criminals are making a pretty good living stealing full-size pickup truck tailgates and selling them to less reputable repair shops for big money. The theft strategy seems to vary quite a bit by region, but several suburban newspapers have reported as many as six tailgate thefts per month. Local truck owners, in some cases, have taken to securing their trucks in locked garages or backing them up tight against building walls.
Depending on the make of your pickup, replacement costs alone for a basic full-size truck tailgate, in extreme cases, can cost thousands of dollars. Once you price out all the sheet metal, hinges and separate parts that each need to be ordered individually, things add up quickly. Of course, you may want to get it painted at a body shop as well. That's more money. And if your tailgate had a camera or a tailgate step, you can figure on double whatever number was in your head.
It's worth it to be careful, but there are other choices as well. In some cases, you can buy a replacement locking latch mechanism to replace the factory one without a keyed lock, but not all pickup trucks offer the option. An easier precautionary measure might be buying an inexpensive tailgate lock like the one offered by McGard (pictured above). Something like this costs around $20 and is easy to install. Of course, there are all sorts of choices that vary in price and complexity that may better serve your specific needs.
We'll be at SEMA in Las Vegas next week, so we'll keep one eye open for all sorts of clever problem solvers, like the tailgate lock, to bring to your attention. Stay tuned.