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Why Deadlocks are critical for Your Van to Keep You Safe and Sound

It can be disconcerting to think that something as small as a deadlock on your van could be the difference between a safe and secure journey or a disaster. And yet, this small but crucial piece of hardware is essential in keeping your van and possessions safe and sound. Deadlocks are an inexpensive and simple way to provide an additional level of security for your van, and can be easily installed by most professional auto locksmiths. With a deadlock in place, you can rest assured knowing that your van is protected from intruders and any items inside the vehicle are safe from theft. When it comes to safeguarding your van and tools, deadlocks are a critical component for your peace of mind. With just a quick installation, you can enjoy greater security and peace of mind, knowing that your van is well-protected.

Benefits of installing deadlocks

Deadlocks, and in particular hook style deadlock are commonly used on cab doors, but they are also a great addition to the load area on the back of your van. With a deadlock installed, you can rest assured knowing that your van is protected from intruders and any items inside the vehicle are safe from theft. Deadlocks are also visually appearing compared to many other unsightly externally fitted van security locks. Generally the lock casing is skilfully installed into the frame of the van door and all you see is a euro cylinder on the outside with a neat black or silver escutcheon plate surrounding it. Deadlocks are such a simple way to increase your security and protect your belongings.

Features to consider when selecting deadlocks

- Strength - The strength of the deadlock determines how easy it is to break into your van. We only use top brands such as Locks4Vans, Van Guard and TVL. All British made.

- Design - The design of the deadlock will depend on the type of van you have. There are different types of van doors, so make sure the deadlock you choose will fit your van door.

- Installation - The deadlock can be installed yourself. However this is not recommended unless you have previous experience. Employing a professional to do the job may not be as expensive as you think. Every van is different and a professional will have a wealth of knowledge to make sure the lock is fitted correctly with the right tolerances. They will also treat any cut metal surfaces to prevent corrosion and often other warranties. An install that may only take them an hour could take you considerably longer and the finish will not be as good.

Different types of deadlocks

There are two common types of deadlocks: straight bar and hook. Deadlocks can only be locked or unlocked using a key. The user decided when to lock them as they can not lock automatically when the door is closed. On a van additional deadlocks are completely separate to the existing manufacturer's locks. Standard deadlocks work by throwing the bolt into a receiver, fitted into the opposing body section. Hook deadlocks work in the same way except the hook latches over a receiver so if attacked it is more secure.

How to install deadlocks

Deadlocks should be installed by a professional locksmith or someone with experience installing hardware on a van door. Deadlocks are usually installed on the inside of the van door. Ideally on the load area deadlocks are installed in the high positions to reduce the risk of peel down attacks. However depending of the type of van, any graphics your van has and any glazed sections it may be advisable to install them lower down in alternative positions. Choose a location that is easy for you to reach and where it will not be obstructed. If in doubt speak to a professional with the experience who can advise you accordingly.

Start by drilling the appropriate-sized hole in the van door for the deadlock casing. Check the instructions for your specific model of van and make sure you use the correct tools. Once the aperture is cut you can insert the lock casing and mark the hole to cut out for the cylinder. Once that is cut it is advisable to put it together and temporarily hold it all in place with self tapping screws. You can then move on to marking out and cutting the hole for the lock to throw into on the opposing body work section where the receiver/keep goes. Once you are happy and everything lines up and all the tolerances are correct, all bare metal surfaces MUST be treated appropriately to prevent rust in the future. Only then can the complete assembly be riveted into place with stainless steel rivets.

It may sound easy but here are some other points a professional lock fitter also considers when fitting a deadlock:

- Door Alignment - Often on older vans but even on some new ones, the doors are not align correctly or the door may have dropped. Side doors often sit further forward leaving bigger gaps between the door and the rear section. It may not look much but the lock might need an extra spacer or the receiver may need dressing out slightly or the door may need adjusting. Are you able to do that?

- Graphics & Sign Writing - Although deadlocks often come with instructions, if you van has graphics on and the cylinder will cut through vital lettering or a telephone number, would you have the experience and know how to fit the lock high up or lower down on the van?

- Structure of the Van - Modern vans have so many angles and curves on them nowadays. Nothing is 90 degrees! This means that often the cylinders, particularly on side doors, come out at angles which may mean you need to modify the escutcheon plate to take account of the angle. An experience fitter will know what to do, and in some cases will be able to fit the lock as such so the cylinder comes out the side of the van at less of and angle or straight in some cases.

- Rust Prevention - TheVanLockMan and hopefully other experienced fitters will always treat every cut bare metal surface with an appropriate treatment such as waxoyl or paint. We go above and beyond and also silicon (using marine grade silicon) around cylinders and lock casings to prevent any water ingress and protect your van against corrosion.

- Cylinder Alignment - TheVanLockMan has seen it numerous times, a cylinder that sticks out way too far or doesn't come out perpendicular to panel. TheVanLockMan knows when to fit lock cases further into the door panel and how to align the cylinders correctly. Years of experience helps to achieve this.

Care and maintenance of deadlocks

Although deadlocks are a great way to protect your belongings and keep your van secure, they need regular maintainence. Make sure to clean any dirt or dust off the outside of the van door regularly to prevent any buildup. Lock manufacturers advised lubricating them once a month using a PTFE based spray. GT85 Spray is one brand you can use. Under no circumstances use WD40. Everyone loves the stuff but it is no good for lubricating locks. On a regular basis you can also clean your keys, particularly if you have dimpled keys.

Common van deadlock problems and solutions

If the deadbolt inside the door won’t slide or throw, clean the area and apply a little bit of lubricant to the bolt or hook. If the key is not going in or rotating properly, apply lots of PTFE spray into the keyway using the straw on the spray can. Work the key in and out numerous times to make sure any dirt and grit is cleaned out. Don't forget to wipe the van down after.

If you are having to lean on the door to get the deadlock to lock or it won't completely throw properly, your door has probably moved or dropped slightly. It is easy to adjust the door so call the TheVanLockMan to explain how.


Deadlocks are a great investment for the safety of your vehicle. This type of lock is used on the rear doors and/or the cab doors of vans. Deadlocks are a great way to protect your belongings, tools, your livelihood, even you if your want them on your camper van! Installing a deadlock will add an extra layer of security for your vehicle and acts as a great visual deterrent.


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