We are fortunate enough to have a couple of trailers to haul around our cars. The first is the standard open hauler with a winch. It is my first go to trailer for hauling a car. Open trailers are much easier to load, strap down and pull than an enclosed trailer. I have found they are also much easier on gas as well. The down side is they don’t provide any protection for the car being hauled. I use it mostly for tows involving project cars and typical driver quality. Putting anything very nice on an open trailer and then spending the night at a motel is a great way to not get any sleep! I am always afraid some one is messing with the car or helping themselves to some of the easy to remove parts.
My second trailer is an enclosed box trailer that I purchased used. My intent was to use this less often because of its size and the extra effort it takes to load a car and the reduced fuel mileage due to the added wind resistance and increased weight. I thought the trade off would be for the increased protection and security provided by the enclosed and locked box. I was wrong, even with the added disadvantages I now use the enclosed trailer most often. Other benefits of hauling my car in an enclosed trailer:
- it is like having a portable garage that not only keeps my car somewhat secure from thieves and vandals, it also protects it from the weather and road debris. This is a major advantage when hauling to a show long distance.
- it also gives me a relatively secure place to store extra parts, tools, and cleaning supplies.
- it is also much easier to haul a load of engines, boxes of small parts or fenders, doors and other body parts in an enclosed trailer.
When we arrive at our destination the car is certainly cleaner and more secure in the enclosed trailer. However, recently I have been thinking about the best way to keep the car and trailer safe from potential thieves. I have added all of the appropriate hitch locks and padlocks to the rear ramp.
My newest concern is with the paint color on the enclosed trailer. I have heard of these trailers being stolen out of motel parking lots with the treasured car inside. Which is better?
- Is a plain color (typically white, black or red) enclosed trailer that does not advertise a classic car is inside but is nearly invisible to police on the interstate highways and city streets better;
- or, is a trailer with logos and/or graphic paint schemes that scream expensive car inside but is highly visible to police on the interstate and city streets better;
- or, is something in between better; one with graphics but no indication of what is inside?
I have never seen any studies on this issue but I did talk with Carl Sharpe a car guy and insurance agent for his thoughts.
In his opinion, a plain trailer is much easier for a thief to peddle, and to escape with down the road from its point of theft. Plain white trailers tend to easily blend into traffic and are seldom noticed. Such trailers are also easy to sell, and they also blend in with other traffic on the road. Trailers with lettering and/or graphics will stand out in a crowd. Not only are they more difficult to escape with unnoticed (most people will remember the graphic of a car on the side, or the tailgate – particularly if it is someone who knows your rig, or an officer that is on the lookout for it), they are also more difficult to sell, as they will have to be stripped of their graphics/lettering first and then buffed/painted afterward.
As for the impact of a photo of a rare car on the side of a trailer making it more likely to be stolen, rather than less likely; Carl thinks that largely depends upon the car that is on the side. If it is a relatively common, but expensive car (e.g., Shelby Mustang, Cobra, Chevelle, Corvette, etc.), he believes that would be bad idea. Those cars can be readily marketed for parts. However, if it is a relatively rare car, for which it would be difficult to sell the car or parts without raising a huge amount of suspicion he thinks that would make it less likely to be stolen.
Carl says he would probably not put a photo of a Corvette on the side of his enclosed trailer; but would put his name or business name on the side. He also would not hesitate to put a graphic of a rare car on the side – just because it would make the trailer more noticeable and tougher to hide by the thief.
He does not believe that most thieves want to drag a trailer down the road that screams for attention.
As an insurance agent, Carl also added that he always feels that having his car in a locked enclosed trailer is much better than having it on an open trailer. Likewise, an enclosed trailer is less likely to be stolen than an open trailer, due to its size and weight. An open trailer is very easy to tow, even with a small tow vehicle, compared to an enclosed one. Likewise, an open trailer (when empty) is not nearly as noticeable on the road as even a solid white enclosed one. It is also much easier to hide an open trailer (often in plain sight) than it is to hide an enclosed trailer. Carl says: “One other positive about hauling my car in an enclosed trailer: it is like having a portable garage that not only keeps my car somewhat secure from thieves and vandals, it also protects it from the weather and road debris. Likewise, it gives me a relatively secure place to store extra parts, tools, and cleaning supplies.”
I am interested in what you have to say and what your opinions are on enclosed trailer paint and graphics to deter theft.
Here is a related story you might like from Autoweek.
Travis Kvapil’s NASCAR Sprint Cup car stolen from hotel parking lot
FEBRUARY 27, 2015
Early Friday morning, thieves near Atlanta stole the trailer containing Travis Kvapil’s NASCAR Sprint Cup car. The car was driven by Reed Sorenson last weekend in Daytona.PHOTO BY LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC
THIEVES STEAL UNMARKED TRAILER CONTAINING $250,000 RACE CAR
Update: This suggests to me a plain white trailer is NOT the way to go!
Police Recover Team Xtreme’s Race Car
HAMPTON, Ga. – Officials with Team Xtreme Racing have confirmed that police have located their stolen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car.
The car was found abandoned on Lenora Road in Loganville, Ga., early Saturday morning. Police have not yet recovered the dually or trailer that were stolen along with the race car early Friday morning.