Prevent Wheel and Tire Theft at Your Car Lot

by | Mar 24, 2023

How to Prevent Tire Theft

In addition to adding an aesthetic appeal to high-performance vehicles, rims and tires do something even more important: They allow customers to drive cars off the lot. You can’t sell a car without them. Depending on their size and style, gently used rims and tires can also sell for a decent amount of money on the secondary market. As a result, they’re increasingly becoming an attractive target for thieves. Knowing how to prevent tire theft can save your business from dealing with expensive, inconvenient crimes.

To protect your lot or dealership, you’ll want next-level security that goes beyond typical video surveillance.

Why Should Dealerships Worry About Wheel and Tire Theft?

The best way to answer this question is with a story.

One spring evening in 2019, thieves hit a Chevy dealership in Slidell, Louisiana. Within just 40 minutes, they’d stripped the wheels and tires from 31 cars. In the morning, when employees reported to work, they found rows of vehicles suspended on wood blocks. The heist cost the dealership an estimated $120,000—and it’s far from rare.

As AAA Mid-Atlantic’s manager of public and government affairs told the Southern Maryland Chronicle: “Thieves strike with the speed and efficiency of a NASCAR pit crew.” Often, these thieves work in two-person teams. One person jacks up the vehicle. The other uses a high-powered impact wrench to remove the lugs. It often takes just a few minutes to strip an entire car.

Wheel and tire thefts are on the rise all over the world and throughout the United States. Though thieves also hit individual cars parked on the street, dealerships, tire shops, and car rental businesses are especially vulnerable. With dozens of vehicles lined up, these locations allow thieves to fill a truck with parts in a matter of minutes.

Why Are Tires and Wheels Attractive Targets?

Wheels, tires, and rims are relatively easy to snatch compared to stealing an entire vehicle. For an experienced team with state-of-the-art power tools, it’s quick work.

In addition, wheels and tires are worth a lot of money on the street, especially when they’re custom or come from larger vehicles. According to police detectives, larger wheels—20 inches and above—are most attractive to thieves.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, these car parts can be relatively easy to fence. That’s because, unlike the car itself, they’re difficult to trace. Thieves often offload wheels and tires at resale shops, which stack them from floor to ceiling. Even when police raid these shops, it’s rare that the stolen goods ever make their way back to their rightful owners.

How to Prevent Tire Theft at Your Dealership

We’ve written about car theft prevention before, but here are some of the main takeaways you can apply to your business.

  • Keep your lot well-lit. If thieves know someone can easily spot them from the road, they’ll think twice. Motion-activated floodlights can be especially helpful for deterring criminal activity.
  • Install security fencing. This can slow thieves down, making it more difficult for them to get heavy wheels off the lot. 
  • Install cameras. They should deliver a clear picture, both during the day and the night. Install them strategically across your lot, leaving no areas uncovered. Look for a system that can store at least a month’s worth of footage, too.
  • Keep your TPMS data handy. Some police departments are attempting to track stolen tires via Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors. These battery-powered sensors sync to the vehicle’s onboard computer system, which records each sensor’s identification number. It’s a good idea to download and store a backup of all the TPMS identification numbers for the vehicles on your lot. That way, if tires are stolen—and later recovered—officers can link them back to your dealership.

Traditional Security Measures Aren’t Enough

Unfortunately, if you read police reports of wheel and tire thefts from around the country, you’ll quickly notice a problem. Thieves knew how to circumvent traditional security measures. They can disable lighting, and they don’t seem to care about being captured on traditional surveillance video.

To truly protect your lot from all car-related theft, you’ll need more than the traditional measures.

Cameras have come a long way from the original grainy black-and-white CCTV systems. In addition to capturing thieves on video, these new camera systems incorporate powerful live monitoring.

Monitored business security cameras with two-way audio offer robust protection. Not only can live-monitored cameras get the police to your lot faster, but they can also deter thieves from striking at all.

Deep Sentinel provides a unique approach to proactive video monitoring solutions. The wireless or PoE security cameras use AI to identify suspicious activity and escalate the feed to a live guard. Within seconds, the guards use the camera’s built-in audio and siren to intervene. This is usually enough to scare thieves away before they touch a vehicle. A live security guard can also notify local authorities and provide real-time details, dramatically increasing the likelihood that the thieves will get caught.

Now that’s how to prevent tire theft the new-fangled way.

Take the first step to getting total after-hours security coverage over your dealership or car lot. Get in touch with Deep Sentinel about automotive dealership live video surveillance by calling 833.983.6006.

Need a Solution that Prevents Crime?
Deep Sentinel is the only security technology that delivers the experience of a personal guard on every customer’s home and business. Visit or call 833-983-6006

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