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Old 28th May 2010, 20:10   #1
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Cool DIY : How to secure a Tata Safari Spare wheel cover from theft

The Safari Wheel cover seems to have become a big money maker for the street smart thieves and/or the Taxi drivers who have ornamental value for it. It seems that using it on their Sumo spare wheels converts it into a Safari....

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But on a serious note, this is a much bigger issue for Safari owners and painful too than it seems.

When I bought my Safari, I always used to think.

"Who would steal these covers !!!"

Not knowing that a new one with paint, costs upto 6.5k from the T.A.S.S
I used to smirk upon seeing people using locks on the Zipper fastening holders. Some put locks as big as you can on a Suitcase while travelling in trains and buses. But I was Naive.

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It was only once an attempt was made to flick it overnight from my Safari that I realized, the Safari wheel cover was hot property as it used to convert a Sumo into a Safari

But little did the thief knew that you cannot remove my spare wheel cover that easily. Dont ask me why, due to security reasons I cannot write it here. That also made me put a lock promptly onto the Zipper, but its all useless as it doesnt take much time for a seasoned thief to break that, which I was also aware (I had to think like a thief here). Therefore I used some additional measures and started thinking on securing it.

But unfortunately, the ideas remained only in my mind and I was never able to implement them practically due to time contraints and laziness. I also realized that most of them were flicked overnight and therefore ensured that the Safari was always parked in a confined parking space than open roads at night and forgot about implementing my Ideas.

Until recently, when the pandora's box opened again with the Spare wheel cover of Happywheel got stolen with a Happy ending and my rusted ideas had to be lubricated.

So now we are trying to create a synergy of ideas on how to prevent a thief from stealing it. So guys any suggestions are most welcome, putting a lock on the zipper is the most common solution but its too easy a security solution.

Thanks to Lukeskywalker to suggest this thread, we hope to find a solution to atleast prevent an "easy" theft of the Safari wheel covers by this. Let the suggestions flow.
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Old 28th May 2010, 20:29   #2
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Fortunately the zipper lock is not the only solution.
When you take off the wheel cover, on the inside you will see a plastic like thingy which is attached to the cover via bolts.
So all you have to do is make a hole in this inner plastic thingy, and then run a chain through it to the spare wheel holder.
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Old 28th May 2010, 20:46   #3
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Yes Tanveer, but how do you put your hand behind the wheel to lock/unlock the chain, if the chain is too long, won't it rattle on drives?
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Old 28th May 2010, 20:50   #4
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Tsk,

That plastic thing will come off with just one jerk!!! It is not present anymore in my cover and there is absolutely no damage to the inner wall of the cover. Seems like the plastic like thingy is just a cosmetic thing to hold it in place and will offers no protection.

I am thinking more in lines of sewing a chain on the inner wall of the cover, along the circumference of the cover, and then using the rings on the chain to lock the cover in place.

How does this sound?

EDIT: For the time being, for people parking on the road, follow the suggestion that one of ours had mentioned earlier - park the vehicle backed up such that the cover is as close as it can get to a wall or tree. This way you cannot remove the cover from the wheel even if you get the zipper undone.

Last edited by HappyWheels : 28th May 2010 at 20:54.
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Old 28th May 2010, 22:09   #5
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Here is the photo of my cover with the removed plastic thingy. Notice the spots where is was fixed. And notice that there is absolutely no damage.

DIY : How to secure a Tata Safari Spare wheel cover from theft-imag0174.jpg

This is the image of the zipper. Notice that the handle has been removed. The locks are usually fixed on the handles! :(

DIY : How to secure a Tata Safari Spare wheel cover from theft-imag0167.jpg

DIY : How to secure a Tata Safari Spare wheel cover from theft-imag0171.jpg

Now this is the chain I am talking about.

DIY : How to secure a Tata Safari Spare wheel cover from theft-imag0175.jpg

And if we stitch this on the inner circumfrence of the existing sheet, as shown in the image below, using the rings of the chain, wouldn't it be secure?

DIY : How to secure a Tata Safari Spare wheel cover from theft-imag0172.jpg

Need to stitch them using those large size needle and thick thread (the kind used in sewing sacks.

This is currently what I am thinking of.

Opinions please!
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Old 28th May 2010, 22:24   #6
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Still someone can actually tear the rexin and flick the cover, the guys who steal sometimes don't realize these stupidities and carry on. Not fool safe, but yes definitely better than nothing. Have the same issue with the Crv spare cover so am also interested.
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Old 29th May 2010, 08:44   #7
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I know current zipper is not a good security option.

Securing it without drilling a hole or two in the cover is definitely a challenge.

If someone wants to rip the cover out breaking it, he will, but we are trying to prevent theft, there is nothing called foolproof security.

Let our brains workout a bit before we can throw some more ideas.
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Old 29th May 2010, 09:03   #8
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@Jaggu: Yes, if he wants he can rip open and take the cover. But at least, if the thief is not that desperate, he mind abort an attempt since then he will have to try to dispose of an item that has been damaged.

As I mentioned before, we cannot be theft proof. The idea is to make it difficult for the thief, that he finds the effort not worth it.

@Dadu: Thought about the drilling, but not sure if the it might end up damaging the cover. And, even if one does that, there is no proper anchor through which we can pass that chain.
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Old 29th May 2010, 09:37   #9
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Seeing the thread title, i thought you guys had actually found a solution to the problem. Since this is still in the design phase, you should probably add a question mark to the thread title.
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Old 29th May 2010, 09:54   #10
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The Sumo Victa GX has a very nice cover with the word 'TATA' chromed - one that's much better than the regular ones you see on other Victa's. As much as I like to keep it on, I have removed it. In a way, what's the use of it if you cant use it in it's intended fashion ?

I suspect you guys are going face a problem that I have : the point where that rexine is mounted on the plastic is a weak link. In mine, it is held by a string, and it is easy to take seperate the rexine from the plastic - if you try it. How is this in your covers ?

So far, I find the solution suggested by HappyWheels is most implementable, for what it is worth. Any holes into the plastic will mar the beauty of the cover. An alternate solution is to find industrial grade glue to fix mount points on the inside of the cover, and then use the chain through these mount points. The chain can then be locked.
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Old 29th May 2010, 19:09   #11
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Yes, that the problem, how to secure without putting holes in to the cover.

For one we can use the lockable zipper, like below, making it difficult to just pry open the holders of the zip.

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Your idea is also good, you just need to ask the cobbler to stitch it up by covering it with leather and stitching on both sides of the leather. There's one lugagge repair guy behind 3rd blk Post office in a KIOSK right opp. to Sulabh who can fix locakble zipper (ask him to use only the latch part of same size) and then in the corner there is one shoe repair guy too for fixing your chain.

Or we need to find a latchable assembly which could fit on top of the existing zipper.

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I was also thinking in Tanveer lines but wasnt sure how the cone would hold up, but condor gave an idea after I showed him how the cone was placed inside the cover, was to use heavy duty industrial glue which can withhold 2-5 ton of weight and stick the inside cone properly first then I suggest we use a cable cycle lock by drilling a hole into the cone end.

Need to find someone knowing about industrial strength glues.

Keep thinking!!
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Old 31st May 2010, 17:37   #12
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I thought and thought over the weekend on what could be simple enought yet secure enough to deter a thief and here's what I could visualize.

DIY : How to secure a Tata Safari Spare wheel cover from theft-seccover.jpg

A - Mounting frame for the Spare wheel
B - Bolt
C - Wheel cover
D - Security Cable with loops at both ends
E - Lock
F - Security plate (Frontview)
G - Security plate (Sideview)

You need a security cable(D) like below for this. One end of it can be fixed to one of the bolts(B) in the frame(A) and the spare wheel can be mounted on it. Or you can loop it to the frame itself (prefer a single loop cable). Other end goes through the Spare wheel cover(C). Then you just use a 10mm lock(E) on it.

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As I saw, you already have a hole at the bottom of the Cover, right in the center(for water exit) and you cannot pull the cover out parallely. You need to pull back straight slightly then lift the cover from the bottom to an angle till its clear from the tyre at the bottom part and then lift it up, for it to be removed completely.

Reason, the zippers dont go all the way up, there is a dead part of the flap at the top, which obstructs a straight back pullout of the cover, therefore if you can prevent the bottom part of the cover to be pulled out (even with open zippers), you can prevent a theft.

The only thing we need to get right is the length of the cable, it should be just sufficient to come out of this hole once the cover is in place. This will restrict the movement of the bottom part of the cover itself for removal. Top part is already blocked by the dead flap.

The hole in the cover is small, so might need to widen it a bit, depending upon the loop width of the cable. This is the most easiest and basic DIY which I could think of.

Now one can also say, that the hole in the plastic might not hold up, lets say if someone just chips it off or uses force. We can then use a metal L-shaped security plate(F)(G) on the inside of the cover fixed using rivets on four corners tot he bottom. The hole of the security plate should be lightly smaller than the hole on the cover.

The L-Shape has a purpose, if someone holds the lock and tries to pull away from the vehicle, the length of the cable will prevent the movement, if he tries to pull towards the vehicle, the upper part of the security plate will be pushed against the tyre sidewall inside and provide additional strength against the forcefull pulling and breaking.

Now this theory can be used in many ways and even I could think of so many ways to even strengthen it further by using brackets, anchors etc etc but then it would go beyond our basic DIY.

We just want to deter a thief who has no more than a few minutes, a broken cover is of no value to him.
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Old 31st May 2010, 17:46   #13
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To secure wheel cover I think it will be easy to connect this to Autocop or other Security devices in the same way as we do it for bonnets. I am sure any Autocop installer can add pushbutton to this wheelcover at Rs.100.
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Old 31st May 2010, 19:12   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dadu View Post
I thought and thought over the weekend on what could be simple enought yet secure enough to deter a thief and here's what I could visualize...
You have given me an idea. In the same line, but a slightly different approach using existing tools. Will check and update shortly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sushantr5 View Post
To secure wheel cover I think it will be easy to connect this to Autocop or other Security devices in the same way as we do it for bonnets. I am sure any Autocop installer can add pushbutton to this wheelcover at Rs.100.
Wiring will be a dead give away. If you want to make it secure, you might need to drill a hole in the back door for the wiring or try sum circus with the wiper setup, which might be simpler. But, since EX and above comes with immobilizer and all have central locking, not sure if Autocop is something that will be present.
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Old 31st May 2010, 20:32   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyWheels View Post
You have given me an idea. In the same line, but a slightly different approach using existing tools. Will check and update shortly.
Its good to shake some brain power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyWheels View Post
Wiring will be a dead give away. If you want to make it secure, you might need to drill a hole in the back door for the wiring or try sum circus with the wiper setup, which might be simpler. But, since EX and above comes with immobilizer and all have central locking, not sure if Autocop is something that will be present.
Also we want to deter a thief, this doesnt help if he removes it and zooms away in his car or bike with the alarm blaring away to glory.
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