Skip to Content

8 Ways to Prevent Your Tailgate From Being Stolen!

8 Ways to Prevent Your Tailgate From Being Stolen!

Tailgate thefts have become a lot more common, recently. Thieves steal them so they can flip them online. Most of the time, they’re able to get a couple of hundred dollars by selling them online.

If you’re worried about your tailgate, we’ve got some info that might help. We’ll tell you how you can prevent yours from being stolen so easily. By design, most tailgates don’t take long to remove. But, if you protect yours, it will at least be a lot harder!

How to Prevent Tailgate From Being Stolen

Tailgates differ between manufacturers. However, they’re usually pretty simple to remove. That’s if they’re left unlocked of course. Still, even a locked tailgate could be stolen by a determined thief.

Use the following advice to make sure yours remains secure. If it’s stolen, you’ll be on the hook for over $1,000. Some replacements cost as much as $3,000 or more.

1. Always Lock the Tailgate

The easiest thing you can do is lock the tailgate. Typically, you’re able to lock them by using the same key you’re using on the doors.

Check along the top of the tailgate. There’s usually a small keyhole somewhere around there. Put your key into it and give it a turn.

That should lock it up. Before leaving, make sure to check that it’s locked. Give the handle a tug to see if it opens up. As long as it remains closed, your tailgate should’ve been locked.

Unlocked tailgates can be removed in under a minute. Someone could still take a locked one, but it’ll take far longer. Take a look at my list here of the best tailgate locks!

2. Install a Bed Cover

Another way you can improve your tailgate’s safety would be to install a bed cover. Bed covers go over the bed, covering it entirely. They’ll lock into the tailgate, too. Most of the time, you’re able to lock the cover too.

There’s another benefit that comes with using a bed cover. When you’ve got one of them, everything in the bed gets protected as well. So, if you’ve got valuable back there, you definitely want one of them.

3. Keep Your Truck in the Garage

Besides locking the tailgate, you can make it more difficult to access your truck. Always park the truck in your garage if it’s possible.

That will make it a lot more difficult for a thief to get to it. Make sure you’re closing the garage. Otherwise, you’d be just as prone to theft. And, thieves could access stuff in your garage at the same time.

In other words, you might lose a lot more than just your tailgate!

However, a closed garage door tends to be a sufficient barrier. Most modern garages lock into place rather tightly. So, it’s pretty tough to open them when they’re closed.

Closing the garage door should protect your tailgate and everything in the garage.

4. Back Into Your Parking Spaces

Let’s say you’ve got a broken lock on your tailgate. In that case, you’ll have to be a bit more creative. One thing you can do is make it harder to reach the tailgate. Try backing into your parking spaces when you’re out and about.

That will make it tougher to get the necessary leverage if they’re trying to steal the tailgate.

When you’re backing up, you’ll probably want someone to spot you. You’ve got to back up close enough to the car behind you that there’s hardly any room between you and them.

The closer you can get to them, the more difficult it would be to remove the tailgate. Some trucks include backup cameras. That makes it possible to back up close enough without using a spotter.

5. Put a GPS Tag on the Tailgate

If you don’t have a function lock, we’d suggest installing a GPS tag on the tailgate. It won’t prevent it from being stolen, but you’ll be able to recover it.

Look around on the internet for something small enough to be discrete. Try putting it inside of the tailgate if possible. That way, thieves won’t notice them if they take it.

When they’re easy to spot, someone could remove them pretty fast. Then, it wouldn’t do too much good.

6. Get an Aftermarket Alarm System

You could also purchase an aftermarket alarm system. You could tie them into the tailgate. So, the alarm would go off if someone tried to pry the tailgate off.

Simply hearing an alarm is enough to send most thieves scattering.

7. Park Near a Fence or Wall

Let’s say you’re parking somewhere without a lot of cars in the lot. You won’t be able to back up near another car if that’s the case. Instead, you could try to back up close to something else.

Typically, a fence or a wall would be good enough to get the job done. Use the same method we described above. Except, back up close to the fence instead of another vehicle.

8. Put Some Security Cameras Around Your Home

Finally, try installing some security cameras around the house. Just putting up a couple of them would be enough to deter most thefts.

If a thief still tries their luck, you’ll have footage of them too. That would make reporting something to the police a lot more effective.

Can a Tailgate Be Stolen If It’s Locked?

Technically, a determined thief could still remove the tailgate if it’s locked.

They’d have to pry it off the truck. Or, they could simply pick the lock. Still, locking it is usually enough of a deterrent to prevent most thefts.

You should definitely lock the tailgate if there’s a rash of crime in your area. Tailgates are a pretty common target for petty thieves.

An unlocked tailgate can be taken off the truck within mere moments. That’s by design. 

Most modern trucks have removable tailgates, so you can take them on and off quickly. However, it because a problem whenever someone tries stealing it!

Why Are Tailgates Being Stolen?

If you had to guess, what would you say is motivating tailgate theft? 

More than likely, you’re aware of most thieves’ motivations. There’s quite a bit of money on the second-hand market floating around for a motivated thief.

Usually, they’ll sell them on websites like Craigslist. A lot of them have started to use Facebook Marketplace, too. There are even places where you can sell them in person.

In all cases, thieves can get their hands on a few hundred dollars without much work. Brand new tailgates can go for a lot more than that!

How Much Are Truck Tailgates Worth?

The value of any given tailgate depends on the truck. Of course, buying one brand new costs a lot more than something used. So, there’s always a ton of demand for used tailgates.

At a minimum, you should expect to pay over $1,000 for a new one. They’re known to cost a lot more than that sometimes, though.

You might have to spend upwards of $3,000 on a new one. It mostly depends on your truck’s manufacturer. More expensive models tend to have pricier tailgates.

Is It Easy to Steal a Tailgate?

Removing a tailgate is fairly simple. Most of the time, you’ve just got to lift them up at the right angle. IF you can do that, it should lift free pretty easily.

Don’t believe me? Here’s all it takes…

First, lift the latch on the tailgate to open it up. Then, lower it down so it’s flat. 

Now, look around for cables near where it connects to the truck’s body. Not all tailgates have cables, but a lot of them do nowadays. If there are any present, unhook them carefully.

Once you’ve unhooked them, you should be able to remove the tailgate pretty easily. Try lifting the gate while it’s laying flat. Pull it upward and at a slight angle. Usually, you’ll be able to feel the hooks where it connects to the body.

As soon as you’ve loosened the hooks, the gate should come right off.

What to Do If Your Tailgate Is Stolen

Finding out you’re missing a tailgate can be a rather frustrating experience. Not only do you need a new one, but you’ve also got to figure out what to do.

First of all, we’d suggest contacting the police. If yours has been stolen, you’re probably not the only one. Most thieves try to take several of them in a row. Contacting the police could help them find the thieves before they strike again.

Give the police any relevant information you’ve got. That might be able to help them identify the thieves. If they’re able to nab them, you might get your tailgate back. You’ll help protect other people from having theirs stolen at the very least.

After talking to the police, you should get in contact with your insurance company. Comprehensive policies tend to cover the cost of stolen parts. That way, you won’t have to come out of pocket for a replacement.

Let your agent know what happened. And, they’ll be able to help you file a claim. Most of the time, they’ll tell you to go ahead and purchase a new one. Then, you’ll have to send proof of purchase. After that, they’ll send you a check in the mail as reimbursement.

Once you’ve finished talking to the insurance company, it’s time to look for a new tailgate. The agent should’ve told you whether you’ve got to purchase something new or used.

If you’re able to purchase a used part, you might want to do that. It’ll cost you a fraction of what the new one would cost.

Otherwise, call your local dealership to order the parts. It’ll take a while for them to receive it. So, they’ll have to schedule a time for you to get yours replaced.

Visit the dealership once the new part arrives. They’ll be able to install the new one pretty quickly. Most of the time, they’re not going to charge you much for the labor.

If they try to charge you, ask them if you can do the labor yourself. It’s not hard to put on a new tailgate most of the time. As a result, you could save a chunk of change by handling it on your own.

Preventing Someone From Stealing Your Tailgate

Above all, make sure you’re always locking the tailgate. Nothing protects your tailgate better than a secured lock.

Don’t leave your truck without checking to make sure the tailgate has been locked. It doesn’t take long for someone to remove an unlocked one.

Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!